Race Report – State Road Championships – Wellington Dam – 26 September 2015

The West Australian Road Race Championship were held at the Wellington Dam in the Shire of Dardanup last Saturday. The circuit was picturesque, however the riders had to concentrate on the challenging climbs more than the views. Particularly the River Road climb, 2.8 kilometres at close to a 10% average grade.

The men faced three laps of the circuit, and on the first lap a regular visitor to local Peel District Cycling Club races Tim Sellar attacked and got away. One the second lap Guy Kalma and another rider set off in pursuit of the lone leader. Before a mechanical problem left Kalma alone chasing and catching a tiring Sellar. The final climb up River Road three more riders attacked out of the reduced bunch and set off chasing the leading pair, to no avail. Kalma out sprinted Sellar to win the state title. Stephen Hall claimed third place from pursuing trio. Peel’s Luke Pledger was patient, riding with the remains of the bunch and attacking at the base of the climb to the finish for sixth overall and first masters (over 35) rider.

Podium state road 2015

Men’s State Road Race podium, Stephen Hall, Guy Kalma, Tim Sellar, Luke Pledger (Masters champion) photo by Tony Lendrum

The Women’s race became a two rider race on the first of two ascents of River Road as Jessica Allen and Peel’s Cass Higgs just rode away from the rest of the bunch. On the final climb to the line Higgs rode away to claim her first state title, less than four years after her first race in E grade.

Cass Higgs

2015 State Women Road Race Champion Cass Higgs on the front B grade at Dog Hill earlier this year photo by Nick Cowie

In the B grade support race, 6 riders broke away at 12 kilometres an hour on the first of two climbs of River Road. The six became five the next time up River Road, but they stayed away until the the end. With Peel’s Liam Magowan attacking at the base of the climb to the finish line, only to be caught and passed by his breakaway companions and finish fifth.

The C grade support race was combined with the under 17 race, they only faced the River Road climb once, but by the time they did, there was only a handful of riders at the front of the race. It was the under 17 riders which lead the way up River Road, with Luke Howe using it to launch himself to a solo victory. Lachlan Connan another regular visitor to Peel Races and regular performs well on the Dwellingup Handicaps was second. Peel’s Martin Thurlby, attacked halfway up the final climb and was caught 50 metres from the line, finished third.