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Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club

St Kilda Festival Criteriums pres. by HLP/Ridewiser, Melbourne, February 13, 2005

By Mal Sawford

David McKenzie (HLP/Ridewiser)
Photo ©: Chris Truskett
Click for larger image

The third annual running of the St Kilda Festival Criteriums was another successful partnership between Carnegie Caulfield and Marcel Lema's Breakaway Events. New to the mix this year was title sponsor HLP/Ridewiser Group, who not only put up the cash to cover the costs of staging the spectacular, but also dominated the main race with their emerging domestic team, taking the win and placing three riders in the top six.

Held on an extremely tight 800 metre hot dog circuit on St Kilda's renowned Fitzroy St café strip, riders at the back of the field in any grade are usually in trouble very early, and it is common for more than half the field to suffer the ignominy of being lapped. Naturally, those lucky (or astute) enough to get a start at the front of the grid show no compassion for the unfortunates down the back, and can be counted on the hammer off the start line! So far, the race has attracted impressive fields, with Simon Gerrans winning the inaugural event in 2003, while former Australian Champion Robert Tighello rode away with the title last year. With five riders in the Elite field, the HLP team was always going to be tough to beat: joining Captain Robert Crowe and regulars Andy Naylor, Aaron Salisbury and Stuart Hill was former Giro d'Italia stage winner David Mackenzie. Mackenzie rode with the team at last month's Jayco Bay Classic and is riding this season for the Indonesian Wismilak Continental team, recently completing the Tour de Langkawi.

How it unfolded

Robert Crowe (HLP/Ridewiser) made a strong attack
Photo ©: Chris Truskett
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Naylor was the first to force the pace, and opened a handy lead while his teammates massed at the front of the bunch. His escape was short lived, prompting a counter attack from Simon Clarke (VIS) and Darren Lapthorne (Lloyd Morgan) nine minutes in. The escape proved the only move of the day that HLP weren't represented in, forcing the green and blue train into action, and Clarke and Lapthorne were neutralised at the fifteen minute mark.

In text book fashion Mackenzie countered, but found Clarke glued to his wheel. The accelerations caused havoc in the bunch, as rider after rider blew off the back. Only the strongest local riders were left in contention, including the entire HLP team save Hill, 2003 Australian Road Champion Chris Bradford (Wismilak), and two from the O'Mara Cycles team in Mark Howard and Justin Davis. Tommy Nankervis (Fitzroy Cycles), a six-time winner in Carnegie Caulfield CC races this season, was caught in no man's land, and hovered ten seconds off the back for the duration, but refused to give in. Naylor jumped again just before the twenty minute mark, but couldn't break free, so Macca went again, and quickly pulled ten seconds clear. Riding powerfully, Mackenzie seemed to have little trouble maintaining his lead, as first Clarke, and then Bradford attempted to bridge alone. Bradford came desperately close to joining the leader, before he pushed too hard into the top corner and came to grief. After rejoining the race in the main bunch, Bradford immediately powered away again, but wasn't able to find the same speed as he had showed before his crash.

Davis, who had never looked comfortable on the tight circuit and consistently lost ground at the turns, suddenly found some extra strength, and fought his way to the front, almost single-handedly ending Mackenzie's long escape. Macca's move ended at the 40 minute mark after Lapthorne blasted off Davis' wheel and jumped across to the leader. Naylor was ready, and followed Lapthorne across to his team mate. Clarke bridged too, but despite having two in the four man break, the HLP squad wasn't happy with the mix and pulled the race back together. The final ten minutes saw a flurry of attacks, with a fresh looking Salisbury hitting out along with Bradford.

Mitchell Docker (Drapac/Porsche) in the early stages
Photo ©: Chris Truskett
Click for larger image

Davis chased everything though, and whenever the bunch reformed, threw in an attack of his own for good measure! At the fifty minute mark, Mackenzie launched again, with Clarke for company. Clarke wouldn't work, and the bunch reformed for the last time, before big Crowey turned on the after burners just before the start of the final three laps. Davis was the only one with the strength to follow, but found it tough to hold the wheel. The HLP boys shut down the chase, and there was no catching the Barcelona Olympian, who had plenty of time to salute the huge crowd as he savoured his win. Davis hung on to claim second, with Salisbury well positioned on the wheel of Mackenzie as the bunch raced down the back straight. Despite a near perfect lead out, and the short finishing straight, Clarke upset the applecart with a blistering sprint to snatch third.

Women's Race

An exciting Women's race produced a worthy winner in Emma Rickards (VIS). Rickards has shown great form so far this summer, helping team mate Jenny Macpherson to a stage win in the Bay Classic and the overall win in the Tour Down Under Crit series. With Macpherson riding the Aussie Track Nationals, Rickards was free to ride for herself, and was the rider to beat.

Emma Rickards (VIS)
Photo ©: Mal Sawford
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The other women certainly didn't hand the win to her, however. Briana James (BikeNOW), Kirsty Bortolin (The Freedom Machine) and Christine Foster (Richmond Cyclery) all attacked numerous times, but couldn't shake the favourite. The constant attacking helped thin out the bunch, with only eight riders in the front group at the half way mark. Joining Rickards, James, Bortolin and Foster were Under 17 Australian Champion Lisa Friend (Bianchi), Phillipa Read, Emma Coulson and Gemma Goyne (BikeNOW). A lull in the attacks saw four more bridge after a long chase, with leading Victorian triathlete Vanessa Hentschel (CBD Cycles) towing Angela Wade, Mary Rogers and Andrea Bishop back into contention.

Both Foster and Coulson attacked in the closing stages, but the twelve leaders were still together when the final three laps were signalled. Coulson drove the group for almost the entire distance, before Bortolin, a noted sprinter, jumped around her before the final turn. Bortolin led out of the final corner, with Rickards on her wheel, but couldn't prevent the inspired VIS rider from coming past in the final metres to claim her big win. Rounding out the podium was the ever impressive Friend, from James.

Support Races

B Grade

Pete Johnstone, the young winner of B Grade
Photo ©: Mal Sawford
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Peter Johnstone (O'Mara Cycles), reigning Australian Under 15 Criterium Champion, will become perhaps the youngest A Grade competitor ever at CCCC races after taking out the B Grade race in Fitzroy Street. After an attacking first fifteen minutes which saw Dave Eadie (BikeNOW), Jason Theobald (O'Mara) and Dale Woonton all make unsuccessful solo bids, the big move of the race was launched by Trevor Hutchings at the twenty minute mark.

Nick Walker (CBD) and Simon Shaw (Nepean Cycles) bridged up, and the trio built a lead of twelve seconds approaching half distance. Even when Shaw had to sit out a couple of laps are breaking a chain and finding a bike to borrow, there was no sign of the bunch closing in. With Walker storming, Hutchings cracked shortly after the thirty minute mark, and returned to the bunch. Shaw was soon struggling as well, so Walker left him, and continued to pull away from the chasers. Disaster struck with only five minutes to go: seemingly headed for an impressive win, Walker fell on one of the tight corners. Although he was quickly back on his machine, the impact had thrown his gears out of whack, and unable to fix them, he was forced to withdraw.

With Walker's shock exit, the bunch was suddenly sprinting for the win. Chris Boone (Fitzroy) led out of the final corner, but couldn't prevent Johnstone, the world's fastest fourteen year old, sprinting clear. Woonton followed home in second, ahead of Campbell Elliott, with the video showing Theobald had got hid tyre in front of Boone for fourth.

C Grade

The C Grade race followed a similar pattern to the B Grade event. Early aggressors Bob Kelly, Cam Woolcock (ABOC Cycle Coaching) and V8 Supercar driver Cameron McConville (SBR) lit things up early on, but things regrouped around the twenty minute mark. Former kick boxer Steven Pilson (Fitzroy) powered away, and held off the chase until the closing stages. Pilson tried again when he saw the three to go board displayed, but couldn't get a gap and the lead group of ten sprinted for the win. Kelly held front position, and kicked hard into the straight, but as he closed in on the line, Curtis Yirildrim flew home, and the win was too close to call by eye. The video verdict went Kelly's way, with Tom Gallagher (Inexa - Team Alex) third, and Pilson a gallant fourth.

D Grade

Another early aggressor came away with the win in D Grade. The first escape came form Ian Parr, and when he was caught Jonathan Claydon (Monash University) took over. Claydon was eventually reeled in, but continued to set the pace for the bunch. David Paton (Millenium Cycles) tried a late attack, but Claydon kept the bunch in touch, sprinting to a good win ahead of two ABOC Coaching clients; Simon Meagher and Andrew Cullen (CBD Cycles).

Inexa - Team Alex Series

With double points up for grabs in the $7000 Summer Series, the leader board saw a bit of a re-shuffle. Aaron Salisbury jumped into the lead, just ahead of Michael Thomas, Wayne Andrew and Tommy Nankervis. Pete Johnstone rocketed into overall contention courtesy of his win and promotion bonus, and Rob Crowe is now well and truly back in contention. Women's leader Andrea Bishop maintained her lead over Louisa Judd and is still in touch with the outright leaders.

Carnegie Caulfield Criteriums continue every Tuesday night with Twilight Racing at Sandown starting at 6.30pm for all grades, with access to the circuit via Sandown Road from 6pm. Sunday mornings are at Glenvale Crescent (Melways map 80B2). C, D and E Grades start at 9am, while A and B Grade ride at 10am. All holders of 2005 Cycling Australia licenses are welcome (don't forget to bring your license or receipt!) and non-members can have a go by taking out a day license for $20.. For first time competitors and the younger juniors, Tokyo Olympian Mick Hollingsworth conducts novice racing clinics at Glenvale Crescent. For further details, including full standings in the Inexa Series, go to


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mal Sawford

Images by Chris Truskett


Elite 1 hour, 31 Starters                  
1 Robert Crowe (Carnegie Caulfield)        
2 Justin Davis (Carnegie Caulfield)        
3 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield)        
4 Aaron Salisbury (Carnegie Caulfield)     
5 Mitchell Docker (Brunswick)              
6 David Mackenzie (Italo Australian)       
Women 40 minutes, 17 Starters              
1 Emma Rickards (Carnegie Caulfield)       
2 Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn)              
3 Lisa Friend (Carnegie Caulfield)         
4 Briana James (St Kilda)                  
B Grade 50 minutes, 52 Starters            
1 Peter Johnstone (Chelsea & Peninsula)    
2 Dale Woonton (Carnegie Caulfield)        
3 Campbell Elliott (St Kilda)              
4 Jason Theobald (Carnegie Caulfield)      
5 Chris Boone (Carnegie Caulfield)         
C Grade 45 minutes, 46 Starters            
1 Bob Kelly (Carnegie Caulfield)           
2 Curtis Yirildrim (Blackburn)             
3 Tom Gallagher (Carnegie Caulfield)       
4 Steve Pilson (Coburg)                    
D Grade 40 minutes, 25 Starters            
1 Jonathan Claydon (Carnegie Caulfield)    
2 Simon Meagher (St Kilda)                 
3 Andrew Cullen (Blackburn)                
4 Jordan Griffiths (Carnegie Caulfield)    

Local results 2004