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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium
Springvale Necropolis, November 26, 2002
Another one for Wilksch despite the damp
By Malcolm Sawford
The weather gods finally caught up with the Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club: after two weeks when rain had detoured around the Necropolis, constant drizzle after heavy rains all day kept the roads wet making racing a nervous and slippery proposition. Still, 60 intrepid cyclists couldn't be dissuaded from testing their wet weather skills, so while many stayed away or watched from the sidelines, racing continued.
The tight and technical corners proved as slippery as expected, but after none too subtle warnings from race officials about the risks, all bunches handled the conditions with surprising ease. A few decided discretion was the better part of valor and dropped off their bunches, but the majority completed racing, albeit wet and filthy from the spray off wheels!
A and B Grade rode as a combined field on the Avenue of Roses circuit, with the first attack coming from B Grade rider James Giannakakais (Le Tour) 20 minutes in. His short lived effort lifted the pace of the bunch, which then stayed together until only 5 minutes remained, when Dean Johnstone (Pro-Motion) and B Grade's Andrew Smith (ACR) opened a gap of 50 meters and held it till the 3 laps to go board was displayed.
Next time past the finish, Ray Turner (Diamond Back) and two previous winners Warren Knevitt (O'Mara) and Todd Wilksch (Fitzroy Cycles) had jumped across the gap, but the pace was on in the bunch as the Le Tour boys tried to close things down for their fast finisher Andrew Steele.
A last lap effort from Turner was unsuccessful, and Wilksch powered out of the last corner to lead the bunch home, from Steele and Knevitt. The B Grade win went to Smith, still fresh enough after his late efforts to hold off Tony Mason and Gaetano Abbate.
Matt Duck was the standout rider in C Grade, often forcing the pace, and was rewarded with the win, opening a small gap on the final lap to take the win and earn promotion to B Grade after a run of recent placings. Craig Hedington sprinted into second place ahead of Richard Cormick and Paul Natoli.
D Grade had the night's biggest field, and handled the slippery conditions well. As expected, the field were content to stay together for most of the race, so a sprint finish always looked likely, and Nick Taplin proved the fastest on the night, ahead of Dean Gray, Dion Warburton and Baw Baw Classic race promoter Chris Beales.
Ray Smith looked after the novice E Grade field, with the 'home town' win going to Chris Hewitt, the first of the Necropolis employees to pull on a racing number, ahead of colleague Marcus De Fina and Under 13 rider Dale Reith.
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.
Images by Malcolm Sawford
A Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 7 starters 1 Todd Wilksch (Horsham CC) 2 Andrew Steele (Blackburn CC) 3 Warren Knevitt (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Ray Turner (Footscray CC) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 15 Starters 1 Andrew Smith (Blackburn CC) 2 Tony Mason (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Gaetano Abbate (SKCC) 4 Bryan Walsh (Carnegie Caulfield CC) C Grade (50 mins + 3 laps) 13 starters 1 Matt Duck (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Craig Hedington (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Richard Cormick (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Paul Natoli (Dirt Riders CC) Unplaced Women: Debra McCoy (Carnegie Caulfield CC) D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 20 starters 1 Nick Taplin (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Dean Gray (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Dion Warburton (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Chris Beales (Dirt Riders CC) Unplaced Women: Apryl Eppinger (Carnegie Caulfield CC) E Grade (35 mins + 3 laps) 5 starters 1 Chris Hewitt (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Marcus De Fina (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Dale Reith (Blackburn CC)