Another perfect day greeted the riders and spectators with magnificent racing conditions with only minimal wind. With only two races left before the SKCC World Championships riders were keen to either keep or get some form before the big race.
Giant was on hand to provide all the race day service for mechanicals and flats. A big thanks must go out to the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer and of course the delightful Matt “Chops” Cowderoy
A Grade had another quality field of 60 plus riders and despite the history of when there’s no wind there’s no break riders continued to try and break away but with limited success. Will Walker (Drapac), Charles Howlett (Search 2 Retain), Conan Daley (Giant), Andrew Clarke (Zoom Video), Ross Mueller & Malachi Moxon all worked hard and spent considerable time on the front.
Will Walker went off the front numerous times and was joined by Cam Lester (Avenue Finance) and the duo quickly built up a lead of 23 seconds but when the peloton sensed the danger they ripped into top gear and quickly closed it down.
Apparently they were all talking in Italian
A bunch sprint was always going to be the case due to the conditions but a surprise move came with 2 laps to go when Giant Velo-Bournes Steve Martin launched of the front in a daring bid to stay away and on the bell lap had 50 metres with the mighty O2 Networks train bearing down on him led by powerhouse Andrew Siwka.
The O2 Networks train was set up perfectly for gun sprinter Dynamite David Loakes as team mate Duncan “The Monster” Smith came into the last corner so fast he ran off the track at high speed this left David in the perfect position but Dynamite doesn’t seem to have the speed or form he has had over the last few years and was comprehensively over run and beaten by Nick Walker (Search 2 Retain) and Will Walker (Drapac) for a Walker 1-2. Questions will need to be asked at the O2 camp as to who is their best rider to take out the SKCC World Championships in a couple of weeks. Although O2 have many bows in their arrow the smart money is on whether Duncan Smith or last year’s winner Chris Tymms take it out. Dynamite has been a bridesmaid many times this year and a win in the club champs is a must for the very proud O2 team anything else will be determined as a failure.
Both hands on the bar sunshine! Adrian was given a let off due to his outstanding commitment to the sock height code.
Aaron Salisbury (Bike Bug) who is one of the best sprinters going around came in 4th with Leigh Parson 5th.
Women’s A Grade had a smaller field this week as a lot of the big hitters were in Mansfield for the two day racing carnival. There was still plenty of talent with former Prime Estates star Bec Locke, Total Rush hard hitter Carly Williams (Total Rush) and former star Bec Domange. Alison McCormack (Capo / Northside Wheelers) made her eagerly awaited A Grade debut and did not disappoint and looked comfortable mixing it with the big hitters.
B Grade was a intense affair. Sam Pickering (Artisan) 3rdwheel ended up finished 3rd for the day.If you had your brothers Campagnolo groupset you would have won 🙂
On the bell lap the girls were all together and it looked like Carly Williams was going to have the power to take it but Bec Locke (Liv / Giant) launched early on the back straight and came out of the last corner first and never looked threatened and took a comfortable win ahead of the fast finishing Carly Williams (Total Rush).
Liv / Giant’s Bec Locke had a super impressive win in Women’s A
Men’s B Grade had a great field of 50 plus riders and the pace was high early and that was in part by Will Williamson (Artisan) who continually pushed his body to the limits on the front. His Artisan team mates were never far from the action with Danny Cherry and Sam Pickering working hard. Gareth Knight (Bike Force) worked well as to legend David Ollie who despite dropping the wheel on Thursday’s 6am NRR broke off the front in a bold and daring move but he didn’t have anyone with him to share the load. Matt Pringle, Sam Madden and Benny Koops all battled hard but it was always going to go down to a sprint and again it was Nick Mifsud who took a super impressive win which has now guaranteed him a step up into the big time – A Grade. Hawthorn’s Jonathan Gray finished 2nd with Artisans Sam Pickering 3rd with Andrew Heraud 4th.
Hard hitting Mat Pringle is riding into some form ahead of the Club Champs on the 1st April
Men’s C Grade had a quality field led by Costa Chronis, Nick Kennendy, Scott Jensen, Nic Baker, Tim O’Leary and Phillip Tehan. The race pretty much stayed together the entire time and a bunch sprint was going to be the order of the day. In the bell lap Paul Aulakh made his move and went early and it paid off as he took the win from the very fast finishing Michael Rousch with Jonathan Dredge 3rd.
These big hitters had plenty to smile about
Women’s C Grade had a bumper field with 15 riders all having a crack. Nicky St Clair (SBR) who has had an amazing start to her racing career with 2 wins from 2 starts was the starting favourite. Bianca Pickett who is one of the fastest improving riders is very fast and dangerous and looked good throughout the race. Kellie Marks, Diane Nelson, Jocelyn Cannington (SAS) all worked hard. On the bell lap Nicky St Clair was well back and looked to be out of with Caitlin Schneller (Bicycle Superstore) coming out of the last corner first but as she hesitated a freight train was pounding down behind her as Nicky St Clair went BANG and exploded to the line to take out another win and make it 3 from 3 and earn herself a promotion to B Grade next week. Caitlin Schneller (Bicycle Superstore) held on to 2nd just in front of the fast finishing Bianca Pickett who finished 3rd.
B Grade was a tough one, the bunch was consistently single file
Men’s D Grade was another cracking race and this has become my favourite grade to report on. The story of the day was the return of Adam McGillivray (Campagnolo) who despite having plastic surgery and 25 stitches two weeks ago was back out racing and back up near the front where this young champion belongs. Heath Christie continues to impress and is one of the most improved riders going around. His new Hoax Racing kit looked extremely impressive and he now has the legs to match his kit. Chris McKay showed the effects of a 3am finish the night before and just seemed a little off the pace today. Michael Popkiss looked strong and Simon Cannington (SAS) looked the goods as per usual.
One of the Giant boys leads the spectacular looking Heath Christie from Hoax Racing. Heath’s new kit looks super PRO & received the Hollywood seal of approval
Coming in the final corner Adam McGillivray (Campagnolo) was looking good on third wheel but pushed himself so hard he vomited on himself and pulled up. The sprint finish was intense and 50kph last lap ensured this and again it was Matthew Callahan who took the win and with it a promotion to C Grade. Matthew Mckimm came from nowhere to grab second with Jarrod Peck 3rd and Heath Christie just back.
Hollywood struggling to keep up with the pace of marshalling of Men’s D
E Grade were treated to some great instruction as the Total Rush ride marshals showed them how to close down a break, roll turns and corner before being let loose to race out the last 3 laps. Michael Caink had the strongest legs and went on to take a great win ahead of crowd favourite Greg Scudds.
Next week is the last week of normal racing before the highly anticipated SKCC World Championships. Who will be king and queen of SKCC?
Thanks to Lloyd Henrikson from Becoz for the quality photos
Giant sure know how to look PRO