Day 2 - January 3: Barwon Heads. Start 12.30pm, finish 3.30pm
By Karen Forman in Barwon Heads
West Australian rider Brodie Cullen indelibly carved his name on the 1.1km Barwon Heads circuit to win both intermediate sprints AND the B-grade event in the second round of the 2002 Skilled Geelong Bay Classic today.
Cullen, who goes into the third round of the classic at Geelong Friday night wearing the distinctive green sprint ace jersey (with six points), will be a major contender for the yellow leader's jersey if he continues in his current form.
With 12 points, he is third in the leader's point score behind NSW rider Cody Stevenson (20) and stage one winner Ben Jackson of Victoria (19). But he has plenty of top notch competition and will need to watch his back.
The B-graders set a sizzling pace from the starter's gun, completing the first lap in 1'49. A breakaway of six riders including series leader Jackson and Stevenson showed the large crowd of spectators who gathered on the main street of the picturesque bayside holiday village that they meant business.
Such was the hunger for victory among the riders that the early breakaway was reeled in by the end of the second lap by a bunch headed up by Tasmanian Ric Steele, New South Welshman Robert Young and Victorian Heath Jackson. At seven and a half minutes, Steele was attacking as a solo artist and was able to stay out there despite the hardest efforts of the chasing bunch.
When joined by Victorian Simon Ross, the pair started swapping turns off the front, but with two laps before the first intermediate sprint, Steele was alone again, with a 20 metre gap on the chasing bunch. They reeled him in, in time for the sprint, led out by Richard Vollebregt from New South Wales but the pace on the bell lap was electrifying.
At first it looked as thought it might go to Queenslander Daniel Newnham, but West Australian Institute of Sport rider Cullen challenged him in the straight and took the points with an impressive swoop down the outside.
Even then there was no relenting on the pace. Vollebregt, South Australian Dave Cheers and Steele took control at the front, fending off a strong attack from Ben Smith on the outside.
James Hannan took off a lap before the second intermediate sprint but Cullen and Murray were again too good and made it one-two with Stevenson third. Still with energy to spare, Steele and Luke Dale from New South Wales got away and held their distance for one lap, reeled in by a bunch led by Robert Young.
All minds were on that final sprint. Sanderson led the bunch with three laps to go. Sanderson was up there with two to go. And at the bell, it was Bradley Dean Edmunds, who, hands in the air, thought the race was finished and he had won.
It was an unfortunate error that cost him valuable places. In the charge to the line, it was Cullen, sprint champ leading Stevenson home by half a wheel.
In deference to his hard work throughout the event, Steele was given the commissaires' most combative award.
Stevenson goes into the third day of competition - at Geelong on Friday - wearing the yellow jersey.
1 Brodie Cullen 2 Cody Stevenson 3 Chris Pearce 4 Ben Jackson 5 Alex James 6 A Tully 7 Jame Hannam 8 Daniel Newhham 9 Bradley Bullock 10 Dane Cheers Sprints Sprint 1 1 Brodie Cullen 2 Daniel Newnham 3 Nicholas Sanderson Sprint 2 1 Brodie McCullen 2 Geordan Murray 3 Cody Stevenson Overall standings after race 2 1 Cody Stevenson (20) 2 Ben Jackson (19) 3 Brodie Cullen (12) 4 Daniel Newnham (11) 5 Chris Pascoe (8) 5 Stef Van Zunder (8) 6 James Hannan (7) 6 Bradley Edmunds (7) 6 Dane Cheers (7) 10 Alex James (6) 11 A Tully (4) 12 Leight De Luca (2) 12 Bradley Bullock (2) 14 Robert Young (1) Sprint Ace 1 Brodie Cullen (6) 2 Ben Jackson (5) 2 Cody Stevenson (5) 4 Geordan Murray (4) 5 Nicholas Sanderson (2) 6 Chris Pascoe (1)