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By Tony Horneman
Due to passing showers and windy conditions earlier in the day, rider numbers were down at the weekly Randwick Botany Cycling Club Graded Criterium at Heffron Park, Maroubra on Saturday.
By race start time, the showers had stopped, leaving the track dry for an exciting combined A/B grade 34km handicap. The six A Graders had a 2km chase to catch the bunch of nine B grade riders. Randwick Botany rider Shaun Higgerson led A Grade for most of the race. A Grader Patrick Jones rode strongly in his first race back at Heffron after a short break from competition, but punctured at the half way mark. Higgerson, Liam Kelly and Anthony Spurgeon got within 400m of the B Grade group by the last lap. Todd Sinclair set the pace in the B grade group and broke away with 4km to go. George Papas, Chris Jenkins and Robert Cater tried to bridge the 50m gap he had established, with only Jenkins succeeding in catching Sinclair. In a well-executed sprint, Jenkins stormed past Sinclair 100m from home, to cross first in a time of 48min 0sec, Sinclair was placed second followed by Phil McKnight in third place. The first A Grader home was Liam Kelly.
Ten C Graders started in the 28km event, with some spirited breakaways by Keegan Aitchison, making the race very interesting. On the bell-lap the bunch stayed together, with Brad Lane leading the C-Grade-train into the final straight and a strong head wind. Riders took full advantage of 'drafting' behind Lane until the 200m-to-go mark, when John Droz, Tony Horneman and Tony Caruana broke free for a final dash to the line. Droz crossed first in a time of 47min 35sec closely followed by Tony Horneman who was just ahead of Tony Caruana in third place.
The fifteen rider D Grade group set a healthy pace in their 20km event averaging 34.6kph and was not lapped by C Grade. Andrew Pike rode strongly as did Jamie Guinan who finished first in a time of 35min 1sec. Second place went to Carlo Ghisolfi with Ron Sproule third.
Randwick Botany U13 rider Tayla Aitchison, mixed it with the senior riders in the E Grade 14kms race finishing second behind Julia Guinan in a time of 31min 0sec.
Randwick Botany Club President John Buckton officiated over the junior events starting with a junior A Grade 2km Time Trail. Best times went to Chris Young 3.29, Keegan Aitchison 3.37 and Andrew Young 3.48. The B Grade 2km Time Trial placings were Max Gueniev 4.03, Taylor Aitchison 4.21, Adriano Maradini 4.40. The Junior 10km Handicap was won by Nicholas Mellick followed by Max Gueniev and Adriano Maradini. The fastest was Keegan Aitchison.
Randwick Botany Cycling Club conducts club racing every Saturday at Heffron Park, Maroubra NSW. Juniors start at 1.30pm and Seniors 2.30pm. For more information please contact the club secretary Helen Vella on 02 9667 3307 or website www.randwickbotanycc.com.
A/B Grade, 34kms 1 Chris Jenkins 48.00 2 Todd Sinclair 3 Phil McKnight 1st A Grade Liam Kelly C Grade, 28kms 1 John Droz 47.35 2 Tony Horneman 3 Tony Caruana D Grade, 20kms 1 Jamie Guinan 35.01 2 Carlo Ghisolfi 3 Ron Sproule E Grade, 14kms 1 Julia Guinan 31.00 2 Tayla Aitchison
A Grade, 2km Time Trail 1 Chris Young 3.29 2 Keegan Aitchison 0.08 3 Andrew Young 0.19 B Grade, 2km Time Trial 1 Max Gueniev 4.03 2 Taylor Aitchison 0.18 3 Adriano Maradini 0.37 Junior 10km Handicap 1 Nicholas Mellick 2 Max Gueniev 3 Adriano Maradini Fastest: Keegan Aitchison
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