Having never trialled the course, we weren’t quite sure what we were in for doing a crit on the South West Sport Centre course but with the opportunity to race on closed roads and with positive feedback from Marten Howes who previously did a triathlon on the course, we decided to give it a go.

The circuit was 2.5km long and somewhat more technical than our traditional club criteriums but a good opportunity to develop skills and experience in a low key club format.

Unfortunately the summer weather has disappeared at the moment and there was a reasonable south easterly blowing keeping the temperatures down and making the riders work hard in some sections.  The dull conditions were probably a blessing however as the dogs were almost blinding the spectators with their bright new kit!!

Grouping roughly up into club teams, all were set off for a hot lap first up to warm the legs and give everyone a chance to look at the course.  First away were the fluoro dogs with a few first time crit riders including Darren Wallis and Vern Merchant.  Next up were Busselton with Steve Camarri and Ben Hastie joining the ever improving Courtland Wood and Adrian.  Team Prime joined with Vie and last off BDC Drillers joined forces with SWCC Racing.

The final times saw Bryce and Nicholas scorching around the 2.5km in the fastest time of 3:28 with Ben Hastie putting in a great effort to record third fastest in 3:44.  Kudos to Courtland Wood who also put in an impressive time on restricted junior gears of 3:50.  Prime and Vie stuck together and worked well bringing their group across the line in 3:46.

Unfortunately Darren Spouse took a different line to Bryce on one of the back corners which saw him clip Bryce’s wheel and crash heavily giving himself concussion.  We wish Darren a speedy recovery and hope he remembers who he is again soon….

The junior boys and Isabella were revelling in the chance to do some criterium racing and worked well as a group to get around the lap in 4:25 with Bella determinedly chasing / spinning her legs off just behind.

The main race was handicapped with three groups setting off approx. 1 min apart.  Rick Cresswell was very pleased to be off in the front group with a number of friendly pooches and with the Busselton captain Adrian organising the troops all seemed to be going well for the front markers.  Steve Camarri showed us his turn of speed for a lap off the front but generally this bunch worked well together sharing the pace making.

Meanwhile further back Nicholas and Bryce who were the back markers with Queensland visitor Brad McCreadie took off hard and reeled in the group in front of them within one lap.  The pace was a bit hot for Brad and he dropped off through the S bends while Bryce and Nicholas got their breath back for a couple of laps before setting about chasing the dogs out in front.

The new kits made a good chasing target and the young boys bridged the gap comfortably and again tried to blend in with the group to get a rest before the final sprint.

Ben Hastie saw 20 minutes tick over on his Garmin and decided he had a good chance of the win so took off with a strong sprint that saw him gain a jump on the bunch.  Punching his fist in the air he was rewarded with the bell informing him that he had not actually won but instead had a lap to go!!

Meanwhile the junior boys were sprinting for the victory with a shorter 15 minute plus one race and it was neck and neck heading to the line with Josh Commons just getting one up on the ever improving Lowan Ferry with Harrison not far behind in third place.  Isabella put in a great effort showing loads of determination to push all the way to the line.  She will certainly give anyone who puts their hand up to chaperone her this summer a hard time.

After the practice run the lap before Ben set himself for another go at the final sprint but this time Nicholas Lawler had him marked and came through to claim the win with a great effort by Ben taking second ahead of Bryce Lanigan.  The dogs then powered through with Ian Hayward taking fourth and a great ride by Darren Wallis claiming fifth place ahead of Andrew McGruddy, Ian Ferry and Rick Cresswell.

All in all it was a great club event and a good chance to practice some circuit racing.  Robbie Commons is working on a calendar of events on a closed road circuit at RCR over the summer so stay tuned for more info.  In the meantime the Eaton Dogs have scored a lot of points with their turnout today and are sitting in second place just behind SWCC Racing in the points so the ‘camouflage suits’ are obviously working for them.

Many thanks to the Bunbury Tri Club  and particularly David Offer for allowing us to work in partnership with them once again and it was good to cheer on a few of our members taking part in the triathlon that followed.

Great to have Brian Kennedy back and his assistance with starting and timing much appreciated as was Suzanne on registration and all who assisted Darren Spouse particularly Leonie who always does a great job in these situations.