Sunday 16 September saw over 200 riders descend of the Premier Hotel Pinjarra, for the running of one of Western Australian blue-ribbon cycling races, the Peel Districts Cycling Club’s Pinjarra Classic. Which included for the first time, two women’s grades.
The race is run over a 69km course, climbing up from Pinjarra to Dwellingup, before 15 undulating kilometers and a fast descent into North Dandulap. Which is then followed by the return to Pinjarra on exposed roads, with challenging crosswinds. A grade men race two circuits, all others grades one.
D grade men split apart on the climb to Dwellingup with Steve Ware who had recently returned from Queensland with a 4th place in the 70.3 Ironman World Championship in the 60 to 64 age group and Aaron Sheedy at the front and everybody else strung out behind. On reaching Dwellingup Ware and Sheedy were working well together, with a chasing bunch of six riders forming, not far behind. The pair extended their lead into North Dandulap, before hitting the open roads and crosswinds, which saw Sheedy struggling and Ware ride away to a solo victory. Sheedy held on for second. With Nicholas Tan leading the chasers home for third.
In the C grade men, the bunch split apart on the climb with a group of about 15 riders, being chased by 10 or so, with stragglers behind them. Just after leaving Dwellingup, the two groups combined. They stayed together down to North Dandalup and through the crosswinds. The bunch sprint was won by Mick Polmear with Sam Pierce second and Wayne Deany third.
The under 17 women started with B grade women. The bunch broke up on the climb to Dwellingup, It was under 17 rider Emily Mascaro who lead the way into Dwellingup and stayed away to take the solo victory. Laura Hodges was second in the under 17 race. In the race behind Mascaro, for B grade honours it was two individual riders, being chased by a group of three. Even with the crosswinds favouring a group, it was Corrie Fillmore riding alone for 50 kilometres taking the win. Lorna Henson, who had chased alone for 50 kilometres second and Anke Hoskins taking out the sprint for third.
As with the women the under 17 men started with B grade men. On the climb to Dwellingup, a breakaway of four formed, which include under 17 rider Jordan Dawson. The breakaway worked well together to stay away from a chasing group of seven, with another bunch containing most of the remaining under 17 riders not far behind. In the sprint to the line it was Sean O’Neill first, Jonathan Sammut second, Ciaran O’Kane finished behind Dawson in the sprint, but claimed third place in B grade. With Dawson winning the under 17 race, Sebastian Barrett finishing second with a well timed sprint from the third group and Henry Hunter third.
The women’s A grade, followed a similar pattern with two riders getting away on the climb, a chase group of three set off in pursuit. The remaining 10 riders, however, did not splinter like other races and stayed together as a bunch. It was Rebecca Mackey, who rode away from her breakaway companion Sofia Erhard in the final kilometres to take victory. Erhard was second and Jade Haines sprinting out of the group of three for third.
The first few kilometres out of Pinjarra for A grade, were the slowest of any grade. Then the bunch hit the foot of the climb and the fireworks started and set the scene for the rest of the race, one or two riders up the road,with another one or two trying to bridge across and a dwindling bunch chasing. As soon as one break was brought back, a counter attack would occur. Sam Smith made a bold solo break on the final climb to try and win the Bendigo Bank’s King of the Mountain title. However, Guy Kalma secured enough points on the last climb, to claimed the $500 prize.
Smith was back with the reduced bunch of only 13 of the original 49 starters when they left North Dandalup for the final time and there were more attacks to come, into the crosswinds. The bunch held together, As they raced to the line, a late attack by Kalma saw him claim victory. Jonathan Lewis chased hard for second. Alex Vukovich was also off the front of the bunch for third.