The Ring Criterium Series came to the middle of Rockingham. The coastal wind, the wide open roads and sweeping corners the Smeaton Way circuit made it very different conditions from the previous week and it was expected to make breakaways more difficult.
In the under 13s race, it way very similar to the previous week with Max Strizek and Peel’s Ashton Sime at the front and Cooper Hiscox chasing for the full twenty minutes and two laps of the race. Sime outsprinted Strizek for the win with Hiscox third.
This week saw the introduction of a Men’s E grade race for riders who may of found the pace of D grade challenging. It was raced in conjunction with the Men’s D grade. Tom Power took out E grade by sitting in the bunch as it shed both D and E grade racers. Simon Stolton finished second in E grade. D grade men, started fast, shed a few riders, eased up a little mid race between a couple of attacks, then picked up pace in the last two laps, shedding a few more riders. It was always going to be a bunch sprint and in the end it was Peel’s Nicholas Tan first, Scott Biffen second and Albert Ullbricht third.
The women then took to the circuit, in the combined C and D grades, Peel’s Zoe Stolton rode away and joined the B grade bunch, to win C grade and earn promotion to B. Behind her, the bunch lost a couple of riders, before the bunch sprint and it was the junior riders in D grade taking the honours with Albany’s Emily Wiggins outsprinting everybody to win D grade, closely followed by Hannah Waters in second, Heather Connan was third. In C grade, Stolton was first, Kyla Gilbertson took the sprint for second, with Sara Langridge third.
With a big bunch of over twenty riders in the Women’s B grade it was going to be difficult to get away and while a number of riders tried, nobody did. It was a bunch sprint will Peel’s Dharlia Haines taking here second win in succession. Natalie Britz was second and Danica Wiggins who won C grade last week third.
The under 11s took to the course for the Little Critters race, with children on a mix of two wheels from road bikes to balance bike and even a scooter for two circuits on the 1.7km course under supervision.
The Men’s C grade took to the circuit, again a big bunch, a lot of strong riders it was going to be difficult for anybody to get away, a few tried, nobody succeeded and in the bunch sprint it was Anthony Preston first, Jordan Chamberlan second and Jethro Nagle third.
15 minutes after finishing B grade, three brave souls returned to race in Women’s A grade. With Orica-AIS rider Jess Allen and in form Erin Kineally in the race, it was not when they would attack, but was anybody else strong enough to go with them. It took a few laps before Allen and Kineally were off the front with Melissia Robinson for company. Next lap it was Allen and Kineally, with Robinson dropping back to form a group of three chasers, with the bunch well behind. As the race continue Allen and Kineally worked together to extend their lead, the chasers kept the the leading pair in check, for a few laps before tiring and dropping back to the bunch to contest the sprint for third. Kineally took her second win in succession, outsprinting Allen. With Jade Haines taking the bunch sprint for third.
Jordan Dawson attacked from the start of B grade. Unlike last week he did not get away, but that set the tone for the race. Riders regularly attacking, getting away from the bunch for a lap or so, getting reeled back in, only for a counter attack to take place. Peel’s Mikey Hoskens was off the front alone or in small groups so often he was awarded the most aggressive rider award. The size of the bunch, the nature of the course and too many riders willing to chase breaks, meant it was always going to be a bunch sprint. Which was won by Andrew Fitzgerald, with Ben Blacklock second and Martin Depiazzi third.
With three strong riders, including State Road Race Champion Michael Freiburg off the front of the the A grade early in the race. It looked a break might make it, as the gap kept increasing. Then it was like a sleeping giant awoke. The big name riders came to the front and closed the gap down with ease. Other riders tried to escape, but they were quickly chased down, by a pack wanting a bunch sprint. All eyes were on Stephen Hall, when Freiburg attacked with a little over a lap to go. The bunch chased hard to catch Freiburg, losing a lot of riders in the final lap. It was Peel’s Road Rider of the Year Matt Peterson who timed his sprint to perfection to win with Hall second and Craig Wiggins third.
The Ring Series heads north to Gnagarra next Sunday, before returning to Rockingham on 11 December for more information and the full results visit ringcritseries.asn.au/