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West Coast Masters Rockingham Criterium

Race report by Nick Cowie

Tom Ford takes the top step ahead of an aggressive field

Sunday morning saw the West Coast Masters race the Smeaton Way circuit in Rockingham.

The first grade away was E grade, to qualify for this grade you need to be 70 years or older.  10 riders took to the start and provided some very close racing, with 9 riders contesting the bunch sprint which was won by Pantelis Karagoglou, with Pat Briggs second and Graham Thornton third.

D grade saw Jonathan Akers return to racing after three months off. Akers attacked on the first lap, the bunch were happy to let him go. Expecting his lack of race fitness would see him back in a couple of laps. This did not happen and after five laps a few riders started chasing. The chase made little impression on Akers lead, as more and more riders were worried about finishing second. Akers rode away to a convincing win. Lawrence Fahey lead the bunch home for second with John Shattock third.

With the order of the grades rotating each week, so as the season progresses different grades get the opportunity to ride earlier in the day and avoid the heat. A grade were next to take to the circuit.  It was a very aggressive start, with attacks, chasing and counter attacks. Twenty five minutes into the fifty minute race, Tom Ford and Wellard’s Shayne Dimmer broke away. The pair worked well together and had built a solid lead, when with two laps to go Ford rode away from a tiring Dimmer to take the win. Dimmer was second and another local Ryan Wilmott was third.

C grade were the next grade to race. The pace was high, preventing breakaways forming. Occasionally a rider would get a small gap, but they were quickly brought back. In the bunch sprint it was Leda’s Rob Cowlings taking the win, with Peter Morris second and Stephen Hesketh third.

The final grade was B grade, on the fourth lap a breakaway of seven riders formed. The pace at the front was furious as the break was on average 10 seconds a lap faster than the bunch. That by the end of the forty five minute race, the break which had be reduced to five had a two minute lead and almost lapped the bunch. In the race to the line Matthew Korten took the win, Joey Rawson was second and Gavin Work third.

Next week sees the Peel District Cycling Club racing at the Kwinana Motorplex, while West Coast Masters races in Wangarra.