Last Saturday saw nearly 100 riders take to the Dog Hill circuit in Baldivis for our first road race of the winter season.
The were numerous attacks on the first lap of A grade with the riders strung out over a few hundred metres as they crossed the finish line after their first lap of the 10.7 kilometre course. The second lap saw two groups form, the breakaway with 10 riders and the bunch with 17 riders. Over the next two laps the breakaway, working together had a lead of more than a minute on the bunch. Then a couple of the strongest rider who had been sitting at the back of the bunch, took control and within a lap, there was a single group. The next two laps saw a flurry of attacks and counter attacks, but everyone was chased down. In the bunch sprint it was Stephen Hall first, Jacob Warman second and Wade Longworth third.
B grade started with a few tentative attacks before the bunch of 20 riders got split in two on the third lap. The pace increased at the front and the breakaway got smaller as they increased their lead over the chasers. In the end there was only four riders left in the contest, which was won by Gavin Wark, by the narrowest of margin from Shanon Sime with Tim Hopkins third.
In C grade the first couple of attacks managed to get a small lead, before being brought back. Then it was business as usual as every attack was quickly chased down. The big question was how many of the 29 riders would survive the constant surging, as the bunch accelerated to chase, then slowed as the catch was made, before accelerating to chase again. While a few riders got dropped by the frequent changes of pace and a couple more riders lost to mechanicals, it was still a big bunch sprint which was won by Anthony Smithson, with Ryley Collet second and Alastair Evans third.
With only 11 riders D grade lacked the aggressive attacking of the other grades. The pace slowly increased over the third and fourth laps, with the bunch strung out at the finish, with Bryan Thurstan taking the win, with Nicole Malloy second and Sam Washington third.
E grade saw Emma Washington, Vanessa Baker and Barry Skehan complete three laps, totalling 32.1 kilometres in a little over an hour. In the sprint to the line it was Washington first, Baker second and Skehan third.