October 15, 2012 (London, ON) – For many racers at the Forest City Velodrome, the 2012 Coulier Memorial 6Day bike race was a lesson in suffering on a bike for the first time. The organizers split the field into three categories of racers and each had objectives for the 6Day marathon.
The FCV, has long provided opportunities for young riders to shine, whether they win or come second the racers always try their best. This carried over to the conclusion of the the Memorial race for Albert Coulier who passed away 18 months ago.
Albert would have loved to see the progression of the youth who did their part over the entire 6Day event. From filling in when asked, racing during their own Madison or putting the pain into their legs during the last man standing race at the end of each night.
The results for the B & C divisions are now in the record book, congratulations to Conrad Mrowiec, Lucas Taylor, Logan McIntyre, and Ian Currie who participated in all 6 nights of racing and for coming out on top of the podium in our development categories.
Night #6: Attacking and putting the hurt on everyone.
After a disastrous night #5, which had the leading team London #1 drop from first to third position, add in the multiple laps down heading into the final night of racing, Team Niagara & Delhi knew they were in for a hellish night of racing.
How the race unfolded:
An early arriving crowd started to enter the FCV at 6pm, riders were milling around the infield with Rush playing on the loud speakers, you could tell that the last night of racing was going to be fast, tough and challengingfor the 6 teams who were contesting the Coulier Meorial 6DAy Bike race in London.
The top 3 teams entering the last night of racing were separated by 4 laps, on the track. After the initial neutral period, the opening whistle started the first madison of the night. If laps were going to change for the teams, now was the time to lay it on the line.
Four minutes into the race the lower placed teams were able to gain a lap or two, as the contending teams Niagara (Chris Singleton & Brian Trafford), Team Delhi (Mike Renneboog & Chris Vlemmix), Team London #1 (Cam Mason & Ryan Aitcheson) marked one another not wanting to be caught at the back or on an exchange when an attack went away. The announcer had Preems to give away, $100.00 for the next lap, $80.00 for the finishing sprint, mid way preems…. the riders were getting antsy, and wanted a piece of the action.
As Team London #2 attacked to try to pick up the $100 lapping the field Preem was short lived and the heavy hitters pulled out the big guns and started the leg breaking final 23 minutes of racing. The first and not the last attack by Team London#1, was vicious, catching Niagara and Delhi at the back. Within 3 laps the gap was at 1/2 a lap, by the time the reaction came from the field, Mason was at full song and could see the back of the group. It was Renneboog (Delhi) who tried to counter, however, an exchange by another team slowed their advance and Aitcheson who was flying caught the back of the bunch and pocketed the $100.00 lap money and settled into trying to take back the other 3 laps his team lost on Night #5.
In the final 4 minutes the teams were all riding tempo in order to catch thire breath, when Team London#1, launched another massive attack and this time Mason was followed by the Can-Am Team (Joe Brennan and Quinn Hanem) and Team Toronto (John Hueston & Mike Nuttall). As Mason accelerated and came to his partner, they knew that they had to gain the lap before the time expired in the open 30 minute Madison. With 1 minute to go it was Aitcheson who did a double and dropped the 2 following teams and now had the Niagara and Delhi teams in his sights. One last exchange and Mason was able to finish off the lap and Team London #1 were with in 2 laps of the lead. The final sprint came down to Niagara missing an exchange, giving the late advantage to London #1 who again pocketed the $80.00 finishing Preem…. nice way to start the final night of racing.
There were many youth racers on the infield who raced very hard in the HandiCaps, Last Person standing, and scratch races that provided the A division time to recover before the final Madison of the 6Day race.
After the intermission for awards the teams were reintroduced and the scenario was this, Team Niagara was on top of the standing, Delhi 1 lap down and Team London#1 were 2 laps down. A tall mountain to climb in just 30 minutes. Points also played a roll in the standings as each time a team went over 100 points they gained a lap. The abacus was getting a solid workout to figure how the finale would play out.
At the whistle the fight was on, Team London #2 (Eric MacDonald and Candice Vermeulen) jumped first to get ahead of the Can-Am team who were battling for 4th and 5th. The attack did not workout, in part to the top 3 teams shadowing each other. The largest advantage by London #2 and Can-Am was 3/4 of a lap before the tempo picked up and the teams were circulating at pace to force the other teams to redline and have to keep things together. Again and again the teams outside of the top 3 attacked only to be gathered in by the relentless pace set by the Delhi Team who needed to bring everything back….. That is until the first sprint.
That was when under the pressure of defending track position the first crack appeared, Team Niagara attacked to gain more points to secure the victory, London #1 followed and were towed to an advantage of 1/2 lap over Delhi. That’s when the race blew wide open. Aitcheson attacked hard and easily caught Delhi to put both teams on the same lap, however they did not stop. Mason charged down the back stretch and exchanged with Aitcheson who was in full flight. Double pulls were the plan as both Niagara and London #2 put Delhi another lap down and dropped them to third. Trafford and Aitcheson were matching each other, until Niagara missed an exchange and the advantage switched to London #1 who gained another lap to put them 1 lap down (points played into the picture as well).
The final jam seemed to last forever, with 2 minutes left the final attack of the race put Niagara on the defensive again with Mason this time going over the top. Vlemmix (Delhi) and Singleton (Niagara) could see the race slipping away in the final minute…. Time ran out on the London #1 comeback and they had to settle for second overall, with Niagara (Trafford and Singleton) taking top honours after 6 Days of racing.
What an excellent race by all the riders.
A special thanks to all the volunteers at the FCV who put on the event, from the admission, concession, announcing and music crew and of course to all the spectators who came out to cheer the racers on each night….. Albert was watching and was cheering as loud as anyone during the fantastic final Madison of the Coulier Memorial 6Day Bike Race.
Complete race results here.