Posted by on 03/26/00
Last week saw a near record number of starters for the handicap race but this week's 44.5km scratch races saw 3 more riders turn up for a total of 47 over the 4 grades.
A massive field of 20 riders took part in the A grade race. The race had many aspects to it but one that it was not was dull. With so many riders of near to equal ability there was attack after attack. Brad Martin was particularly active as was Mick Lockyer and Chris Brown. One of the main highlights of the race was Mal Haigh's valiant attempt to go it alone. Haigh was away for over 12km with the bunch chasing hard, he was caught at the final turn on Calderwood road.
Brendan Cato attempted his usual break away on the final climb up Hooker hill, he was given a little slack but was eventually brought back to the bunch. On the approach to the finish Williams had several attempts to get away, to no avail. But he did cause a split in the bunch, which resulted in 8 riders getting a small break on the bunch. As the sprint heated up there was a clash of handlebars that resulted in Jason Micaleff hitting the deck and Lockyer going over the top of him. Lockyer was given 8.5 by the judges for the somersault which resulted in him breaking his collar bone.
Williams won the sprint from Brown and Cato.
The B grade bunch was also quite large with 16 riders facing the starter. Nearly all the riders worked well swapping off turns on the first half of the first lap, which resulted in quite a high pace being set. Garry Doughty put the pressure on the first climb up Marshal Mount that caused a split in the bunch and 4 riders missed the break. There were still quite a few riders willing to keep the pace high, such as Lionel Covington, Brendan Scollary, Dylan Forbes, Ben Lhouse, Joe Pereira and Dave Lovegrove.
There were no concerted efforts by anyone to get away from the bunch. This was largely due to the fact that Scollary who was doing a mountain of work was keeping the pace so high. In fact from the intersection of Avondale and Huntley roads on the approach to the finish, Scollary sat on the front and powered along at over 40km/h. No one was able or willing to go past him. The sprint started a long way out when Lhouse took a flyer. Forbes was quickly on his wheel as was several others. As the riders came around the corner into the finishing straight Doughty burst to the front and was not headed to the line, Forbes was second and Peter Kelly came through for third.
Even though the C grade field was smaller the competition was as fierce as in the other grades. The first climb up Marshall Mount also saw a split in the bunch with 6 riders making the cut. On the second climb up Marshall Mount there was another split with a group of 4 getting away. The 4, Peter Evans, Pat Delahunty, Grant Farr and Sally Watts shared the work evenly until the climb up Hooker hill where Evans and Farr pulled away from the other two. Delahunty had just done a big turn and was caught at the back but Watts almost held the other 2. Evans out sprinted Farr with Watts following them in after just holding off a late charge by Delahunty.
Ian Cooper rode a good constant pace in D grade and recorded quite a reasonable time to take out first place.
The morning was capped off with the presentation of the track Club championship trophies.
Next week's race is a 44.5km handicap with group 7 supplying the marshals.
The Club would like to wish Craig Williams all the best as he is heading off on Thursday to join the NGI team in Holland. He will be based in the south of Holland in Linberg. This is his second season racing in Holland and with his present form and a little luck he is hoping for some good results. His training schedule was a little thrown out by the fact that he hit a car the other week and broke his collarbone. Not one to be easily deterred he took it all in his stride and was back on the bike within the week. He topped his training off last weekend with a very strong ride in the A grade scratch race which he also won. We look forward to hearing all about his exploits.
|D Grade 37.5km|
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