One of the most talented riders Australia has ever had – Will Walker.

It was back to racing at St Kilda on Sunday with great weather and good numbers as it was time to pick up from where we left off last year and that was FAST racing.

There were a few riders still in holiday mode with some cases of SHV (Sock Height Violation) and glasses being worn behind the helmet straps but after a quick warning all riders were back looking PRO! There is current debate on how close knicks should be to the knee but this is a debate we will have some other time as for now its back to the race report.
If you thought with the Tour Down Under on and people being on holidays it may have been an easy day you were rudely awakened when you looked at who was on the start line.

With Johnnie and Nick Walker, Search 2 Retain, Porsche Drapac, The Monster Duncan Smith (O2 Networks), Ross Muller , Rico Rogers and the recently transferred new SKCC Member  David “The Cyborg Rower” Kelly (Total Rush) you knew the race was going to be torture.

Alison McCormack with perfect cap-loft and a perfect smile with a far from perfect Hollywood

A Grade had attack after attack until  finally the field cracked and a small bunch managed to get away off the front that had some seriously quality riders, once this break got established it was the other big names that went across.

The break became more of a split with all the teams represented with only Rico Rogers isolated. Rico worked tirelessly to get across but there were too few willing helpers and a lot of other team riders disrupting the chase.

Will Walker gives Rico Rogers a helping hand with his race number. The question was is Rico’s new skinsuit available for men as well 🙂

With the time gap continually growing and the riders willing to help diminishing the inevitable was bound to happen. The field was lapped as they were called for 2 laps to go! David Kelly (Total Rush) attacked the break and only Jonnie Walker had the legs to go with him as they escaped from their break-away counterparts.

David held out Johnnie to take his first win at SKCC and proved he is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Johnnie’s brother Nick Walker (Search 2 Retain) came in 3rdand the ever consistent Patrick Drapac (Porsche Drapac) 4th.

Cameron Lester (rear) (Avenue Finance) never one to die wondering continued to try to get across to the break. A true hard man.

Women’s A had a lot of the big names away in Adelaide racing but that didn’t mean the pace wasn’t on. Justyna Lubkowski (SKCC Giant) was in everything. She attacked, attacked and attacked and then still had the legs to destroy the field in the sprint finish beating Leah Paterson (Brunswick CC).

If that wasn’t enough she then went on to race Men’s B grade and made her presence felt there as well. It wasn’t any wonder WADA officials were looking for her after the race 🙂

Women’s A Grade winner Justyna Lubkowski having a well-earned 5 second breather before she tackles Men’s B Grade.]

Men’s B Grade had a large field and was strung out from the very start. Becoz, Bikeforce and Canard were all making their presence felt as top dog in B grade. Attacks came thick and fast but it was David Phillips (Bike Force) who went it alone early on his brand new Ridley bike but his “new bike syndrome” form only lasted 2 laps as he was shuttered down the back once caught. Richard Smith (Becoz) was showing some good signs and has really improved this season.

Becoz’s Jason Richard and Richard Smith. Jason must have been watching the women’s race.

With breaks going all day but being continually shut down it was going to come down to a sprint with the Becoz and Canard boys fighting for position. Eddie Wilson tried to go it alone but unfortunately for him it’s not like the old days and he blew up and was caught.

Richard Smith had the perfect position coming into the bell lap and was sitting 3rdwheel but what they all didn’t know was there was a French rider sitting in and waiting for his moment to pounce. Anthony Soucaze took a mighty win clocking out over 67kph’s in the sprint to win ahead of Glenn Hutchinson 2nd, Richard Longmire 3rd, Alastair Donohue 4thand Chris Smith 5th.

No it’s not an outlaw it’s Michael from Soul Kitchen dishing up the best coffee at the best crits

Women’s B Grade was an interesting affair with a small field and 3 Becoz riders it was always going to be difficult for the other girls. Becoz continued to drive the pace and continued to attack. Lisa Byrne was looking sensational until she punctured but a quick tyre change and she was back out and amongst it.

Coming in to the bell lap Lisa tried to round up her teammates to put in a special effort but after working so hard the girls had no answers. Renee Nutbean who has been improving every week and who is a consistent top performer took the win ahead of Lisa Hanley.

Lisa Byrne (Becoz) driving the bunch hard.

Men’s C Grade was a pretty sedate affair with every little attack being neutralized straight away. However one attack snuck away and stuck but controversy rang out at the finish as the 3 winners were disqualified for sitting in on A Grade. It was a tough pill to swallow for the guys who had worked so hard to get away. In the end the win was awarded to Mitchell Barry with Brent Woodlock 2ndand Gareth Alpin 3rd.

David Fisher from Bike Gallery worked tirelessly in B Grade, Richard Smith sitting second with party boy Dan Wilkins (Bike Gallery) with perfect sock height sitting 3rdwheel.

­Women’s C Grade was a great race and saw Alison McCormack (Northside Wheelers / Capo) make her eagerly awaited debut. Despite doing 180km the day before which included the Hell Ride Alison was determined to be araldited to the front of the bunch.

In the final sprint to the line she suffered a Shimano mechanical and couldn’t get into her 12 tooth which left her short and opened the door for the fast finishing Bianca Pickett to take the win ahead of her.

As Justyna is talking with her hands she must be speaking Euro Italian. I don’t think Lisa was interested.

Men’s D Grade had a great field of nearly 50 riders with everyone seeming willing to have a crack. Peter Savage, John Kelly, Christopher Till and Gordon Duff all tested the legs and tried to make things happen.

Murray Pung and Robbie Hunt looked dangerous but in the end it was Michael Rousch who took a great win ahead of Rick Young 2nd, Bradley Erickson 3rdand Brent O’Shannesy 4th.

The Monster Duncan Smith (O2 Networks) giving Hollywood (sD) some tips before the race. Hollywood didn’t listen, Duncan made the break, Hollywood finished last.

E Grade got shown how to corner by the Total Rush boys of Luke McKenzie and David Kelly before being let of the leash and allowed to race.  Lee Lindsay took the win ahead of Paul McArthur in what was one of the fastest finishing E Grade finishes is recent history.

Charles “Chucky” Howlett (Search 2 Retain) with Neil Robinson (ABOC / Campagnolo) warming up before the race.  Neil apparently has had the same Campagnolo chain for 7 years.

A big thank you to Asha Henriksson who took all the photos this week –