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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium
Springvale Necropolis, November 19, 2002
Knevitt lands one at last
By Malcolm Sawford
After a few weeks to get to know the circuits, it was time for a riders to swap circuits; A & B Grade would race the hilly Avenue of Roses, while C, D and E Grades got a chance to try the long and technical course around the memorial lawns.
The A Grade riders didn't waste time learning the circuit, with attacks launched on the opening lap, and David 'Steggles' Sturt (SBR) and recent winner Todd Wilksch (Fitzroy Cycles) prominent. The constant climb up the back straight hadn't had much of an impact by the mid point of the race, with the field still eager and able to chase down any attacks.
A 5 man break featuring Sturt, Wilksch, Peter Gardiner and The Freedom Machine pair Sam Rix and Peter Gardiner held a 10 second lead with 20 minutes to go, but when Leigh De Luca looked like bridging the response from the bunch saw them all back together.
With 5 minutes left to race, Sturt went clear again, with local track star Warren Knevitt (O'Mara Cycles) quick to respond. An attempt from Knevitt's team mate Justin Davis to bridge was unsuccessful, and the lead pair maintained their advantage at around 10 seconds till the call of '3 to go'. With both riders pulling evenly, the wind up from the bunch after the bell was not enough to close the gap, with Knevitt rolling his breakaway companion by half a wheel on the line, earning the perennial A Grade contender his long overdue maiden win.
Tim Bennett comfortably lead the bunch in a few seconds later, while Robert Crowe (BikeNOW) just beat the newly promoted Mauro Restrepo for the final placing.
The B Grade race followed a similar pattern to the Elite race, with the early breakaway efforts quickly chased down. Bruce Will and Ken Ford held off the bunch for longest, but with 15 minutes remaining the group was intact.
Rick Jones and Cameron Hunter (ACR) jumped away just before 3 to go, and a good solo effort from Russell Collins saw him bridge after a lap chasing. After racing for the best part of an hour up the hill, the bunch seemed to lose interest in the chase, but as usual many riders did not realize that riders had gone clear and were trying to save themselves for the sprint while the winners got on with the job!
Collins was too strong at the finish, opening a gap on Hunter and Jones last time up the hill, while Scott Rush (Pro-Motion Bicycles) thought he had taken the win as he lead the bunch home for his second successive fourth placing. Lizzie Williams (Gran Prix Cycles) rode another seemingly effortless and well positioned race to take out the women's division.
C Grade picked up the pace through the tight corners on the big circuit each time round after a couple of laps to learn the new circuit. The bunch stayed pretty much intact until a clipped pedal on the final corner 15 minutes from time saw a few come to grief, fortunately without significant injury to bodies (or bikes!).
Rejoining the field after his free lap, Chris Tassell jumped away at 3 to go, and perhaps aided a little by the indecision in the bunch with some thinking he had been lapped, held a narrow lead all the way to the finish. Marcel Musco timed his sprint well to out throw David Taylor for second, with Chris Garrard close behind. Meaghan Godfrey's recent track training paid off as she sprinted in to lead the women home.
13 year old Peter Johnstone pulled off a big win in G Grade after an attacking ride. After his last solo effort was chased down, Pete still had enough leg speed left to outsprint the bunch on his restricted gears, coming in ahead of Ken Stewart, Ray Smith and John Groves. Gemma Goyne lead in a closely matched women's division, with Fleur Dean and Amy Phillips also in the hunt.
Daryl O'Grady will be ready to step up to D Grade soon after taking out the E Grade sprint from Under 13 riders Dale Reith and race mentor Tony Birkett. The addition of the Novice race is proving to be a success, with two of the staff members from the Necropolis ready to pin numbers on next week and have a go!
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 Mal Sawford
A Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 26 starters 1 Warren Knevitt (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 David Sturt (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Tim Bennett (Bendigo CC) 4 Robert Crowe (Carnegie Caulfield CC) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 28 Starters 1 Russell Collins (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Cameron Hunter (Blackburn CC) 3 Rick Jones (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Scott Rush (SKCC) Unplaced Women: Lizzie Williams (Carnegie Caulfield CC) C Grade (50 mins + 3 laps) 34 starters 1 Chris Tassell (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Marcel Musco (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 David Taylor (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Chris Garrard (St Kilda CC) Unplaced Women: Meaghan Godfrey (Carnegie Caulfield CC) D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 25 starters 1 Peter Johnstone (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 2 Ken Stewart (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Ray Smith (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 4 John Groves (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Unplaced Women: Gemma Goyne (Carnegie Caulfield CC) E Grade (35 mins + 3 laps) 6 starters 1 Daryl O'Grady (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Dale Reith (Blackburn CC) 3 Tony Birkett (Chelsea & Peninsula CC)