Not often you get a little ol' club race covered by a national TV network but that happened yesterday, watch here!
In an amazing course within the Tour Down Under circuit in Peace Park over 100 riders enjoyed a new venue with lush grass and an evil ditch which formed the main feature, and a fair proportion hung around to watch the final stage of the TDU from a prime spot in the Port Adelaide CC Tent (those that didn't hung around spent the afternoon watching our antics on the telly)
We had a good group of kids tackle a shortened circuit including the double set of wide barriers first up, with only one last-minute scratching due to a pre-race nerves (OK, tantrum!).
In Open only a minute separated the top seven riders, but the main game was on between Jack Allison and Kain 'Rageman' Gardner who were within seconds of each other for six laps. Allison bested Rageman on the last lap to take the win, with Jeff Wheeler scraping in for third. Special mention to Sam England who was the freak racing in the all-green suit.
C-Grade men was one of the best races of the day to watch with the top three inseparable but all looking too tired for any quality in-race heckling. Brian Franson just ahead of the sprint for second between Ben Hughes and Gus Kingston, with Gus seemingly happy to get outsprinted to finish in third (he'd obviously been working on his 'euro I didn't win' non-victory salute, hamming it up for the many cameras). Young Oliver Wilson won the battle for the junior prize, just outlasting James Brooks in his first proper race.
The B-grade Men's race had another massive field with several usual A-Graders sneaking down a grade. Nick Anderson and Kristian Didyk featured early only to suffer mishaps ruining their chances of a win. Tom Cree rode a flawless race reeling out steady 5-minute laps to take the win ahead of Bradley Ward and Chris Leung.
A-Grade Women had a strong field with local guns Terri Rhodes, Jackie Schapel and Sarah Holmes nailing the first lap to almost instantly create a gap of 30sec over the rest of the field. Schapel and Rhodes worked together till mid race, with 20secs over Holmes. Rhodes looked the fresher of the pair and started to pull away for what should have been a Team Giant 1-2, until disaster struck both riders in the last lap, both burping tubeless tyres in the ditch and having to ride with a rear flat (Rhodes) and a front flat (Schapel). Sarah Holmes took full advantage and reeled in both riders to hit the lead coming into the final spiral-of-death to take the win, with Gemma Kernich lucky to catch a disappointed Schapel in the same place to scrape through for third.
The Men's A-Grade race had a few late interstate entries rolling up to keep the local lads honest. Again the course and equipment played a big part in the outcome, as speedster Cameron Bayly who was expected to finish on the placings didn't complete a lap, rolling his second tubular of the day (the first came off in practice) in the ditch which continued to claim both bikes and bodies. Josh 'Crasher' Smith and Jerry van de Pol also suffered flats and retired early leaving the top 10 placings wide open. Bayly's teammate Neil van der Ploeg (Team Mount Beauty) and Leigh DeLuca (Carnegie Caulfield CC) set the early pace, with the South Aussies Jade Lean, Shaun Lewis, Mark Chadwick and James Hanus trading places for third. As the race went on local favourite Lean worked his way back to the front and hit the lead with four laps remaining to the delight of the crowd, with Hanus, Chadwick, Lewis and van de Ploeg all within 10 seconds of the lead, Tom Chapman chasing hard a further 6" back and Ryan Johnson and Kris Meyland almost a minute off the pace. The imposing figure of van de Ploeg had a little too much power on the grass forf Lean, gaining a few seconds a lap to finish a mere 10" ahead of Lean, with Lewis another 16" back scraping in for third ahead of the very last finishing DeLuca who set the quickest lap of the day to overhaul Hanus just before the line.
Massive thanks to FOCUS BIKES for sponsoring the event, Neil Ross and Mark Chadwick for course design, Chris Mack for getting the club trailer in to the circuit by 6:30am and the crew who turned up to set-up and have the course fully taped by 8:30am for practice. Commissaire for Focus Ozzy Cross was Will Lyons, assisted with timing and results by Paula Hollamby and Tania Franson.
Event 1: Little Crossers
Event 2: Open (non-CX) and C-Grade. Race Animation
Event 3: CX A-Women, CX-B Men. Race Animation
Event 4: CX-A Men. Race Animation