The first Derby Grand Prix and Madison event, at the Derby Arena in July, brought together an array of top-quality talent with world class cyclists racing alongside some of the finest local riders for a night of outstanding entertainment.
Scratch race World Champion Sebastian Mora Vedri took victory in the opening Scratch Race for the Raleigh GAC team based at the University of Derby. The Spanish rider led Frank Longstaff (Team Corley Cycles) and Raleigh team mate Albert Torres in a breakaway to put a lap on the field. Longstaff had his revenge in the longer Grand Prix Scratch Race as he led a breakaway missed by Vedri.
Torres won three of the four intermediate sprints to win the Points Race with 35 points to 23 for Julian Pearson (Langdale Lightweights) with Heanor Clarion’s William Perrett ahead of a bunch that included World Champion Vedri.
Second in the B Points race, to Langdale’s Ian Upcote, was Derby Mercury’s Joseph White who was having a superb evening. Upcote also won the B Scratch race from White, but the Allestree rider took a superb victory in the B Elimination Race, much to his surprise. “I’m really pleased,” said Joe afterwards, “top two in every event. It was hard work but the training has paid off. Really happy with the Elimination Race. It’s normally one that I don’t do too well in, so to win it is fantastic, in front of the home crowd and some friends in the audience and on the track. It’s just been a brilliant day.” Joe, who began track cycling in 2010, says that the Arena has made a big difference to his form. “ I learned on an outdoor velodrome in Mansfield, and then occasionally got to Manchester, but having it here has just helped me progress so much.”
Frank Longstaff was also enjoying a good event as he took his second win in the A Elimination Race, where the rider at the back of the field, at the end of each lap, drops out until two riders are left to sprint for victory.
The evening was interspersed with heats for the Keirin event, with riders following the small Derny motorcycle before being released for a two and a half lap sprint to the line. The minor final went to Caleb Hill of Lyme RC while Thomas Scammell won the major final for Team USC. “It’s a fun night of racing,” he said. “It’s nice to race against decent guys and it’s a good feel here. I’m looking forward to having more open events here with good crowds again.” Thomas is based in Newport, with the Welsh team, and is impressed by the facility in Derby. “This is much newer, so it’s in wonderful condition. It’s a lovely track, here, and the grandstand is completely different because Newport doesn’t have a huge stand. It’s nice to get a bit more support. A lovely facility, yes.”
The locally-based Spanish Raleigh riders combined to win the closing Madison (named after Madison Square Garden) relay points race. William Perrett and Tom Ward won the opening sprint before Vedri and Torres won the next two sprints. Perrett and Ward also took a second sprint to tie, but the Raleigh pairing (and team mates Evan Oliphant and Jack Escritt) put a lap on the field to seal the win.