Results and Reports for January 19-20, 2002


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St Kilda CC Criterium

Port Melbourne, January 20, 2002

St Kilda Cycling Club Feels the Heat

By Andrei Zaitzev

Sweltering conditions and hard racing across all grades again typified proceedings at St Kilda Cycling Club's Port Melbourne Criterium circuit. In spite of the unpredictable wind conditions and 38 degree temperatures, spectators witnessed numerous attacks, high speed racing and a nasty fall featuring club president Rene Buman. We have it on good authority that Rene is enjoying a recovery as swift as his noted finishing bursts and wish him all the best.

C and D grades kicked off proceedings and featured the largest fields assembled for some time. Racing in D grade was tight and all attempts at breaks were thwarted by the watchful peleton. The race culminated in an all-out sprint with Michael Roberts taking the honours from Isaac Gutman and Glen Pearsall. The only female competitor in D grade (Ellen De Vries) worked tirelessly at the head of the bunch and raised a number of eyebrows with her first ever race.

The C grade race was also a tightly contested affair. In a finale similar to that seen in the D grade event, the result came down to a close bunch sprint with Dave Roberts crossing the finish line first ahead of Mel Humphreys-Grey and Oliver Sceales. Alex Reihner (having recently made the step up from D grade) joined Kim Banks in the race as the only females and both acquitted themselves well in spite of the high pace and unpleasant conditions.

In B grade, racing was characterised by a cautious beginning and a blistering finish. The bunch began to splinter at the 35 minute mark following repeated attacks and counter-attacks that saw Tasmanian 'trackie' Paul Atkinson break clear. He went on to win comfortably in a solo display of strength - we'll see if Paul can repeat his effort when he joins the A grade race in two weeks! Russel Wallace snuck away from the rest of the bunch to take second with Peter Neville claiming an impressive third place in a bunch sprint.

The Port Melbourne criterium circuit has seen a growing rivalry develop amongst the A grade riders. Competitors sporting club sponsors' colours and members of a number of local clubs have increasingly banded together to ensure that they are able to drive one of their team to victory. This has resulted in highly exciting racing with numerous coordinated attacks occurring all the way to the finish. Racing on the day was no different and the pattern of events was quickly established by a joint attack on the first lap by Daniel Nelms and Bryan Wilkin. The early break was reeled in after four laps by a combined effort from SKCC members John Madden and Jay Bessell. Shortly thereafter, a hush fell over the gallery of spectators at the finish line as Rene Buman unfortunately hit the deck after assisting in the chase of the two escapees. Rene withdrew from the race and will no doubt be taking to a less drastic leg-shaving technique in the future.

The continued attacking (notably by the likes of Nelms and Chris Burke) that followed, together with the soaring temperatures, finally took their toll on competitors and the race appeared destined to conclude in a wild bunch sprint. Wilkin sensed the complacency of the bunch and seized the moment with 4 laps to go through an all or nothing attack that saw him escape from the bunch with Andy Van Slobbe. The two shared the workload to fend off the chasing pack (led by Bessell) for a gutsy finish that was taken out by the in-form Wilkin for his first A grade win of the season ahead of the tiring Van Slobbe. Bessell rounded out the top three.

Congratulations to all competitors on the day and stay tuned for some exciting future developments from the SKCC race team.


A Grade 
1 Bryan Wilkin
2 Andy Van Slobbe
3 Jay Bessell
B Grade
1 Paul Atkinson
2 Russell Wallace
3 Peter Neville
C Grade
1 Dave Roberts
2 Mel Humphreys-Grey
3 Oliver Sceales
D Grade
1 Michael Roberts
2 Isaac Gutman
3 Glen Pearsal 

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