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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium
Sandown Raceway, February 18, 2003
Super-junior Finning hammers A Grade
By Mal Sawford
The Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club's Tuesday night racing moved across the highway to the carparks of Sandown Raceway, after three and a half months based at the Springvale Necropolis. An unexpected and passionate media blitz and a small minority of the community opposed to the use of the grounds for recreational purposes left the club with no option but to relocate on very short notice for the final six weeks of daylight savings.
With no access available to the car racing circuit at Sandown, two 1.4km circuits were laid out in the access roads and carparks. 'Hot dog' circuits aren't everyone's cup of tea, but it was this or nothing! 140 riders turned out, resulting in good racing across all grades.
Winner of Thursday night's 50km Points Score track classic, 17 old Castlemaine rider Sean Finning thrives on tough circuits, and found the course very much to his liking. Riding from the front of the A Grade field, he set a pace that had the unfortunates at the back of the bunch in trouble early, and saw a number of early retirements.
Finning forced his way clear three times, prompting frantic chases from the bunch twice, before finally breaking the tethers with Barcelona Olympian Robert Crowe midway through the race. The leading pair combined well, while behind four chasers did their best to close the gap; Finning's VIS team mate Jonny Clarke (SBR), Rob Wilson (BikeNOW) and Swiss pair Ralph Zimmermann and Oliver Mattmann. Wilson eventually lost contact with the chasers at the 3 laps to go mark and dropped back to the bunch.
Out front, Finning and Crowe fought out a two up sprint, with the more experienced Crowe forced to lead out. Finning judged his effort well to take the win by half a wheel, while behind them the Swiss pair had tagged teamed Clarke, with 'Zimmi' soloing in for third ahead of his team mate and Clarke. Wilson salvaged the final prize, taking out the bunch sprint for sixth.
B Grade also saw a small group of drivers take control of the race, with five going clear early on. Veterans Bruce Will and Denis Bowen-Day were joined by Danny Weatherley, Peter Ballas and Tony McGarrigle, putting the bunch out of contention for the win. McGarrigle found the pace too hot, leaving the other four to fight out the finish, where Weatherley produced a powerful sprint to come over the top of Bowen-Day to cap off a good ride. Former club secretary Ballas snatched third from Will, while in the bunch the interest turned to the women competitors.
Australian Criterium Champion, wearing her National Champion's jersey for the first time had looked comfortable in the bunch, but as the race wore on tired legs from her morning VO2 test saw her leave the battle for the win to fresher riders, with Katrina Purcell taking the honors ahead of Swiss star Priska Doppmann.
A bunch sprint decided the outcome of C Grade, despite a number of attacks throughout the race. Wayne Howard and Michael Bloomfield both tried to shake off the field, but on a windy night found the going alone too tough. Bruce Trew jumped away at the bell, but was quickly chased down by the bunch, setting things up for the all in sprint. The slightly down hill dash to the line saw Ryan Robinson take a narrow win ahead of Ben Noyes, with Simon Prentice's third place enough to lift him to B Grade next week. Matt Young took the final podium place, with Cheryl Hickman the only woman to survive the full distance.
Few of the D Grade riders had raced a hot dog circuit before, but after a 10 minute neutralized introduction, took to the challenge without any difficulties. Chris Beales made a number of attempts to leave the faster finishers behind, but in the end the sprinters ruled, with a C Grade bound Andrew Stewart taking the win by a couple of lengths from Bryan Stewart, Ian Nolan and Matt Sherwin. Gemma Goyne stole the women's division with a late charge to pass Eliza Beasley on the line.
Criterium racing continues Tuesday nights until the end of March, with entry via the Sandown Road gate (Melways Map 80 B10) open at 5.30pm for race starts for all grades at 6.30. Criteriums are also held on Sunday mornings at Glenvale Crescent (Melways Map 80 B2) with a 9am start time for C, D and E grades and 10am for A and B Grades.
All holders of current Cycling Australia licenses are welcome (don't forget to bring your license or receipt!) at all Carnegie Caulfield races, and non-members can have a go by taking out a three-race license for $33, deductible from your full membership if you decide to continue racing.
Images by Mal Sawford
A Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 33 starters 1 Sean Finning (Castlemaine CC) 2 Robert Crowe (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Ralph Zimmermann (Switzerland) 4 Oliver Mattmann (Switzerland) 5 Jonny Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 6 Robert Wilson (Footscray CC) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 25 starters 1 Danny Weatherley (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Denis Bowen-Day (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Peter Ballas (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Bruce Will (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women 1 Katrina Purcell (Northcote CC) 2 Priska Doppmann (Switzerland) C Grade (50 mins + 3 laps) 35 starters 1 Ryan Robinson (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Ben Noyes (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 3 Simon Prentice (Blackburn CC) 4 Matt Young (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women 1 Cheryl Hickman (Carnegie Caulfield CC) D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 34 starters 1 Andrew Stewart (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 2 Bryan Stewart (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Ian Nolan (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 4 Matthew Sherwin (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women 1 Gemma Goyne (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Eliza Beasley (St Kilda CC) E Grade (40 mins + 3 laps) 12 starters 1 Richard Plum (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Matthew Wright (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Jason Rushen (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Dale Reith (Carnegie Caulfield CC)