Back to business as usual at Sandown tonight after last week’s washout. The strong northerly wind which had dominated the day eased slightly as racing got underway, but was still blowing hard enough to make for a high speed run along the main straight. Speeds were high enough that 11 cogs were in heavy use, and more than a few riders looked to be wishing for a 10 cog!
A handy group spent most of the A Grade race well out in front of the main bunch. Driven by strongmen including Michael Gallagher (Jayco VIS), Alan Iacuone (Rapha), Murray Spink (Giant) and Gary Trowell to a 20 second lead, the 12 rider move looked to home and hosed until a frantic final lift in tempo from the big chasing group saw the margin steadily eroded over three laps, with the final catch made a lap and half from home.
The Jayco VIS and Croydon Cycleworks lead out trains were well positioned approaching the final turns, but noted fastmen Rico Rogers (Invert Building) and Shannon Johnson (Charter Mason Drapac) surfed the trains well and emerged from the swarm side by side 100 metres from home. Johnson, who was having his first serious hit out after badly breaking his collar bone in the Tour of the Murray, was half a wheel in front at that point, and dug deep to maintain his narrow advantage all the way to the line. Jayco VIS pair Jack Cummings and Luke Parker were a further length behind while cousins Brent and Daniel Nelson (Croydon Cycleworks) took the final two places.
B Grade had the biggest bunch of the night, and made it tough for breaks to gain much distance. The last of the attempts was reeled in with four laps to travel, setting up a gutter to gutter bunch sprint. Lachie Davidson (Artisan Cycles) fresh off his D Grade win at the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic, took the honours in a close one. Next best were Jeremy Cameron (African Wildlife Safaris), Shane Barr, youngster Lachlan Holliday (Quick Cycle) and the not so young Glenn Hutchinson. Samantha de Ritter (Giant) took the women’s sprint ahead of Ruby Greig-Hurtig (Melbourne Designer Floors) and Sarah Riley (Liv Giant).
A long range attack by Alex Nazarewics (O’Mara Cycles) and Michael Stinger (Cycle House) paid off in C Grade, with the pair building a lead approaching 30 seconds. The belated chase when the final two laps were signalled saw the bunch get within 10 seconds at the summit of the final climb, but Naz smashed it all the way to the line to leave the chasers frustrated.
Young Stringer had little trouble in taking the two up sprint ahead of his inexperienced companion, while John Vrom led the bunch hone ahead of Daniel Reid and Josh Sek, Mel Hunter was untroubled with the pace of the big bunch and will be ready for B Grade in no time.
The D Grade bunch sprint proved to be an all junior affair, with Kyle Muir holding off a determined challenge from Jet Turner for the win. Kallum Parlevliet held of Liam Jeffries and David Currie for third, while Alison West once again had the fastest sprint to take the women’s win ahead of Nonie Carr and Amber Saunders.
Photos to follow
|A Grade||66 riders|
|B Grade||69 riders|
|Women’s B Grade||3 riders|
|C Grade||59 riders|
|Women’s C Grade||1 riders|
|D Grade||46 riders|
|Women’s D Grade||7 riders|
|E Grade||2 riders|
|F Grade||15 riders|