The threat of rain and high winds kept the numbers down at Peel District Cycling Club races at Serpentine on Saturday. It was dry and overcast at the start, the wind was up and going to make the racing challenging for all grades. Serpentine is a triangular course, the first leg Gull Road had the wind on the rider’s left, however with the cover, this section was just challenging. The riders then turned onto Rapids Roads, with the wind on their right. With wide open spaces it might of been the shortest leg it was also the most difficult. If you got dropped early on Rapids Road there was no way back. The final section was Karnup Road, with a strong tailwind. A strong rider might be able to close a small gap, but anything else was going to be difficult.
At the end of the first lap, A, B and D grade had broken up. A into a small break, a couple of chasers and big group. B and D into small groups 2 to 4 riders spread across the course. C grade was strung out in a single line with a couple of strong riders pushing the pace, but most riders managed to hang on.
The next lap saw the A grade break maintain a slender lead, from a growing chasing bunch. The lead group in B had swollen to six riders, with riders in two and threes slowly dropping back towards the chasing group. C grade continued strung out with the pace driven by the same couple of riders. In D a couple of newer, stronger riders who were caught out of place on the first lap, were chasing hard, catching riders, dropping riders and continuing to chase the leading pair of Vanessa Johnson and Will Lendrum
The third lap saw the rain arrive, it had different effects on the grades. The rain hit A grade just as the breakaway was caught. Instead of the usual counter attacks, the pace ease, as the group waited and watched. The rain did not slow the B grade break, they passed A grade and kept increasing their lead on the chasing bunch, which while losing ground was catching all the chasers. The pace might of slowed in C a little, as new riders took to driving the pace, it was still strung out in single file. In D grade the Johnson and Lendrum keep increasing their lead as the landscape changed behind the with riders bridging to groups, other riders dropping back.
Then the sun came out, the wind dropped and it was perfect racing conditions for the finish of D grade which saw Johnson out sprinting Lendrum to take victory. Micheal Baker passed nine riders after the end of the first lap to claim third.
C grade ended in a bunch sprint, with Jay Lindorff taking the win, Emma Lendrum second and Tim Watson third. The pace in the B grade breakaway did not slow, the six riders became five. Then in the four way sprint Luke Colum just held off a fast finishing Jordan Dawson with Oli Bleddyn third.
Once the sun came out, A grade returned to normal racing, attacking, chasing, counter attacking. On the final run down Karnup Road Aron Barclay and Ali Milne established a small break, which made it all the way to the finish line with Barclay taking the win, Milne second and Lawrence Considine out sprinting the other chasing riders for third.