Results and Reports for March 23-24, 2002

Australia

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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium

AFL Park, Mulgrave, March 26, 2002

The end

By Malcolm Sawford

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Riders on the storm
Photo: © Justin Britt
 

That's all folks! Darkness descends early at AFL Park in the last race before the bulldozers move in.

Perhaps fittingly, Melbourne turned on the sort of weather most cyclists have come to expect at Waverley for the final race at AFL Park. Commonly known as Arctic Park during its former heyday as the premier football stadium of the VFL, the biting winds and ever-present black clouds were on hand tonight to ensure that the last 5 winners around the 2.5km circuit would really earn their victories.

 
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Tell all the people
Photo: © Justin Britt

Despite a cold, wet and windy day throughout most of Melbourne, nearly 150 riders fronted for one last chance to race on the historic circuit. Their commitment was rewarded by the rain holding off for the duration, and all racing was conducted on dry roads, with only the early (and very rapid) onset of dusk any cause for concern.

D Grade often rides at less than full pace to allow new riders and the younger juniors the chance to hone their bunch riding and bike handling skills. Some of the more experienced riders have even been known to ease off in the final sprint to allow one of the gear restricted kids to sneak into prize money contention but not tonight!

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Runnin' blue
Photo: © Justin Britt
 

The pace was on in the first couple of laps, thinning the bunch out a little, and some of the junior riders were doing more than their fair share of the damage! Under 17 Victorian Track Champion Tess Downing and 11 year old Peter Johnstone were swapping turns with Rob Davis, Peter Cavalieros and Greg Buckingham, and the bunch was strung out in single file most of the way.

Approaching the line, Tony Gill monstered a huge gear clear of the pack, and had enough left to hold off a late challenge from young Pete and Davis, with Tess Downing sprinting well to claim outright 4th, with Melissa Sandford the next best of the girls.

Ivan Collings, one of the founders of racing at this venue, made every effort to go out a winner in C Grade attacking often and forcing his way clear of the bunch. With the ever improving Sally Robbins and Russell Collins for company, the bunch was soon 15 seconds behind. The windy conditions took their toll out front, but Ike wouldn't give in, hanging off the front for another lap after the other 2 had returned to the shelter of the bunch.

 
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Easy ride
Photo: © Justin Britt

Again, the full field swarmed to the line, with Russell Collins holding off Ben Willey, Daniel Young and David Pearce in a tight finish and clean sweep for the host club. Sally Robbins held good position in the dash to the line to claim the C Grade Women's prize after a very attacking race.

As usual, B Grade was the biggest field, with strongmen like Bruce Will, Grant Jamieson, Jamie Goddard, Danny Weatherley and Jason Wakelin doing their best to blow the bunch to bits early on. The boys from The Freedom Machine were out in force, but when Josh Rix (TFM) bridged to the early break of Will and Wakelin, it was time for things to be brought back together.

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Break on through
Photo: © Justin Britt
 

Daryl Annells, who had finished a close and unlucky 2nd in the SKCC 'Scapin' summer series, had a couple of goes off the front midway through he race, but was unable to entice anyone to help him make a go of it, and as the daylight faded rapidly, the braver riders (with good night vision!) prepared for dash to the line.

The win went to a blast from the past, David Moreland, with Chris 'the Snake' Salisbury (BikeNOW) taking second from Under 17 star Simon Clarke and Steve 'should be riding A Grade' Martin (Le Tour Cycles). Miyoko Karami (ACR) was the only lady to mix it at this level for the grand finale and as usual rode well in the big bunch.

 
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Waiting for the sun
Photo: © Justin Britt

Sugar Ray Turner (Repco/Diamond Back/Park Tools) rolled out the fancy carbon wheels tonight in honor of the special occasion, and after 15 minutes of the Robert Tighello-less bunch sizing each other up, went on the attack, with much encouragement from Barcelona Olympian Robert Crowe taking snapshots from the sidelines.

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Soft parade
Photo: © Justin Britt
 

Three laps later, the choice of the mainly white Park Tools jersey proved costly for Turner, as it shone like a beacon in the twilight, goading the bunch into chasing him down. The 30 minute mark saw Ryan Kelly and Doug Garley (Terry Hammond Cycles) try their luck with Garron Buckland, Gary Trowell and Brendan Rowbotham (Fitzroy Cycles). The efforts of Blackburn riders Guy Green and Richard England to bridge dragged the field back up, only for Green, England and Turner to go on with it and go clear themselves.

Warren Knevitt (O'Mara Cycles), who hadn't done much to this point, and Rowbotham easily jumped across the gap, and the 5 were still clear when near total darkness saw the judges call 3 to go 10 minutes early. Somehow, the field had regrouped next time past the finish, and Cameron Streistermanis ignored pre race instructions from the judges not to do anything which might result in them having to spell his name, and had a handy gap at the bell.

 
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Do it
Photo: © Justin Britt

The final result at AFL Park came down to a bunch sprint, taken out by an excited Andrew Steele (Le Tour Cycles), half a wheel ahead of Rowbotham, with Richard Knight, Matt Jackson, Daniel Nelms and Gary Trowell filling out the places. Steele, who made a comeback the sport around a year ago, has had to carry his big frame over a lot of hills in his efforts to find form, and had been secretly hoping to go out with a bang tonight.

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Summer's almost gone
Photo: © Justin Britt
 

18 years of racing at AFL Park wrapped up with pitch darkness, a BBQ and thanks to Bob Greenwood and Jack McGowan for running the racing and manning the gate over the past few years, with appreciation also for Lorraine Collings, Barry Price, John O'Sullivan and Milky Answerth for their efforts over previous years.

Carnegie Caulfield Criteriums continue on Sunday mornings until April 21 (including Easter Sunday!), at 9am on the Glenvale Crescent circuit.

Results

A Grade - 45 mins + 3laps - 21 starters
 
1 Andrew Steele (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2 Brendan Rowbotham (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Richard Knight (Blackburn CC)
4 Matt Jackson (Footscray CC)
5 Daniel Nelms (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
6 Gary Trowell (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
 
B Grade - 45 mins + 2 laps - 55 Starters
 
1 David Moreland (Bendigo CC)
2 Chris Salisbury (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Simon Clarke (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
4 Steve Martin (Blackburn CC)
 
Women: Miyoko Karami (Japan)
 
C Grade - 45ins + 3 laps - 42 starters
 
1 Russell Collins (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2 Ben Willey (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Daniel Young (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
4 David Pearce (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
 
Women: Sally Robbins (Broadford-Seymour CC)
 
D Grade - 40ins + 3 laps - 24 starters
 
1 Tony Gill (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2 Peter Johnstone (Chelsea & Peninsula CC)
3 Rob Davis (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
4 Tess Downing (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
 
Women: Melissa Sandford (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)
 
E Grade - 40 mins + 3 laps
 
1 Dale Reith (Blackburn CC)
2 Tim Sonelli (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC 
 

Australian results from the past week

      

Complete Australian results for 2002