Contributed by Nick Cowie
Sunday saw criterium racing return to Rockingham, with the Peel District Cycling Club racing at Smeaton Way. The A grade field was exceptionally strong considering it was only a club race, with Stephen Hall returning to Australia after a successful racing season in both Europe and the US for the last six months. Theo Yates winner of two stages of the UCI Tour of Iran on the comeback from illness, national under 19 road race champion Tyler Lindorff and Patrick Saccani-Williams individual winner of the recent Tour of Margaret River amongst the 30 contenders.
The race was a typical A grade criterium, with breakaways forming, riders bridging across, the bunch bringing then back and another breakaway forming, during this time Yates and Hall were just marking each other at the back of the bunch. Then suddenly there were 9 riders up the road, in the break or bridging across including the dangerous Lindorff and Saccani-Williams. Hall made his move and powered across the gap. Then there were 10 riders in the break working together to increase the gap. The remaining 20 riders including Yates, that was going to be the last they saw of the front of the race, as their chasing was disorganised.
The break kept increasing their lead, then Hall attacked and only Jarred Anderson could follow. The pair worked well together to build a lead over the eight chasers who efforts were less coordinated than before, though they maintained their advantage over the big group.
On the final lap, Hall rode away to take the win, with Anderson second. Saccani-Williams who punctured and had to take a lap out and wheel from spectators twice was third.
B grade had the attacks and chasing of A grade, but with 26 riders of very similar abilities, no breakaways lasted, they were all chased down. In the bunch sprint, it was Lawrence Considine first, Mathew Wardynec second and John Duncan third.
Earlier in the day, the juniors took to the course for a two-lap race on anything with two wheels from small race bikes to balance bikes. While it is a free event aimed at participation, there were some very serious young riders tearing around the course as their chaperones will testify.
C grade saw a break of four go after two laps, followed by ill-fated solo bridging attempts as the bunch let the break go. A couple of laps later the bunch started chasing, but by then it was too late, the breakaway stayed away and in the four up sprint. Ben Mears took the win, with Jaden Green second and Abraham Karyadi third.
D grade was a stop-start race, one lap they would be strung out chasing a rider trying to get away, the next spread across the road watching each other. Then a switch was thrown and it was flat out to the finish, four flying laps saw riders getting dropped every lap, in the run to the line it was Zac Andrijasevich first, Ryley Collett second and Adrain Chua third.
E grade saw riders from under 13 to over 80 take to the circuit, with the youngest rider Lachlan O’Brien doing most of the animating and winning the prime sprint lap. In the final sprint O’Brien sprinted early, only to be caught by John Bywater close to the line, then Dave Simmons launched a well-timed sprint to pass both of them to take the win, Bywater was second and O’Brien third.
Next week sees criterium racing in the Pinjarra Industrial Estate, for details of that race and all the results of last week’s racing visit pdcc.asn.au.