CYCLING: Grantham’s Baillie impresses on Manchester track

Karl Baillie (centre) and professional Team Sky heroes Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift.
Karl Baillie (centre) and professional Team Sky heroes Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift.
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Former Witham Wheeler Karl Baillie impressed in the latest round of the Revolution Series track competition at Manchester Velodrome on Saturday.

Representing Team Sky, Karl rode in the Hoy Future Stars competition and put in some good performances to move up to fourth overall.

The evening began well with Karl taking third in the opening 20-lap scratch race. He rode aggressively in the points race, taking second in the first sprint and fourth in the third, finishing seventh overall.

In the final six-lap race, he got boxed in but still managed a creditable eighth place.

The final round of the track series is in London next month.

Karl also rode the latest round of the Premier Division Track League last Tuesday night, and was promoted to the top group.

He rode well in the opening 40-lap scratch race but got stalled during the sprint and finished 10th. He rode more conservatively in the 50-lap points race and still came in the top half of the field.

In the elimination race, he rode well but caught out eventually and finished sixth. The pace was relentless in the final 10-lap scratch race which was completed in just over 20 minutes, with Karl finishing mid-pack.

l Witham Wheelers held their fifth reliability ride of the winter over a 50-mile course that headed out through Oasby before circling south to Castle Bytham and returning to Grantham via South Witham and Skillington.

Bright sunny skies tempted 60 riders to sign on but a strong south westerly wind and the rolling course made it a testing ride.

However only three riders were forced to retire to the support vehicles and most finished in their target average speeds. Group One had an enjoyable ride, averaging 12 mph over a shorter route of around 30 miles. Group Two also kept together well with most riders finishing the full route in just under 15mph.

A spate of punctures disrupted the rhythm of Group Three which, by the end, had broken into a lot of smaller groups, as did the fourth group which was similarly affected. Group Five contained only four riders but they worked well together to average 20mph for the distance.

This Sunday’s ride is another 50-mile rolling route down towards Rutland Water. The first group will leave Grantham Cricket Club in Gorse Lane at 9am. Again there will be a shorter route of around 30 miles for those not yet ready for the full route. All welcome.