First criterium of the season was held on the Smeaton Way circuit in Rockingham on December 1, with a headwind on the finishing straight made timing of the sprint all important.
The first race was three laps of the 1.7km circuit by a big field of juniors, with Hugo Clegg leading home Sam Traianedes and Jake Brown in a tight finish.
E grade saw current state under 13 criterium champion Thomas Hayward narrowly win from Northern Districts Cycling Club team mate and under 13 criterium bronze medalist Dennis Sellar with Peel District’s Zoe Stoltan not far behind.
With riders from the Huon Salmon Genesys Wealth Advisors, Satalyst Giant and Lotto Arbitage teams it was going to be a tough day for the Peel District riders in A grade. The peleton split in two early, but was back together three laps to go for what looked like a bunch sprint. Then with 300m to go Brett Schnitzerling attacked and managed to hold off a fast finishing Toby Brown by less than 10cm, with Jonathon Bolton 3rd. Luke Banaham was the best from Peel in 5th place, not that far away.
C grade saw Brad Gildersleeve adopt a similar tactic and attack with about 300m to go, with a fast closing Calum Stirling a bike length back and Andrew Brown close behind for third.
D grade saw visiting Northern Districts rider Jessica Sellar launched at well timed attack with a lap and a half to go. Scott McMaster was the only rider to match Jessica and overtook her on the last corner to win. With Phil Devenish firing out the pack to take third, less than 10 weeks after open heart surgery.
B grade was another tight bunch sprint finish, that also required a camera to separate the top three with John Buonvecchi first, Simon Mattiacia second and Kurt Harmer third, again less that ten cm separated the three riders after racing for over 45 minutes.
Overall a good day of racing and looks like we will have good close racing this season.