Back at the spiritual home of Mulch Hill, but exploring the park further snaking over to some new tennis courts the course was fast and grippy with a nice covering of spring grass for FOCUS Crossfire Cup R4. Again nearly 100 riders were there to test themselves against each other and the course.
The Little Crossers as usual were first riders off for a rapidfire two laps of a modified course. We don't usually produce results for the smallest kids but given some of the amazing sprint finishes, including a dead heat for second between Oliver P and Oliver S, you can see the kids results here.
In Open it was a mix of old and new faces. A tactical battle opened up at the head of the field with Jeff Wheeler and Daniel Ham making a break over a bunch of Nick Pannel, Sam England and Simon Chapman. Wheeler outsprinted Ham for the win, while behind Chapman faded leaving England and Pannel to battle for third. Pannel held off England. The womens Open race contained PACC's Annabel Cox (current leader of the Masters Road Rider series) on a borrowed MTB she found in someone's shed (complete with mudguards and rust), Michelle Crick in her first race of any description and seasoned campaigner junior rider Tessa Manning. Cox got off to a very slowish start (not knowing how to change gears) but got into the stride of it quickly opening up a good lead. Crick and Manning were glued together for the first lap, but Crick put in a super quick second lap to gap Manning. Manning might have been saving her legs as she had entered C-Grade which was the next event so for the womens Open it was Cox, Crick, Manning.
Again a bumper field lined up for C-Grade, bolstered with Olympic Champion Anna Meares lining up for her maiden CX race. Unfortunately C-Grade's start was marred with a starting straight pile-up which resulted in a broken wrist for experienced racer Julia Massey. Kudos to the riders who gave up their race to help and spectators who assisted at the crash while the ambulance was called.
Meares and Crayford made their move on the first lap, gapping Robert Rau after he crashed while Robert Cannon and Gus Kingston kept them in sight. Crayford made the big mistake not clearing out on the seond lap and he was never going to beat Meares in a sprint... Anna Meares crossing the line first overall to claim 1st woman, Sam Crayford 1st man, Rau second man Cannon third. The race for second woman was decided in a sprint, Kate Berry pipping Manning and Kara Turner not far behind. Apologies for missing Kate in the presentations yesterday. Meares, Crayford and Rau earned a promotion to B-Grade with lap times too quick for C-.
B-grade mens was a little more open after several riders were promoted to A-Grade after the last race. Adam Tarzia who DNF'ed while leading the previous race steadily worked his way though the field to claim a comfortable victory and a promotion to A-Grade. Hadyn McLoughlon enjoyed his first CX race, glued to junior Zack Gilmore for 4 of the 5 laps as they battled for second place. Hadyn put in a blistering last lap to gap Gilmore to claim 2nd, Gilmore 3rd.
In the A-Grade womens Australian MTB star Terri Rhodes had obviously been practicing on her Focus CX bike churning out the fastest and most consistent laps of all, with her lap times not varying by more than 4secs. She gapped Jackie Schapel early who was in turn just holding off an improving Carla Franson. Carly Light had an uncharacteristically slow start and was the only rider to come close to Rhodes' lap times, albeit in her last lap as she tried to catch Franson at the finish. Margaret Shanafield and Sarah Allen had a time-out in their battle for 5th, stopping for the ambulance on course with Shanafield outsprinting Allan on the long bitumen straight.
In the Mens A-Grade it was as usual a blistering start from dynamo Chris Luxton, taking Jerry van de Pol, Mark Chadwick, Neil Ross, Ben Hogarth, Kyle Franson and Cameron Bayly away to a small break while Jade Lean decided to ride from the very back of the field and film his move through to the front. Despite giving away about 20secs in this artistic endeavour Lean did made his way back to the front to join Bayly and Luxton by early in Lap 2. Bayly was too good earning a breakthrough win over the in-form Lean with Luxton finishing a further 30secs behind. Hogarth outpaced Chadwick in the final lap to settle the minor placings.
Event 1: Little Crossers Race Animation
Event 2: Open. Race Animation
Event 3: CX Women, CX-B Men, Combined C-, (note separate tabs and wave start) Race Animation
Event 4: CX-A Men. Race Animation