Robbie Comes up with New Options
Undeterred by the original course already being dug up to accommodate a new gate, Robbie set about designing a new course using the significant amounts of hot mix on offer in the RCR yard. This week’s version had a couple of hair pins at each end meaning repeated accelerations were required over the course of the race which was always going to take it’s toll on riders’ legs. Most gave the course the thumbs up again however with requests to alternate between the loop and the hair pin course.
Recognising that riders would be under pressure with the hair pins, it was decided to run three grades this week with juniors Josh, Isabella and Harrison slotting into C grade with Steve Camarri, John Hancza, Mark Thomas and Laurie Wilson. After being recognised on Saturday for his club man efforts, Steve was once again looking after the group setting the pace out in front for a significant portion of the race. Laurie hung on for a couple of laps and is improving with each outing gaining experience in criterium racing. Bella also rode determinedly and puts in a huge effort being not only the only girl but also the youngest in the race.
Steve took on the juniors and comfortably powered through to take the priem mid race but in the final run to the line it was the experienced John Hancza who took a comfortable win having paced himself well over the event. Sprinting strongly Josh was second home ahead of dogs representative Mark Thomas.
The B grade bunch were always going to be reasonably evenly matched and it was obvious as the race unfolded that no one really wanted to push into the strong headwind on their own with short attacks by Kim Overington and Al Turner amongst others quickly nullified. Turner was looking like one of the strongest riders as he comfortably claimed the priem but shortly afterwards Steve Roberts put in a determined attack that looked like he meant business. Not looking back, he time trialled the last few laps keeping pace with A grade and despite consistent chasing by 225’s Campbell Leuis amongst others he built a larger gap with each passing lap and crossed the line for a well deserved win. Al Turner was second while Leuis who had done a lot of work on the front claimed third ahead of Brent Allan and Chris Howard.
In A grade the small gaps that tend to develop at the back of the bunch on a hair pin circuit were magnified and soon saw Tom Dexter and Ben Hastie losing contact. Unfortunately there was one casualty on the new circuit with Joel Bertram coming unstuck on one of the hair pins, losing some skin in the process and damaging his derailleur. This was enough to make Jamie more cautious and as a result he too lost contact with the bunch.
Out in front Nicholas Lawler was putting in repeated attacks but was heavily marked and never established a real gap. Bryce Lanigan was once again in good form and liked the hair pin course using his lightweight build to advantage to jump out of the u turns. As a result he was able to surge away to claim the priem but it was Alistair Patterson who was able to establish a break that would stick. Showing tactical nous Marten Howes jumped across to make it a two man break away that no one seemed too interested in chasing.
In the run to the line Alistair had too much power and was happy to take the victory with Marten claiming second place and Bryce once again getting the jump on the group to claim third place ahead of Connor Lambert and Mick Darlington with Tom Dexter putting in a determined effort finishing in seventh place.
Many thanks to Robbie Commons who is putting an enormous amount of work into setting these courses up and to Suzanne who ran the race with Vern Merchant taking over Brian’s duties with the bell this week. The next event at RCR will be on Sunday 24th January.