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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium
Glenvale Cres, Mulgrave, November 24, 2002
Clarke comes home to rainy win
By Malcolm Sawford
Despite the downgrading of the overnight weather forecast from hot and sunny, the best field this season turned out for the weekly Sunday morning races around Glenvale Crescent. Even a lengthy rain shower during the A and B Grade races wasn't enough to put a dampener on proceedings!
A Grade today was the Hilton Clarke Jnr show: in his first club race after a successful season with US Pro team Schroeder Iron, and recent stages win in both the Sun Tour and Tour of Southland, he was bound to lift racing to a new level, riding domestically under the SBR banner.
After the now traditional attack off the line from Ray Turner (Diamond Back/Park Tools) had been neutralized, the opening 15 minutes were flat out as one rider after another tried to go clear. Small groups formed off the front, but as soon as Clarke sensed any danger he was quick to move up, forcing the large bunch to lift the pace to keep him in check.
Twenty-five minutes in, Robert Boag (ACR), Karl Wood (Pro-Motion) and Andrew Ward rolled off the front and opened a gap that lulled the bunch into a false sense of security; close enough that a few hard turns would bring them back, but far enough in front (hopefully) that they would work themselves to exhaustion trying to steal the race. Unfortunately for the majority in the bunch, some of the more savvy riders decided to jump across to the leaders, and with Andrew Steele (Le Tour), Simon Clarke (BikeNOW), Dylan Newell and Clarke on board the pace of the break lifted over 50kmh and the bunch was rapidly left behind.
When the leaders lapped the field in the closing stages only 4 survived; the unrelated Clarke's, Ward and Boag. After a few efforts in the last 3 laps to soften up the others, Hilton Clarke soloed in for a good win, while Under 17 star Simon Clarke lead Ward home in the sprint for the minor placings.
The sprinters were also denied in B Grade, with 3 riders clear at the finish. Brian Bourke (Le Tour) and Peter Ballas tried to go clear early but there were plenty of fresh legs to keep the pace high in the bunch until the pair were re-caught.
The pace remained high until the wining break went clear, when it seemed, as often is the case in big bunches, that not enough riders realized a group was away and the pace dropped allowing the leaders to open up an unassailable advantage. In a tight sprint at the finish, Danny Kah took the honors, from Boon Chia and Mark Windram (Pro-Motion). After a lead out from fellow Under 17 Australian Champion Michael Ford (Gran Prix), Shane Perkins (Giramondo) had too much speed and claimed the final spot on the podium, with Women's winner Lizzie Williams not far behind.
Despite their smallest field in some time, the pace in C Grade was fierce from the outset and remained high all day, for an average speed of 39kmh. At that speed no one was likely to stay away, so a bunch finish always seemed likely for those strong enough to survive the distance.
Matt Duck lead the bunch home, from David Taylor, Jack Dovaston and Craig Hawke, with Meaghan Godfrey in the money again as first woman.
Ken Stewart earned promotion to C Grade after taking out the D Grade bunch finish, capping off a successful few weeks after his comeback to racing. Michael King and Michael Boyce sprinted into second and third, while Gemma Goyne impressed with her outright fourth finish also earning her the Women's honors.
Carnegie Caulfield Criteriums continue at Glenvale Crescent on Sunday mornings, with racing also held every Tuesday night at the Springvale Necropolis circuit, with the Police Road gate (Melways Map 80 G6) opens at 6pm for race starts for all grades at 6.30. 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. For first time competitors, Tokyo Olympian Mick Hollingworth conducts racing clinics in E Grade.
A Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 42 starters 1 Hilton Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Andrew Ward (Coburg CC) 4 Robert Boag (Carnegie Caulfield CC) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 40 starters 1 Danny Kah (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Boon Chia (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Mark Windram (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Shane Perkins (Carnegie Caulfield CC) C Grade (50 mins + 3 laps) 22 starters 1 Matt Duck (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 David Taylor (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Justin Dovaston (Noble Park - Dandenong CC) 4 Craig Hawke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women: Meaghan Godfrey (Carnegie Caulfield CC) D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 30 starters 1 Ken Stewart (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Michael King (Blackburn CC) 3 Michael Boyce (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Gemma Goyne (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women: Gemma Goyne (Carnegie Caulfield CC) E Grade (35 mins + 3 laps) 1 Darren Graham (Noble Park - Dandenong CC) 2 Jason Rushen (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Grant Bowker-Bell (Carnegie Caulfield CC)