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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium
Springvale Necropolis, December 3, 2002
Clarke & Tighello take one-two
By Mal Sawford
Warm weather and clear skies brought a record field to the Necropolis, with just short of 150 riders competing across the 5 grades.
Tonight was the first visit for Robert Tighello (ACR) and Hilton Clarke (SBR),the undisputed heavyweight champs of the revered AFL Park circuit, to the new circuits within the world's fifth largest cemetery. Once the A grade race got under way on the Memorial Lawns circuit, the pair wasted no time getting up to speed, and riders began to lose contact around the tight corners before the end of the first lap.
Despite the best efforts of the quality field, a gap opened at the front, with recent winner Leigh De Luca the only rider strong enough to work with the rampaging pair. Junior Worlds Road and Track star Jonny Clark (VIS) almost closed the gap, but with the trio lapping the 2.5km circuit in 3 minutes the task was too much.
De Luca lasted 40 minutes with the leaders before the effort got too much, and the pair rode on the finish unchallenged. In something of a disappointment for the crowd, Tighello made no real effort to outsprint the race winner, which reversed the result from their last outing at Glenvale Crescent.
The battle for third was much closer, with Warren Knevitt (O'Mara) and Guy Green (Le Tour) opening a gap one lap from home, but getting pipped at the post by Simon Walker (Bicycle Superstore) and Matt Jackson (ACR), with Knevitt holding on for the final prize cheque.
A more evenly matched B Grade saw the majority of riders in contention until just past the half way mark, when 8 riders opened a slender advantage. With strong riders like Russell Newnham, Glen Hutchinson, Danny Kah and Ken Ford driving the break, it was clearly the move to be in, although the presence of the fast finishing Aaron Salisbury might have seen some of the riders hold a little in reserve.
A determined chase lead by Dennis Bowen-Day (Gran Prix) and Bruce Will saw four riders close the gap at 3 laps to go, and the small group remained intact to fight out the finish. The recently promoted Matt Duck lead out the sprint, and held off all except the cagey Hutchinson, who will now become the oldest guy going around in A Grade! Scott Rush (Pro-Motion) continued a run of placings by taking third ahead of Newnham.
Despite the biggest field on the day, C Grade rode sedately for the duration, content to make sure no one escaped the security of the bunch. The resulting bunch finish was won easily by Cam Wise, with his second win on the trot earning him promotion to B Grade. Veteran sprinters Marcel Musco and Kim Marshall took the next 2 places with Marcus Prentice getting up for fourth.
In the hotly contested Women's division of C Grade, Cheryl Hickman (Bicycle Superstore) took out the win ahead of Catherine Allen (Giramondo).
A bunch sprint also decided the D Grade race, with Sandy Williamson jumping early and holding a substantial lead out of the final corner on the short Avenue of Roses finishing straight. He eased off a little prematurely, and almost had the win stolen by Bob Johnston with a late charge to the line. Ray Smith and Dean Gray rounded out the podium, while Gemma Goyne and Eliza Beasley lead home the women's division.
Ian Nolan took a first up win in E Grade, riding clear of the novice group in the final 3 laps, proving himself well and truly ready for a move to the fully competitive D Grade next week. Marcus De Fina outsprinted Gerry Egbers and Matt Flaherty for the minor placings.
Racing continues every Tuesday night on the circuit, with the Police Road gate (Melways Map 80 G6) opens at 6pm for race starts for all grades at 6.30. Sunday morning races are held at Glenvale Crescent, Mulgrave (Melways Map 80 B2). All holders of current 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 three-race license for $39, deductible from your full membership if you decide to continue racing. Our thanks go to the Trustees of the Necropolis for making the fabulous facility available to Melbourne's racing community.
A Grade (1 hour+ 3 laps) 39 starters 1 Hilton Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Robert Tighello (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Simon Walker (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Matt Jackson (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 5 Warren Knevitt (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 6 Matt Chessum (Carnegie Caulfield CC) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 28 Starters 1 Glen Hutchinson (Footscray CC) 2 Matt Duck (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Scott Rush (SKCC) 4 Russell Newnham (Carnegie Caulfield CC) C Grade (50 mins + 3 laps) 44 starters, 9 women 1 Cameron Wise (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Marcel Musco (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Kim Marshall (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Marcus Prentice (Blackburn CC) Unplaced Women 1 Cheryl Hickman (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Catherine Allen (Blackburn CC) D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 25 starters, 4 women 1 Sandy Williamson (Footscray CC) 2 Bob Johnston (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Ray Smith (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 4 Dean Gray (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Unplaced Women 1 Gemma Goyne (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Eliza Beasley (SKCC) E Grade (40 mins + 3 laps) 12 starters 1 Ian Nolan (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 2 Marcus De Fina (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Gerry Egbers (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Matt Flaherty (Carnegie Caulfield CC)