It was close to perfect conditions for race one of the Cristal Titanium Series in Collie with little breeze and clear sunny skies. The McAlinden Course always makes for a good event with enough of a hill at around the 10km mark to stretch the field out. The rolling hills on the rest of the course suit the strong rouleurs and those able to get into a good rhythm. Few cars and a backdrop of green paddocks and contented cows make it a great road racing and team time trial circuit and many thanks to the Collie Club, particularly Darren Coram, Jamie Moloney and Melissa Mumme.

With a number of A graders and strong time triallists in the Crank’n’Cycles team led by Vaughan Berge, it was always going to be difficult for any other team to take control and this was certainly the case with Crank’n’ taking the top 3 placings across the line in the A grade road race and then putting in a dominant performance to be 5 minutes quicker than their nearest rivals in the TTT!!

SWCC Racing’s Bernie Swart who has been gaining good results at West Coast Masters events lately was not quite up to his usual form describing it as a ‘creep week’ but team mate Alistair Patterson enjoyed the circuit riding strongly in the TTT and finishing in 5th place in the road race.

Avanti Uberquads revelled in their grading in B grade with Mikey Hoskin taking the win, Mick Polmear 3rd place and Kurt Harmer 4th place. They backed this up with a solid TTT edged out of 5th place by one second by Drillers 1 but doing enough to be sitting in third place on 48 points at the end of the day.

Team Vie 13 put in a great TTT claiming third fastest time and with Rick Cresswell and Phil Smith 5th and 6th across the line in the B grade RR, they had a great day out and are sitting in  4th place equal with the new team from Margaret River, Arimia.  Spearheaded by young LJ Sleegers who was 4th across the line in the A grade RR, the Arimia crew would have no doubt liked him to have strapped a surfboard to his back before the TTT. They could be well pleased with averaging just under 37kph however and Christian Bishop and James Stephenson obviously had great rides in the C grade RR taking 1st and 2nd across the line.

The City of Busselton/Tinelli crew failed to pick up any individual points but certainly displayed some of the best team work amongst the bunches in the TTT and this showed with their 4th placing keeping them well up in the hunt in the overall team standings.

The only Driller to score individual points was Brent Allen who sprinted well for 3rd place in C grade. Both teams put in solid efforts in the TTT events particularly given they were down on numbers and struggled to keep their teams together. A few more weeks training should see both these teams improve significantly as we head towards Dardanup.

The Geographe Grinders were well marshalled by the experienced Adrian Wood. Steve Anstee was just out of the points in the B grade road race, but will no doubt be stronger next time out.

Prime Mates were looking a little depleted with Regan on the side lines injured and Robbie Commons not back to his best form as yet. They were pleased to recruit Collie’s Darren Coram however and he and Steve Roberts put in particularly strong efforts in the TTT after captain Kim punctured early.

TMC are missing the super competitive Richard Cook but had plenty to cheer about with Dale Blincow taking a strong second place in the B grade road race. Determined to ride as a team they did a great job in the TTT and will be motivated to keep the training up for what is close to a home game with the next event in Nannup.

The Eaton Home Hardware Dogs would have to get the award for team organisation today with a huge picnic basket on display at the end of the road race. Pocket Rocket Kate Tatham had been up early cooking muffins and showed great determination with her riding demonstrating how much improvement she has made in recent months. As always Hugh Home dog did a great job marshalling the hounds and it was great to see a few new faces including Darren Wallis and Scott Macliver having a go at racing.

Many thanks to all who took part in the first event of the series, there was great camaraderie amongst the riders and a great atmosphere to the whole event. There is no doubt the Nannup event will be just as enjoyable with positive feedback about the course. Thanks to Mark Thomas, Suzanne, Darren and Brendon for assisting to run the event. Regan and Greg Pye for driving the follow vehicle and Melissa and Jamie for marshalling.

Check out the results, times and overall points after round one – Cristal Series Results