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Sandown Raceway, February 24, 2004

Watson wins bunch kick after windy attack-fest

By Mal Sawford

Just under 200 riders this week for the regular twilight races around the tough Sandown Raceway circuit. A strong wind blew from the south, making the long main straight seem even longer, but the hill up the back straight much more manageable!

Battling the strong headwind down the main straight proved too tough for any of the riders who tried to escape the bunch in A Grade. Of course, that didn’t stop many from trying, with Hilton Clarke (SBR) prominent as always. Simon Walker (Victorian State Home Loans) is better known as a sprinter, but made a number of efforts to split the field, as did Michael Tolhurst (Team Carnegie Caulfield).

In the end, a rare bunch sprint determined the placings. Cam Lester took the win, from Hugh Watson (Pro-Motion Bicycles) who is suddenly proving a handy sprinter and Clarke, in his last local race before heading for Belgium and Team Down Under. Jamie Goddard (Le Tour Cycles), Anthony Di Battista (Pro-Motion) and Anthony Smith (Gran Prix) claimed the minor places.

B Grade once again had a huge field, and former rower Travis Johnston started the race aggressively, stringing out the bunch into the headwind. Although the bunch was able to reel him in and negate any other attacks, his strength allowed him to pull away from the group in the final lap to take the win in only his third race.

Second went to Team Alex Series leader Simon Lancaster (BikeNOW), a young rider who continues to impress, having worked his way from the Novice race to the front end of B Grade in his first season of racing. Chris Lee (SBR) claimed third, ahead of Boon Chia (Team Alex) and Darren Cathie. Priska Doppmann and Bettina Kuhn (Univega) went one-two in the Women’s division, in their final hit out before the Geelong World Cup, after passing up riding the Geelong Women’s Tour in favour of local club racing against the men.

The multitude of painted lines on a car racing circuit proved too confusing for many of the C Grade bunch, with most riders sprinting too early at the wrong line! Ryan Robinson ‘won’ the first sprint 200 meters from the judges (waiting at the same finish line that is used every week!) but realized his error after Tony McGarrigle jumped past focused on the correct line.

Robinson found enough to fire up his motor again, and snatched the win on the line, ahead of Chris Garrard, Simon Shaw and a tiring McGarrigle. Trackie Catherine Allen (Giramondo) was the quickest of the Women, taking that win ahead of Nicky Matthews (Bicycle Superstore) and Gemma Goyne (BikeNOW).

Adrian Ballantyne claimed a first up win in D Grade, leading the sprint home ahead of juniors Will Livesay, Andrew Rolland (SBR) and Nick Garcia. Andrea Bishop repeated her efforts from Sunday, claiming the win in the Women’s Division.

Matt Jensen returned to racing after his recent surgery, but was unable to prevent Simon Lancaster (138) from extending his lead now in the $7000 Team Alex Criterium Series. Jensen and Walker are locked in second place on 121 points, ahead of Ferne Walklate (107) and A Grade leader Warren Knevitt on 103.

All riders are reminded that there will be no racing at Sandown next Tuesday, the circuit will be off limits as the Formala 1 Grand Prix Celebrity Race drivers undergo their final training. Tuesday night racing will resume in two weeks on March 9th.

Carnegie Caulfield Criteriums continue at 9am every Sunday at Glenvale Crescent (Melways map 80B2). Twilight races are held on Tuesday evenings at Sandown racecourse, on the car racing circuit, with all grades starting at 6.30pm. Entry is via Sandown Rd, from 5.30pm.

All holders of 2004 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 day license for $20. For first time competitors and the younger juniors, Tokyo Olympian Mick Hollingsworth conducts racing clinics in E Grade. For further details, including information and standings for the Team Alex series, check out


A Grade, 1 hour + 3 laps, 35 starters
1 Cam Lester (St Kilda)
2 Hugh Watson (Carnegie Caulfield)
3 Hilton Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield)
4 Jamie Goddard (Blackburn)
5 Anthony Di Battista (Blackburn)
6 Anthony Smith (Carnegie Caulfield)
B Grade, 1 hour + 2 laps, 66 starters
1 Travis Johnston (Carnegie Caulfield)
2 Simon Lancaster (Carnegie Caulfield)
3 Boon Chia (Carnegie Caulfield)
4 Chris Lee (St Kilda)
5 Darren Cathie (Carnegie Caulfield)
1 Priska Doppmann (Switzerland)
2 Bettina Kuhn (Switzerland)
3 Cheryl Walker (Carnegie Caulfield)
C Grade, 50 minutes + 2 laps, 48 starters
1 Ryan Robinson (Carnegie Caulfield)
2 Chris Garrard (St Kilda)
3 Simon Shaw (Carnegie Caulfield)
4 Tony McGarrigle (Noble Park-Dandenong)
1 Catherine Allen (Carnegie Caulfield)
2 Nicky Mathews (Carnegie Caulfield)
3 Gemma Goyne (Carnegie Caulfield)
D Grade, 45 minutes + 2 laps, 38 starters
1 Adrian Ballantyne (Mornington)
2 Will Livesay (Carnegie Caulfield)
3 Andrew Rolland (Blackburn)
4 Nick Garcia (Carnegie Caulfield)
1 Andrea Bishop (Carnegie Caulfield)

Local results 2004