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By Malcolm Sawford
Another miserable Sunday morning, with constant light rain, and the attraction of a warm day in front of the telly watching the Australian Grand Prix saw the majority of riders decide to stay warm, and leave the racing to the truly committed. Still, there were enough brave soles to run all 4 grades, albeit with the A and B riders racing together, and the same for C and D.
As usual, the C and D Grade races were held first, with light rain still falling. Contrary to instructions to keep things together for the early part of the race, young Rob Doyle couldn't hold himself back and was on the attack after only 7 minutes, with Rick Jones the only rider strong enough to follow. The pair extended their lead every lap until Doyle turned the screws on his companion and rode to a solo win.
Nathan Wise led the bunch home from Cam Winn, with Renee Heinrich just out of the placings. David Meffert was the best of the D grade riders in the bunch, taking the win over Richard Cormick and Kirsty Bortolin.
The rain had eased in the latter part of the early race, and a few glimpses of sunshine through the clouds saw the circuit largely dry by the start of the Elite races. Within minutes after the start the roads were dry, leaving a few spectators wishing they had got their bikes out of the car after all!
The action kicked off approaching the 30 minute mark, with Rob Young (SBR) jumping away with Ben Nicholls from Albury and Sean Richardson. Andrew Steele (Le Tour Cycles) and Aston Duncan were in pursuit, with Matt Goold (ACR) making a big effort to bridge across also.
By the 40 minute mark, a lead group of 5 was established: Goold, Young and Nicholls from A Grade, and Richardson (The Freedom Machine) and Danny Kah from B. The main pack had also split, with 7 riders working well to try and peg back the leaders.
With 15 minutes remaining, Young tried to clear alone. His unsuccessful effort robbed the break of momentum, and allowed the 7 chasers to latch on, before a solo effort from mountain biker Chris Winn saw him away from 4 laps and build up a handy lead. Goold did the job to bring him back, only to have Young jump away shortly after the recapture.
Goold jumped the pack and set off after the leader with 2 laps to go, but came up short, with both riders lapping the tail end of the field on their last lap. Andrew Steele lead the rest of the break home to take 3rd place in A Grade, with Danny Kah just outsprinting Richardson for the B Grade win, ahead of Chris D'Amelio and Aston Duncan.
A Grade - 1 hour + 3 laps - 6 starters 1 Robert Young (SKCC) 2 Matt Goold (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Andrew Steele (Blackburn CC) 4 Nick Gibson (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) B Grade - 1 hour + 3 laps - 17 starters 1 Danny Kah (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Sean Richardson (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Chris D'Amelio (Bairnsdale & Riviera CC) 4 Aston Duncan (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) C Grade - 45 mins + 3 laps - 11 starters 1 Rob Doyle (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Rick Jones (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Nathan Wise (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Cam Winn (Dirt Riders CC) D Grade - 45 mins + 3 laps - 6 starters 1 David Meffert (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Richard Cormick (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Kristy Bortolin (Blackburn CC)
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