The first round of the Ring Criterium series was run on Sunday morning at the Tech Park Circuit in Bentley, with over 200 riders and Peel District Cycling Club was well represented.
The morning started with a introductory session for new riders, before the action got underway with under 13 E grade race. The riders were quickly strung out on a testing course which included a technical off camber corner right after a fast downhill section and a long uphill drag to the finish. It was Maxim Strizek and Peel’s Ashton Sime at the front for the whole race. Sime accelerated away from Strizek on the long finishing straight, to take the win, with Strizek second and Isabelle Commons third.
The Women’s C and D grade groups rode together at a fairly consistent pace. It appeared C grade wanted a sprint finish and D grade went along for the ride. That was until the bell rang and speed increased dramatically. Danica Wiggins just rode away from everybody to win C grade. Her sister Emily Wiggins was closest at the finish line taking first in D grade, with Rebecca Kelly right behind to take second and Sawitchaya Tippya rounding out the podium in D. The sprint for minor placings in C grade was close with Kyla Gilbertson taking second from Alison Wiggins.
Women’s B grade saw some very tactically racing. The first few laps were frantic and the bunch split apart. The pace then slowed and the riders were all back together. There were more injections of pace throughout the race, but the group stayed together until the final lap. At the bell there were sixteen riders, the next kilometre reduced that to six challenging for the win. It was Peel’s Dharlia Haines sprinting to victory, with Natalie Britz second and Laura Hodges third.
Men’s D grade started with a few fast laps, the pace then eased for a couple of laps, before riders started going to the front and riding hard for a lap or so to break the bunch up. Nobody managed to break up the bunch, but that did not stop a few different riders trying. Though it did leave a trail of destruction as a few riders dropped off the back. In the end it was a bunch sprint. Which was won by Ja-Yeng Yen, with Luke Alsford second and Matthew Gardiner third.
The next race was the Little Critters race, were the under 11s raced the circuit on what ever bike they had road, mountain or BMX under supervision. With an emphasis on safety and fun. Though some were very fast.
Men’s C grade was similar to D, fast early laps which dropped a small number of riders, an easing of pace, a few riders driving the pace, a couple more riders distanced, then a sprint finish. Which saw Peter Bellchambers first, Ben Thorman second and Elliot Roberts third.
Women’s A was the Erin Kinneally show. After Kinneally’s recent performances she was a marked rider. Kinneally constantly attacked, there was always a rider or two on her tail and the bunch would work hard to bring her back. Then suddenly Kinneally was off the front alone. The chase became disorganised, there was a group of three chasing hard, with a gap back to another group of three, then next lap a group of four chasing, a lap later the bunch is back together. The only constant was Kinneally kept increasing her lead. In the end the bunch sat up and riders started thinking about second. Kinneally almost lapped the field in taking the win. Amanda Nabi took out the bunch sprint for second with Corrie Filmore third.
Men’s B grade saw Peel’s Jordan Dawson attack from the start, he was quickly joined by Aron Barclay. The pair quickly built up a decent margin on the bunch. The chase behind was disorganised, a rider or two would work hard, the gap would be halved, then nobody would be willing to take up the pace making and the gap would grow again. With less that 10 minutes to go, Brett Stapleton, launched himself out of the bunch after a couple of other riders had closed the gap a little. With two laps to go, Stapleton a sprinter on some renown had made contact with the leading two. Dawson then attacked, Stapleton worked hard to close it down and on the bell the three riders were together. The efforts took there toll on Stapleton as all he could do is watch as Dawson attacked out of the final corner to take the win. Barclay was second and Stapleton third.
Men’s A grade saw Lewis McCrea and Travis Meyer get a break early. For the rest of the race McCrea’s Satalyst Verve teamates would attempt to launch another rider into the break, unless another rider was trying to bridge across they would sit on. Which kept that team busy and provided an entertaining race for the crowd. Meanwhile the strong riders without a team like Micheal Freiburg, Stephen Hall, Anthony Giacoppo had to do the work themselves. At times it looked like the break would be caught, but in the end it was a two up sprint won by McCrea, Meyer was second and McCrea’s team mate Tim Sellar took out the bunch sprint for third.
Next Sunday, the Ring Criterium Series is at Smeaton Way, Rockingham. With the new racer introductory session at 7:30am and racing from 8am. For more information visit ringcritseries.asn.au