One of the original founding members of SKCC – Rene Bueman still doing his bit 11 years later.

It was another bumper day of racing with great numbers across all grades on Sunday as the weather played a nice backdrop to the fierce racing going on around the South Melbourne circuit.

The atmosphere was second to none as Michael from Soul Kitchen poured coffee over some good beats and the Giant boys had their RACV like setup in pit lane humming like a bee.

Men’s A Grade set off at a cracking pace with some quality riders as per usual out in force. With the embarrassment of the field being lapped last week all the breaks were held on a tightly held leash. O2 Networks with almost a full team were involved in everything early and kept launching attack after attack.

Malachi Moxon (Sole Devotion / North Side Wheelers) turned back the clock and showed being almost 50 means nothing as he was involved in everything and chased everything and worked hard for his Sole Devotion team mates. Malachi who has his face on his very own Winners bar was almost forgotten but that’s how he likes it as he reminded everyone he’s still got it. Bike Bug had big gun Adam Murchie & Aaron Salisbury looking extremely dangerous and despite being on a break Rico Rogers (Giant) still rolled around making it look easy.

O2 powerhouse Duncan Smith leads Darren Martin & Malachi Moxon into corner 1

Andrew Clark rode strong and was always involved and talk of the town David “that bastard rower” Kelly made his debut at SKCC and didn’t disappoint as he worked tirelessly with team mates Razor Ray Forbes and Ben “yes these quaddies are real” Hegerty all from Total Rush. Unfortunately for Ben he decided to try his hand at Cyclocross coming out of the last corner and went on a little excursion into the grass.

Zeth Romanis was looking sneaky as per usual and can never be given any latitude as he is still a dangerous rider. Ross Mueller, Neil Robinson (ABOC / Campagnolo)  and Tom Donald (Search 2 Retain) were never far from the action and Samuel Lilly worked hard.

It was always going to be a sprint finish and it was billed to be the matchup between the mighty O2 Networks train and the one man show Rico Rogers but what they both didn’t count on was the devastating powerhouse sprint from Horsham’s Todd Welsh. Todd looked like a NASA rocket on take-off and despite looking like a UFC fighter smashed everybody and ate the sprint up and took a fantastic win ahead of Rico Rogers and Chris Tymms.

Todd Welsh goes BANG and explodes to a massive win. Todd reportedly hit 73kph in the sprint.

Men’s B Grade was typical of B Grade, they wouldn’t let anything go and every attempted break was quickly chased down.  Sam Madden was looking the goods early as too Damian Roy as both were involved in the action early. The dynamic duo of Nicole Whitburn & Amy Bradley made their mark felt and even dared to show the boys up and tried getting off the front. Michael Neal (Becoz) put on a fantastic display of riding with 3 laps to go and single handedly rode on the front of the bunch for 2 laps to stop any late breaks getting away as he kept an amazing high speed.

Peter Hood and Adrian Vlok in the hurt suitcase as they push the two man break. Adrian was later fined 15 Euros for not having matching knicks.

Coming into the last sweeper off the back straight disaster struck and a rider went off his line and caused a crash that made the corner look like a Libyan Street during the revolution.  Luckily with the Ambulance on hand treatment was quickly rendered with all injured parties recovering well although one won’t be riding for quite some time.  It was yet another timely reminder to ride smart and ride safe. It’s not life or death it’s just a bike race so we all have an obligation to take care of each other while we are out racing.

Despite Michael Neal’s great work his Becoz teammate Jason Richards couldn’t seal the deal as he had issues with slippage in his Bont shoes which cost him the win. In the end it was a fantastic sprint win Richard Braic ahead of Ritchard Longmire with Richards 3rd and Andrew Heraud 4th and Chris Garrard 5th.

Come on mate it’s not that bad, you could be down at ………………..watching the crits.

Men’s C Grade was the race of the day and saw Chris Handley put in a devastating performance as he and two others were in a break for most of the day and worked well together. It took the whole field most of the race to bring back this tough 3 man breakaway.

Cameron Meikle, Jason Cooper, William Boothey and Anthony Caffry all had a crack at various stages throughout the race. Once the break was caught and a sprint finish was assured it was the mighty Justin Cally who took the big win ahead of Joshua Vicino with the fast finishing Simon Frost 3rd.

Men’s D Grade started off at a frantic pace as everybody was out to test the legs early but then it settled back into a easier pace. Nathan Bushby  and Peter Thomson had a crack but didn’t get too far and as usual it was a sprint finish but this was a close one with Patrick Hutton coming from way back to overpower the other riders to take a great win ahead of Angus Flood 2nd with Bradley Erickson 3rd and Mr Consistent Shaun Sutcliffe 4th.

The SKCC kit looking great but unfortunately a couple of fines for SHV (Sock Height Violations)

E Grade had over 20 riders all learning the ropes then having a crack in the last 3 laps.  Marcus Nyeholt has been the form rider in E Grade and is surely due for a win soon as his 3rd again this week proved he is super consistent. Christopher Papastavros made it look easy as he took the win ahead of Russ Eden.

In Womens’ A with the numbers on the startline depleted by the severe case of man flu that had swept the women’s peloton, it was a sedate start to the women’s A race on another nice warm morning.  

Jussy (SKCC-Giant) must have missed her warm up, because she spent the first few laps holding the pace high on the front. Maybe trying to practice TT’ing for the upcoming Tour of Bright!? From there, a few attacks went but nothing threatening was let more than a few seconds up the road before being brought back. Grace Phang (Bike NOW) showed some great form since her move to A grade and had a crack, along with Carly Williams & Jussy as usual.

The beautiful Goddess of Thunder sporting a new kit. Rumour has it she will be a SKCC member for 2012.

Things ticked along rather smoothly with the bunch neutralised  to let the E grade men and C grade women races have the full course for their sprint but after the course was clear, the attacks started again in an attempt to prevent the usual bunch sprint. Amy Bradley (Total Rush) tried her hand yet again, but as usual was denied the chance and Bridie O’Donnell (Cycling Edge) put the pressure on causing Jodie Batchelor (SKCC-Giant) to chase hard and sacrifice her chances at the end of the race.

The final 3 laps the pace was kept high, with Amy dropping the sprinters off at the final corner with her lap lead out.  Nicole Whitburn, Goddess of Thunder put down too much power and popped a mono out of the corner but held it upright and once the power hit the road everyone else was left in her dust. 2nd was taken again by track superstar Laine Hammond.

Women’s B Grade brought the crowd out in force to watch the woman dubbed the female Mark Cavendish – Lysiane Belton (TFM / Pleather) try her hand for a maiden win.  Lysiane was looking good early but ran out of steam towards the end of the race which left the door open for Madeleine Pape and Wendy Young. In a desperate sprint finish Von Micich who trains with superstar boyfriend Shane Miller every day, and is being coached by new SKCC member Stu McKenzie, showed she is ready for A Grade as she took a fantastic win ahead of Renee Nutbean. Renee has been in some really good form in her first season of racing and a win is looking imminent for her.

The SKCC big hitters – Justyna and Jodie.. Is that Grace poking her tongue out in the background?

Women’s C Grade, with it numbers growing every week, proved that it is here for the long term with another great race.  Eva Wightman,  Danielle Ahern and Nicole Schneller all rode well and looked dangerous throughout the race. However today belonged to  Danielle Ahern who was clearly the best rider on the day taking out a great win ahead of Helen Bean.

The Bike Gallery boys watching the Womens race.

Thanks to all the volunteers once again and remember if you’re rostered on to marshal and can’t make it, it’s your responsibility to find a replacement. You get access to the email addresses of every other marshall on the roster, so it’s just a quick email out asking for a swap. It’s only once a year so don’t be a bludger, do your bit and help out.

Finally you can buy your SKCC hats, socks, musettes & bakpockets both on-line or at the race.