Contributed by Nick Cowie
Last Sunday saw Peel District Cycling Club’s first race of the year being held at the Alumina Way criterium circuit in Rockingham.
With only one rider in E grade, Simon Stolton, his challenge was to try and hold onto D grade for 25 minutes and one lap, but in E grade race length. With a couple of early attacks that had D grade strung out in a long line, Stolton demonstrated he was ready for D grade by holding onto the D grade bunch for their full race distance of 30 minutes and one lap, beating a couple of D grade regulars to the finish line. At the front of D grade, Finely Vine got clear on the back straight and held on to take the win with Nicole Malloy second, and Clint Hort third.
C grade saw attack after attack, as riders attempted to get away. These breaks did not even last a lap, as there was always riders willing to chase. With many riders wanting to attack, the race was a frantic affair, with constant attacking, chasing and counter-attacking. In the end, an attack on the back straight saw Ashton Sime and Nick Finch round the final corner 30 metres clear of the bunch. In the run to the line, it was Sime taking the win, with Finch second and Zac Andrijasevich out-sprinting the pack for third.
The juniors then took to the course for one or two laps of the almost two kilometre circuit. Special mention goes to five year-old Tadhg Harmer for racing two laps of the course in just over 12 minutes at an average of 18 kilometres an hour.
B grade was another frantic race, which saw riders attack and get away for a few laps, before a few riders who worked together to bring them back, before another counter attack allowed another couple of riders to get away. Halfway through the race, time-trial specialist Steve Knight and endurance specialist Callum Henderson were off the front. The bunch could not catch them, but kept the pair in sight for almost 20 minutes, then with two laps remaining the bunch sat up, more worried about third place. As Knight and Henderson rode away, with Knight winning the two up sprint by a bike length from Henderson, Matt De Lilly took the bunch sprint for third.
With most of the top A graders racing in the National Championships, the expectation was a quiet race from a smaller bunch. Instead, the exact opposite happened. Raphael Amouroux attacked early and was joined by Patrick Sacanni-Williams. The pack chased hard, losing over half its number in pursuit of the leading pair. After 20 minutes, the breakaway was caught and the counter attacks started. The fast start and hard chasing meant nobody had the energy to stay up the front for long. However, these attacks and chase efforts were causing damage as more riders got dropped. There was still half a dozen riders left on the final lap as Matt King attacked going into the final corner, carried enough speed through the corner, and held on to take the win from Wade Longworth second, and Cadel Adams third.
Peel Districts Cycling Club’s next race is a time trial at Hopeland on 13 January, with the final criterium of the summer season, the Club Championships at the Kwinana Motorplex being held on 27 January. For details of these races, and the full result of last weekend’s racing, click here.