There was no sign of the forecast showers at Glenvale Crescent this morning, with near perfect conditions for racing. Despite the lure of the Australian Mountain Climbing Championships at Mt Buffalo to tempt the juniors, there were great numbers across the board.
The benign conditions played into the sprinters hands, with only A Grade seeing success for a break, but with close to 20 riders in the winning move, even that finish was dominated by specialist sprinters.
Drapac-Porsche had all three riders in the front group, with Floris Goesingen, Will Walker and Stu Grimsey, but the unknown quantity was visiting Polish Omnium specialist Rafal Ratajcyzk (CCC Polkowice) who showed little sign of stress crossing the growing gap to the lead group. Goesingen went solo as the race end neared, but was neutralised, only for Grimsey to counter attack at two to go.
Ratajcyzk set off in pursuit at the bell and made contact, but by the final turn the pair had the rest of the group hot on their heels. The Pole led out the dash and was right in the mix until Malaysian fast man Harif Saleh (TSG Racing Team) lit his after burners and rocket home for a clear win. Nick Walker (Search2Retain) also pipped Ratajcyzk in the throw for the line, while the minor places went to Will Walker, Murray Spink (Giant) and Alex Smyth (Plan B Racing).
Tom Quirk (O’Mara Cycles) almost upset the sprinter’s plans in B Grade with a late move. Initially away with two other riders, young Quirk hung tough as his companions faltered and rode an impressive time trial before finally succumbing inside two laps to go. Stefan Imberger (Mainline Cycles) led the bunch up with a host of fancied fast men in tow.
Chris Boone was the first to open up the sprint, but had to settle for fifth as Jack Hickey (Avanti Plus) stormed past to take a convincing win. Following in his wake were James Gray (Giant), Dennis Toce and Rob Koroknai, while David Koroknai (CCCC Elite/Bikes de Ver) just missed the podium for the second time.
After a string of near misses, Lucas Sproson (Hampton Bicycles) finally came through for the win in C Grade and will get his chance back in B Grade next week. Sproson won the bunch sprint handily from James Wang, Echuca’s Ben Oman and Troy Thomson, while Mel Hunter recorded a good win in a tightly contested women’s field ahead of Ballarat’s Shantelle Maurer and Nina Greig-Towers (CCCC Elite/Bikes de Ver).
First time racer Brad Kester showed plenty of potential with a win on debut in D Grade, with all four place getters making their first podium appearances. Next best was Lachlan Stevens ahead of Tony Court and Michael Stefani, while Carolyn Fraser just held off Austrian paracyclist Annina Schillig and Emma Weir in a very tight women’s finish.
CCCC takes a break from racing over the Easter weekend, but returns to Glenvale Crescent on Sunday April 15. The Novice Clinic kicks off the morning at 8.30am, followed by the B and D Grade races at 9am. Finishing the program are the A and C Grade races which start at 10.15.
Thanks to Mike Eaddie for shots from this morning’s racing. His full gallery can be seen at https://picasaweb.google.com/103110114927998248117/Glenvale_1_4_12?authuser=0&feat=directlink
Thanks also to Stan Imosa, working with the Polish track team, for his photos today.
|Glenvale Crescent Crits|
|Sunday, April 1|
|A Grade||60 mins + 3 laps||49 starters|
|B Grade||1 hour + 3 laps||43 starters|
|C Grade||50 mins + 3 laps||56 starters|
|D Grade||45 mins + 3 laps||35 starters|
|E Grade||30 mins||13 starters|