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Carnegie Caulfield CC
Sandown Raceway, March 4, 2003
Crowe scores tactical win in A Grade
By Mal Sawford
Small fields again in A and B Grade as the autumn weather settles in, but the cooler conditions have brought an unexpected bonus. Sandown management will make the race course available for use for the remainder of the month provided the horse track doesn't dry out. Course watering has been required on a Tuesday night, making the car track unavailable up to now.
Ten minutes into the A Grade race, four riders moved clear. Sean 'Shrek' Finning (VIS), who had finished 1st and 2nd in the first two races was joined by Simon Clarke (BikeNOW), Ray Turner (Repco/Diamond Back) and the unlucky rider from last week Ashley Hayat (The Freedom Machine). Within a lap of the 1.4km hot dog circuit, the leaders were 10 seconds clear, and only Barcelona Olympian Robert Crowe (BikeNOW) had the power to cross the gap, to make a 5 rider lead group.
The bunch kept up the chase, and limited the advantage to 20 seconds, but was unable to recapture the leaders. Out front, Finning forced the pace and made a number of efforts to go solo, but Hayat, who had been worked over in the break the previous week, was quick to respond each time. Turner jumped away at 4 laps to go, but was reeled in the following lap.
Team tactics came into play, with Crowe attacking down the back straight, and young Clarke dutifully blocking. Crowey's lead was 7 seconds at 2 to go, and 12 seconds at the bell as the chasers sat up and worried about the sprint for second. Crowe took the win, with Clarke good enough to take the sprint for a 1-2 BikeNOW finish! Turner was a close third ahead of Finning, while Hayat was once again unrewarded after a strong effort.
The B Grade race stayed intact for much of the race, aside from a good mid race solo effort from Chris Tassell. The lanky youngster held an advantage of less than 5 seconds for most of the second half of the race, but was chased down at 3 laps to go.
The sprint finish was well won by Peter Ballas, who is knocking on the A Grade door, from the cagey veteran Chris 'Snake' Salisbury. Paul Kennedy took third place ahead of visiting Californian engineering student Brendan O'Brien.
Brendan Leihy dominated C Grade in the early stages, featuring in 2 breakaway efforts with Kim Marshall and John Tassell. The bunch wasn't prepared to concede, and chased down both moves, setting up a bunch sprint. Under 17 rider Alex Smyth lead out the down hill sprint, and despite his restricted gear held on to take out a good win from Andrew Stewart, Ben Phillips and Bruce Trew.
Chris Beales finally got a win on the board in D Grade, attacking with 20 minutes remaining and riding clear with John Archer and Andrew Knowles. Bryan Stewart set off in pursuit, and caught and passed Knowles who wasn't able to maintain Beales' pace, but could not close the gap to the two leaders.
Beales shook off Archer down the home straight to win comfortably, while the bunch lead home by Bob Beattie got within meters of Stewart in the dash to the line but had to settle for fourth place. In a tight to determine the Women's division, Eliza Beasley was too quick for regular winner Gemma Goyne.
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.
A Grade (1 hour+ 3 laps) 14 starters 1 Robert Crowe (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Ray Turner (Footscray CC) 4 Sean Finning (Castlemaine CC) 5 Ashley Hayat (St Kilda CC) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 13 starters 1 Peter Ballas (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Chris Salisbury (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Paul Kennedy (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Brendan O'Brien (St Kilda CC) C Grade (50 mins + 3 laps) 18 starters 1 Alex Smyth (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Andrew Stewart (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 3 Ben Phillips (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Bruce Trew (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 29 starters 1 Chris Beales (Dirt Riders CC) 2 John Archer (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Bryan Stewart (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Bob Beattie (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women 1 Eliza Beasley (St Kilda CC) E Grade (40 mins + 3 laps) 1 Matt Flaherty (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Dale Reith (Blackburn CC) 3 Kevin Drazchushas (Chelsea & Peninsula CC)