Results and Reports for January 5-6, 2002


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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium

AFL Park, Mulgrave, January 8, 2002

A good turn out for the resumption of racing at the windswept AFL Park circuit. A race had been planned for New Year's Day, but Melbourne's late summer saw torrential rain a week ago frighten off all but seven C and D Grade competitors. The intrepid seven decided they couldn't get any wetter and raced together, with 15 year old Rob Doyle taking the wet track honours. Not much warmer today, with a strong southerly wind and overcast skies, but at least the rain stayed away!

A Grade promised to be a tough race, with many of the starters fresh from the Bay Series or eager to show why they should have been selected. The early attack came from City Cycles proprietor Peter Barnett and Luke Bell (SBR), the pair battling the windy conditions until the 25 minute mark. Doug Garley and James Hannah had left the bunch in pursuit and were stuck in no mans land until Ray Turner (Repco/Diamond Back/Park Tools), Thaddeus Roos (Bicycle Superstore) and James Taylor (ACR) lifted the pace in the bunch and brought things back together.

Barnett had another go soon after the capture but was quickly chased down by Tom Leaper (Pro Motion), and Barnett retired from the race, exhausted. Things stayed together for a while until Warren Knevitt (O'Mara Cycles) started another flurry of attacks, going off the front twice in the closing laps, but Leaper, seemingly fully recovered after a coming together with a car had kept him out of the Bay Series, seemed determined to keep things together till the end.

In the wind assisted sprint, it was Leigh De Luca who flew home first, arms aloft, ahead of Knevitt, Matt Gould (ACR) and Taylor in a very close finish.

Windy days tend to give break aways more chance of success in B Grade; with the long circuit and exposed stretches preventing riders getting much shelter in the bunch. For this reason, the stronger riders usually force the pace hoping to get away, or at least blow the bunch to bits. The attacks went from the gun, with Martin Bole the first to open a lead. After a lap on his own he was joined by Mike Clucas (SBR), Brett Morton and Mal Sawford and this group would stay clear until the 15 minute mark.

Many riders made brief efforts off the front in the middle stages of the race, with Grant (Bricky) Matthews, David Sturt and Garron Buckland prominent. The husband and wife team of David and Anna Millward (Saturn) combined well on Anna's return to racing after minor surgery had kept her out of the Skilled Geelong Bay Series, with one or the other following every move.

The winning move went clear at the 40 minute mark, with Bruce Will, Buckland, Clucas and Sawford going clear into the headwind at the back of the circuit. Recognizing the danger. Anna Millward and Morton chased across a few laps later, and when Geoff Whiter and Russell Newman got on after another few laps it was all over for the main bunch.

The eight riders worked well until the three to go call, when a few turns started to be missed. Millward launched an attack on the hardest part of the circuit, on the uphill rise into the head wind a lap and half out, and no one could hold her wheel. Morton set off in solo pursuit, while the remains of the break tried to get organized to peg them back. Strong turns from Will saw Geoff Whiter and Russell Newman catch the front pair before the final corner, where Newman, following his training program mapped out by the recent ACF Coaching Graduate Millward, took out a good win, ahead of mentor Millward, Morton And Whiter.

Continuing the theme of early attacks, four riders left the C Grade bunch at the ten minute mark, and were never recaptured. Justin Foster, Rob Doyle, Ross Edwards and Bryn Coutts combined well to battle the wind for the remainder of the race, eventually crossing the line in that order.

Rick Jones let out an 'excited utterance' as he won the bunch sprint for fifth moments later, another victim of the 'no one told me there were guys away!' curse. Cheryl Hickman continued her good run taking the unplaced Women's prize yet again, but let the girls down somewhat by not figuring in the outright placings, unlike the results for B and D Grades!

D Grade also finished in bunch sprint, with a little over half the field still in contention. The pace had lifted as C Grade has passed the bunch, and not all riders were able to maintain the extra speed. Apryl Eppinger earned promotion to C Grade with a good sprint two lengths clear of the rest, lead home by S Duncan, Richard Cormick and Seam Bourke.


A Grade (one hour + three laps)
1 Leigh De Luca (Noble Park Dandenong CC)
2 Warren Knevitt (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Matt Gould (Blackburn CC)
4 James Taylor (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
B Grade (55 minutes + three laps)
1 Russell Newman (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2 Anna Millward (Saturn / VIS)
3 Brett Morton (Blackburn CC)
4 Geoff Whiter (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
C Grade (50 minutes + three laps)
1. Justin Foster (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2. Rob Doyle (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3. Ross Edwards (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
4. Bryn Coutts (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
First unplaced Women: Cheryl Hickman (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
D Grade (50 minutes + three laps)
1 Apryl Eppinger (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2 S Duncan (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Richard Cormick (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
4 Sean Bourke (Blackburn CC)

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