Cristal Titanium Brilliance in Nannup
The sun was certainly shining for round 3 of the Cristal Titanium Series in Nannup with the weather warming up to give us an early taste of summer. There was no doubt there would be plenty of red faces by days end with a challenging ToMR circuit to contend with.
A decision was made to neutralise the first climb out of Nannup much to Kim’s disgust but as Brendon pointed out, it was in the interest of the back of the bunch having a better day rather than getting dropped immediately and having a lonely ride. Unfortunately the lead motorbike was not quite sure where the top of the climb ended and the riders continued on giving them an extended neutral warm up before they were eventually turned back to the starting point.
Getting underway there were some early moves in Cat 1 as 225’s Allistair Patterson decided it was a good day to make use of his current form and attack the bunch. Avanti Uberquads knew they needed points in the road race to try to take out the series and Mikey Hosken decided to go in the early break. The pair were joined by Peter McDonald and started to develop a reasonable gap.
Deb Carver and co did a great job of marshalling the sharp left hander and all negotiated with no difficulty marking the start of the challenging hilly section of the course. Peter McDonald decided to set a hard tempo up the first climb and was soon on his own going on to claim a comfortable solo win in Greenbushes. Mikey Hosken and Allistair kept the bunch at bay and claimed second and third with Ryan Bailie scoring more points for SWCC All Stars in 4th ahead of young Bryce Lanigan and Uberquads Liam McGowan.
In Category 2 Busselton’s Soeren Groen had done some good recruiting this week and was determined to make an impact. He achieved this goal claiming victory in front of Arimia’s James Stephenson. Busselton’s Roger Shooter and Ryan Scarf were also up in the points in third and fourth ahead of Andrew Sime and Paul Morton from Team Dunsborough.
TMC’s Dale Blincow has a tendency to dominate the placings in Cat 3 and this week was no exception with fellow Manji rider Shane Hughes taking second place. The Driller’s Darren Spouse was a no show giving Brent Allen the opportunity to drop down out of Cat 1 and he took full advantage claiming third place in the road race ahead of Prime’s Steve Roberts. Tony Shaw from the Drillers was fifth with Kim Overington scoring more points for Prime in sixth place.
For the women’s teams the steep climbs were a real test but no doubt the girls will be better prepared now for the upcoming ToMR. Mercy Ship’s Luba Kovalenko suffered a mechanical early with her cable breaking leaving her with only the largest gear in either her small or large chain ring. This was pretty challenging on the steeper climbs and a couple of times she had to get off and walk but she was determined not to give in and pushed on to finish the race. Out in front Northern Comets Hisayo Thornton took the win ahead of fellow team mate Tarni Riggs with Sandii McMannus from Mercy Ships in third place.
A quick downhill run to Balingup and teams enjoyed some refreshments on the grass while mentally preparing for the stage two 40km TTT.
Loose Wheels who had headed straight to Balingup were eager to hit the road and headed off first with Harrison Lawler strengthening the ranks as his fellow junior riders were unavailable this week. Denise Allan was also riding strongly in the group as was the in form Suzanne Light. Leanne Cogan and Lou Potaka have gone from strength to strength but the undulating course was always going to make it difficult for the team to stay together for the full distance.
First racing team away were the SWCC All Stars with a full squad this week with the addition of Peter McDonald and Mark Benson. It was obvious right from the start that the pace was going to be on as the team wasted no time in establishing a break on the Uberquads 3 who started second. A few dead and not so dead snakes on the road provided added incentive to keep the legs moving quickly and teams endeavoured to get the most out of the rolling undulations.
Uberquads 3 were overtaken by Uberquads 1 who were out to bridge the gap on the All Stars but it was to no avail as the SWCC team was in full flight this week. Mark Benson looked down and saw an average speed of over 42kph after a few km and decided it was going to be a bit hot for him as he dropped off leaving Nicholas hanging on to Ryan and Peter on the small rises.
SWCC Racing 1 had their full squad this week as well and it was good to see Jordan Schmidt who will represent the club at the ToMR joining fellow mountain bikers Bryce Lanigan and Franz. This team put in a great effort to record the 4th fastest TT, a great end to the series and cementing third spot for them overall.
In Cat 2 Team Dunsborough were working extremely well together recording a better time than some of the Cat 1 teams as they went on to post fastest time for Cat 2. Arimia were under pressure but managed to hold off the much improved Busselton squad and record second fastest time and enough points to secure the overall win in the series ahead of Dunsborough and the big movers Busselton. The SWCC Masters team have been lamenting their grading all series but stepped it up in the final event to record a great TTT time and demonstrate they are coming into form at the right time.
The Eaton Dogs have been switching and changing their teams all series and pulled in some good recruits for the final round with the strong Ian Hayward and Darren Wallis joined by Peter Frawley and Terry Matthews from the Broome kennel. These four combined to post the fastest TTT for Cat 3, a great end to the series for the enthusiastic hounds.
Team Prime also recruited well in Darryl Slater and John Hanson and improved their TTT performance no end to be a close second and with the extra points in the road race, pulled Prime up to finish third overall in the series. Team Manji put in another consistent TTT to cement their overall series win while Cathie Rice Travel also finished strongly with a time slightly faster than the Drillers who had scored enough points in the road race to jump up to second in the series.
Luba still stuck in her biggest gear drove Mercy Ships on to a strong effort in the TTT finishing comfortably in front of the Northern Comets and claiming second place in the series behind Riders Choice with the Comets in third place.
Vern Merchant from the Eaton Dogs was rewarded for his enthusiasm with an encouragement award as were juniors Harrison Lawler and Ben Hastie and Courtland Wood from the Busselton team. Leanne Cogan and Lou Potaka were also recognised for their improvement over the series.
Many thanks to Brendon Morrison and his crew of helpers for doing a great job organising the final leg in the series with the experience of Paul Cogan, Lindsay Allan and Neil Fox all invaluable. Huge thanks to Deb Carver for marshalling again and to Andrew and Leonie for all their help and for support car Robbie Commons and lead bike Hugh McDonnell. Thanks also to Jessica Lawler and Aleesha Cheema who were Jo’s little helpers today and did a great job.
We are so lucky to have such picturesque places to ride with relatively little traffic. Well done to everyone who took part in what was once again a brilliant Cristal series.