The first criterium of the year was held at Smeaton Way on Sunday. With a strong easterly wind, it was going make breakaways difficult with a strong headwind down the back straight. It also meant a tailwind assisted sprint finish with A and B grade riders exceeding 60 kilometres an hour.
The juniors race did not hit those speeds, with Dakota Ramos first, Gabriel Glory second and Kassandra Glorie third.
E grade was the normal race of attrition, no strong attacks, but a constant fast pace which saw riders being dropped regularly. Baden Gray outlasted his opponents to take the win, from first time racer Robert Huntingdon second and Simon Stolton third.
D grade saw a number of attacks, but nobody managed to stay away for more than one lap. The attacks did cause damage as a number of riders where dropped. With Millen Sjerp winning the sprint from the reduced bunch, with Clint Hort second and Harry Postma third.
After a slow first lap, the pace picked up and stayed that way for the rest of the race for C grade. It may not of looked like anybody was attacking, but there were numerous attacks, it was just that nobody was going to let anybody go. After a frantic forty minutes Cameron Nobbs won the bunch sprint with Nathan Beeck second and Grant Viney third.
B grade was almost a carbon copy of C grade, except every few laps it look like the riders called a truce for lap to catch their breath, before the next attack. This race was always going to finish in a bunch sprint which was won by Dave Berglund, returning after a two year absence from the sport, with Kurt Harmer second and Mark Glorie third.
At the beginning of last year, there would of been five to eight riders in A grade, this week there was twenty two for what was the most entertaining and aggressive race of the day. With attacks getting established, staying away for a couple of laps, only to get dragged back in, then a counter attack and the previous attackers where hanging on the back of the pack grimly. With three laps to go David Wessells and Stephen Leahy racing his first A grade race established a small break and it looked like they might stay away. With a lap to go Shayne Dimmer attacked from the bunch, chased down the leading duo and took the win, Wessells was second. Nigel Stella who started racing in D grade, this time last year, shot out of the bunch to snatch third from Leahy.