Sandown Twilight Crits 4 Oct 2011

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By Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club

It was a great start to the 2011/2012 Apollo Bicycles crit series with 251 taking to the testing Sandown circuit on a might of clear skies and a rare easterly breeze, meaning riders battled cross winds on both main straights.

Attacks went straight from the gun in A Grade, with Andrew Stalder (John West Cycling) straight into the thick of the action, joined by Lee Smith (O’Mara Cycles) and Callan Douglas (Mainline Cycles). The trio stayed clear for most of the first 15 minutes before the strung out chasing bunch got back on terms.

The next couple of laps saw the attacks continue, but none gained more than a few seconds. That changed just after the 30 minute mark, with Stalder once again on the right side of the split. The group initially also comprised Paul Mason, Vaughan Bowman, Clement Boydell (Performance Racing), Dean Johnstone (O’Mara), David Mulhall, Paul Anders and Adiq Othman (Drapac Porsche) but the intensity needed to get the break established saw the numbers reduce to just Stalder, Mason, Othman, Bowman, Boydell and Mulhall after two more laps.

Heading to the finishing laps, the six leaders held a 30 second advantage, before a huge turn from Pat Lane (Jayco AIS) saw the bunch almost make contact at the summit of the final climb. The five second advantage proved just enough for the front runners, with Stalder – the winner of an astounding 17 races a few seasons ago – showing his strength in the dash to the line to take the win in front of Othman, Boydell, Bowman and Mason. Mulhall succumbed to the mad rush by the sprinters from the chasing group, with Charles Howlett (Search2Retain) and Nick Walker (Fly V Australia) finishing just a few tyre widths behind Mason.

With the biggest field of the night, B Grade proved a tough nut to crack, with few attacks doing a great deal of damage. Stefan Imberger (Mainline) began the season the way he ended last year – with attacks whenever the pace slackened slightly. He was joined at different stages by Angus McDonald (Hampton Cycles), Jason Gelsi and Clive Silcock (Cycle City Ballarat), but each time was worn down by the relentless pace.

The full field was in contention at the finish, with the sprint well won by Scott Walkerden (Kelly Cycle Coaching). Walkerden kicked hard and early, and just held off the late surges by Matt Leonard (Peninsula Star) and Dean Appleton (Bike Gallery) in a photo finish. The top 10 finished within a bike length, with fourth and fifth narrowly taken by Daniel Nelson (Croydin Cycleworks) and Adam Versteege (ex Machina). Nicole Whitburn (Prime Estate) took the women’s win ahead of New Zealand rider Hayley Giddens.

The cross wind blowing riders into the right hand barriers along the main straight proved devastating for C Grade, with the field split into three bunches midway through the race. Karin Coles was the only woman to hold position in the front bunch, but she eventually had the company of Suzie Molloy and Carley McKay (Kelly Cycle Coaching) after the pair combined well in a long chase.

Once the damage was done, the pace of the front group slackened slightly, with the 25 odd survivors happy to fight out the win in a sprint. Big Carl Naidoo proved quickest in the dash to the line, and took the win ahead of youngster Lucas Hamilton, Nick Bien (Bike Gallery) and Nick Kennedy. Coles took the women’s win with plenty left in the tank courtesy of her recent track training.

The D Grade bunch sprint was well won by Under 15 star Caiden Hull (CCCC Elite), with his tremendous leg speed making up for the limits of his restricted gears. Next home was Matt Griffen, Ned Efe and Brendan Cleary, with Jess Wigan leading Amber Saunders (Burley Finance) home for the women’s win.

CCCC’s next race is the season opener at Glenvale Crescent on Sunday morning. The Novice Clinic kicks off at 8.30a,, followed by B and D Grades at 9am before concluding with the A and C Grade races at 10.15.

Race Results

A Grade 60 mins 69 starters

1 Andrew Stalder CCCC

2 Adiq Othman Malaysia

3 Clement Boydell CCCC

4 Vaughan Bowman CCCC

5 Paul Mason Malaysia

6 Charles Howlett Latrobe City

B Grade 55 mins 75 starters

1 Scott Walkerden CCCC

2 Matt Leonard CCCC

3 Dean Appleton Queensland

4 Daniel Nelson Blackburn

5 Adam Versteege CCCC

Women Nicole Whitburn CCCC

2 Hayley Giddens New Zealand

C Grade 50 mins 59 starters

1 Carl Naidoo CCCC

2 Lucas Hamilton Ararat

3 Nick Bien Blackburn

4 Nick Kennedy CCCC

Women Karin Coles CCCC

2 Suzie Molloy CCCC

D Grade 45 mins 39 starters

1 Caiden Hull CCCC

2 Matt Griffen CCCC

3 Ned Efe CCCC

4 Brendan Cleary CCCC

Women Jess Wigan CCCC

2 Amber Saunders CCCC

E Grade 6 laps 9 starters

1 James Tickner CCCC

2 Adam Blazevic Blackburn

3 Alana Field CCCC

4 Mietta Greig-Hurtig CCCC

5 Georgia Cummings CCCC

6 Tiger McNamara CCCC

7 Nick Thomopoulos CCCC

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