Arimia Big Movers in Round 2 of Cristal Series
Team Arimia were without their number one rider in LJ Sleegers but obviously recruited well in Dan ‘the man’ Jeffereys. The move of James Stephenson up into B grade worked to the team’s advantage as he took a strong second place behind Michael Hosken from Avanti Uberquads while Tom Collins sprinted to victory from a small breakaway group in C grade taking maximum points there. These performances were followed up with a very strong team time trial where they recorded the 3rd fastest time gaining enough points to end the day equal second with the SWCC Race team and in with a good shot at the Salice sunglasses.
There was a lot of positive feedback about the Mowen road course although once again with rolling big dippers it was well suited to the rouleurs in the groups. Each of the three road races unfolded in a similar fashion with a small group eventually getting a break just off the front of the bunch. The long straight roads were not conducive to a break getting out of sight, but the hilly course took it’s toll meaning eventually a break was able to form.
Unfortunately not everyone read the instructions on how to get to the start line and it seems Vaughan was hell bent on taking his team for a look at the Medieval Festival in Balingup resulting in the start being delayed and in the end B grade going off first. When A grade finally got underway it was once again Vaughan’s Crank’n’Cycles team that put the group under pressure. Heading to the line Vaughan and Ryan Fynn were like wolves in sheep’s clothing wearing SW colours but working over the club’s favourite current poster boy Nicholas Lawler. Fynn took the victory with Vaughan 2nd and Nicholas claiming third place. Michael Midgely who put in a great ride last week in the Collie Donnybrook to finish in the top 10 was just behind this trio ahead of Ryan Willmott, City of Busselton’s Soeren Groen and young Bryce Lanigan who had a great race finishing 7th.
Avanti once again scored good points in the B grade road race with Mike Hosken taking the win and Paul Kirby claiming fourth place behind Team Manji’s Dale Blincow. Vie 13 got on the board with Grant Eikelboom riding strongly to cross in 5th place.
Jessica Lawler may be somewhat sick of the amount of attention Nicholas has been getting this week and showed that she is deserving of accolades as well when she rode an attacking race in C grade and finished with a strong sprint taking 3rd place behind Collins and Miles. Drillers had representatives in most of the moves in C grade with Brent off the front for a while and Jessica doing her share of marking the attacks.
The Crank’n’Cycles team were not quite as dominant this week in the team time trial but hit their straps as they shelled half their team and in the end recorded the fastest time by two minutes. SWCC Racing were looking like they were going to struggle to get three riders home in the time trial when Tony Doherty pulled out after the road race but some quick negotiation from the president saw Nicholas back in club colours and with Bryce, Nicholas and Alistair crossing the line together just ahead of Franz and Lee Schurlock they recorded second fastest time on the day.
City of Busselton also shelled half their team in the TTT and Mike Sleegers, Soeren and Michael Midgley set about working efficiently and mowing down the teams in front. They had Avanti Uberquads in sight but could not quite catch them before the line but still ended the day 12 seconds faster than Team Vie and up in 4th place this week placing them in with a strong chance of being on the podium at the end of the series. Vie could also still make the podium after another consistent effort finishing 48 seconds ahead of Avanti in the TTT.
The Drillers teams combined for the TTT after losing their number one rider in Nicholas. Seven starters was not necessarily a significant advantage as the team broke up on the undulating course and strong time triallist Jamie Coutts dropped his chain at one stage. In the end their efforts saw them finish in 7th place just ahead of team Prime who kept their team intact and showed good cohesiveness out on the road.
Geographe Grinders put in a strong ride to be just 30seconds further back and are showing good improvement in the lead up to the ToMR. Team Manji also kept their team together and demonstrated their camaraderie as they fanned out across the road to finish as one.
Craige was showing the effects of his long European holiday as the only dog to drop off the group that was being well led by Robert Swart who continues to improve each week and Scott Macliver who is showing form that should have him riding group 2 on Saturday this summer. Token female Kate Tatham seemed quite happy that Tom Dexter had cooked the muffins this week and once again the dogs took the honours for picnic preparation.
The final race in the series, the Cristal Titanium Tour of Dardanup should be interesting with teams having to ride together in the one grade in the road race. Behind the Crank’n’Cycles team, the points tally is extremely close and with great prizes up for grabs teams will have to sort their tactics out heading into this final race.
Many thanks to Brendon and Kathryn Morrison for organising the Nannup event and to all the supporters who made the trip down and helped out with lead and support vehicles. As always huge thanks to Suzanne Light for time keeping and to Mark Thomas who puts a lot of effort into improving the organisation behind the scenes.