WEEK 3 Sunday 8 December
This week the Tint A Car Criterium Series moved to the SpeedDome course at Midvale and catered for both genders of all ages.
The day started early for the large number of our youngest cyclists with 17 juniors starting off in the Junior C grade. Given the disparity in ages and experience the field splintered pretty quickly but all riders tried their hardest and none gave up for their 15 min race. A trio of MCC juniors Max Wilson, Toby Dew and Laura Hodges led for most of the race and were still together for the sprint finish. First over the line was Max, followed by Toby and Laura Hodges who was also the first girl to finish. Shawn Wright from NBCC rode a great race to come 4th. Watch out for Toby Dew who showed great bike handling and race skills to come 2nd but is only 10 years old. Also a big mention for Curtis Atkinson, the youngest competitor at 8 years old who made a gritty comeback after an early fall to fight through all the way to the finish.
The rise in age and experience was obvious from the get go for the Junior B with the smaller field handling the ramp into the velodrome with ease. Tom Mattock and Luke Howe took an early lead and maintained that to contest the finish with Thomas Mattock just marginally stronger in the sprint to claim first place from Luke. Seb Barrett led the chase group in from Tomas Hayward with Rihana Pezay flying the flag for the girls.
The Junior A’s had a solid field with all riders competitive at this level. Again, the next step in age and experience was obvious with the Jnr A’s lapping much faster than their younger colleagues. In the sprint finish Kasey Smith held off Hugo Galante in 2nd and Connor Lambert 3rdwith Calum Pietersen in 4th. Sarah Tucknott showed her class to challenge the boys all the way and be the first girl home.
In the Jnr A, Kye Bonser came to grief on the back straight but was able to walk away with what looked like plenty of grazes. He had hurt his hand but you wouldn’t have known it. This is one tough youngster as he re-appeared to watch the madison racing on the track later in the day with a cast and sling on his right hand and arm. Best wishes Kye.
It was very pleasing to have enough women for their own grade and what a quality field it was with three Australian representatives in Sarah Kent, Allee Proud and, back home in WA, Jess Allen.
The ladies obviously weren’t there to dawdle as the pace was right on from the gun. Jess Allen loves putting others in the hurt box and she and Sarah Kent (who claimed to have hardly trained) had the rest of the field desperate to hold to their wheels. Jess attacked on several occasions and inflicted quite a bit of pain but was never able to draw fully away. Megan Bagworth soloed across to join Jess and Sarah and ultimately was joined by Julia Kalotas. Those 4 contest the finish with Megan taking the honours from Sarah Kent and Jess Allen. Two young riders who can hold their heads high were Jade Haines and Sarah Tucknott with both finishing with the main group in a high quality field.
The C grade field of 18 started with an even tempo as the riders assessed their competitors. The pace picked up in the middle stages but no serious attacks were made and most of the bunch stayed on. At the half way mark a tyre blow out brought a couple of riders down. With 5 laps to go the field lifted the pace but mostly stayed together. In a sprint finish Kasey Smith claimed the major prize from Ben Jones in 2ndand Michael Voros 3rd and Neil Webster in 4th.
The B Grade had a field of 19 including Jess Allen who fronted the start line again after great aggressive riding in the women’s event. The race was run at a high pace with plenty of pain over the 40min race distance.
In another sprint finish Craig Davies led home Connor Lambert and Conor Sherwin with Nathan Wardynec claiming 4th.
For the A Grade a strong field of 24 riders started in the day’s blue ribbon event. These guys only know one way to race and that is – fast. After a compulsory neutral lap the pace went on and never really stopped. Despite the high speed Travis Myer still found more speed and launched an attack early in the race. Michael Fitzgerald recognised that Travis has the stamina to stay away so he dug deep and bridged across. Their race savvy showed as both knew that this course only had one real straight so they could ride a good tempo and the peloton would have trouble reeling them in. In fact Travis and Michael didn’t just hold the gap they kept opening it up as the riders in the chase group looked to someone else to bring them across. It was a repeat of the last race at the Motorplex when Travis and Michael broke away and stayed away. With 10 mins to go they caught the lagging group and in the final 5 minutes got within 13 seconds of lapping the chase group as well. With victory assured they slowed right down playing cat and mouse and saving legs for the inevitable final sprint. For a while it looked like Travis was going to upset Michael and take the win but Michael dug deep to come back and win by half a wheel. Brendan Meney led the chase group home for 3rd from Blake Smith, Craig Cooke and Darcy Pirotta.
Many thanks to the volunteers from Midland, Northern Beaches and Northern Districts Clubs that made such a large program of events possible.
We are back under lights at the Motorplex this week for the final of the series on Thursday 12 December.