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Carnegie Caulfield CC
Glenvale Crescent, Mulgrave, April 13, 2003
By Mal Sawford
As the season wraps up, an overcast morning and the threat of rain still saw entries nudge the 100 mark at the penultimate Glenvale Crescent race for the Summer. The season finale is in two weeks, after a break next week for the regional Series Decider at Studley Park Boulevarde on Easter Sunday.
The A Grade race saw a strong break escape the field early on, and with all the big hitters in the move there was little the bunch could do but watch the gap open. The top two place getters at the State Pursuit Championships, Robert Wilson (BikeNOW) and Chris Carr (SBR) had the hammer down, with former Australian road Champion Robert Tighello (ACR), Australian Under 21 team member Jonathan Clarke (SBR), David Tanner (VIS), Simon Clarke (BikeNOW) and Davis Slaton (Bikeland) making up the rest of the select group.
The group worked well, and remained intact until the 40 minute mark, when they closed in on the tail of the main bunch. Big Rob Wilson jumped clear, with only Jonny Clarke quick enough to respond, and the pair quickly opened a significant advantage. Salton was briefly dropped from the chasers, but continued to plug away, rejoining shortly before the race end.
The remaining four riders conceded the top two places, and launched a series of attacks to try to sew up the third placing, with first Simon Clarke towing Tighello clear, before Tanner made a strong but unsuccessful solo effort. The leading pair continued to extend their advantage, and were well clear at 3 laps to go. Tanner and Simon Clarke slipped the chase group to battle out the third place finish, while non sprinter Carr jumped away to solo in behind them.
Wilson continued to power along at the head of affairs, lapping the tail end of the break and opening a small advantage over Jonny Clarke, which he maintained all the way to the line. In the battle for third, Simon Clarke held off Tanner in a tight sprint, with Carr, soon to join the Giant Asia team, salvaging the fifth place prize money.
A late break threatened to upset the sprinters in B Grade, with Boon Chia and Ben Edwards escaping at the 45 minute mark. When strong Vet Glen Hutchinson (Salter Cycles) bridged, the odds looked even better. Unfortunately for the escapees, their break saw them draw level with the A Grade pack, and the race had to be extended by a few laps for the two bunches to untangle, and the trio was unable to maintain their advantage over the hard chasing bunch.
Geoff Salter (Salter Cycles) jumped away with two laps remaining, and was still six seconds clear at the bell with the bunch closing in fast. Hutchinson led out the sprint from the last corner, and was strong enough to hold off a late charge from two members of Carnegie Caulfield's Masters Teams Pursuit State Champion team. Peter Ballas took second , with Paralympic Gold Medallist Peter Homann (VIS) third, while Kel McCulloch rounded out the podium. Kirsty Bortolin (the Freedom Machine) survived a close call from the passing A Grade bunch midway through the race to record another win in the Women's division.
Michael Kilkenny spent the opening laps off the front of C Grade, before a long mid race escape from Cam Rotter. Despite vocal encouragement from the sidelines, Rotter's efforts weren't enough to hold off the chase led by Richmond Cyclery's Nick and Chris Taplin, and the field was intact for the final laps. Trevor Smith (Hankook Tyres) took his first win for twenty years with a good sprint to hold off the Taplin brothers, with Nick taking second place. Mick Kilkenny claimed the final place, while Melissa Sandford led the Women home.
Blackburn's Carl Brewer out-sprinted the D Grade bunch to take the win after a lively race saw a number of early retirements. Under 13 rider Pat Lane (Kennedy Cycle Fit) rode well to survive, but was well and truly under geared for the dash to the line! Terry Stewart took second ahead of John Groves, while Melissa Nicholls sprinted into an outright fourth and first lady double.
Next Sunday, racing is the Regional Crit Series Finale with $1000 series prize money up for grabs at Studley Park Boulevard, Kew, hosted by the Hawthorn Cycling Club. Carnegie Caulfield Criteriums conclude on Sunday April 27th at Glenvale Crescent. All holders of 2003 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. For first time competitors, Tokyo Olympian Mick Hollingworth conducts racing clinics in E Grade.
Images by Mal Sawford
A Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 29 starters 1 Robert Wilson (Footscray CC) 2 Jonny Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 David Tanner (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 5 Chris Carr (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 6 David Salton (Warragul CC) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 33 starters 1 Glen Hutchinson (Footscray CC) 2 Peter Ballas (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Peter Homann (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Kel McCulloch (St Kilda CC) Women 1 Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn CC) C Grade (50 minutes + 3 laps) 20 starters 1 Trevor Smith (St Kilda CC) 2 Nick Taplin (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Chris Taplin (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Michael Kilkenny (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) Women 1 Melissa Sandford (Carnegie Caulfield CC) D Grade (50 minutes + 3 laps) 13 starters 1 Carl Brewer (Blackburn CC) 2 Terry Stewart (Coburg CC) 3 John Groves (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Melissa Nicholls (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women 1 Melissa Nicholls (Carnegie Caulfield CC) E Grade (45 minutes + 3 laps) 1 Jeff Wilson (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Paul Welsh (Carnegie Caulfield CC)