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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium

Sandown Raceway, March 18, 2003

Pearson takes sprint after windy race

By Mal Sawford

The A Grade break
Photo: © Mal Sawford
Click for larger image

With the grand opening of the new horse racing track out of the way, Sandown Raceway management allowed access to the testing 3.3km car racing circuit for the final two weeks of Carnegie Caulfield's twilight series. With the temperature still over 30 degrees, and a hot northerly blowing, the circuit proved tough, with the headwind making the long climb up the back straight seem longer and steeper, while the wide open main straight saw riders reach speeds of 70kmh with the tail wind behind them!

Barcelona Olympian Robert Crowe (BikeNOW) was seen as the main danger in A Grade, and when he joined team mate Aaron Salisbury and Under 19 rider Nathan Wise in an early move, the bunch was quick to respond, closing the gap on the climb at the first opportunity. Crowe remained very closely marked for the remainder of the race.

The front of the bunch was the place to be, with any small gaps in the field quickly magnified by the gale blowing down the main straight, and a succession of riders made efforts to string out the bunch each time past the finish line. Anthony Di Battista (ACR), Simon Clarke (BikeNOW) and Matt Jackson (ACR) all had a go, but the lone riders quickly lost any advantage once they turned back into the wind.

As daylight faded, a super high speed bunch sprint seemed likely, until a strong counter attack at 2 laps to go from Ray Turner (Diamond Back/Repco), after a big effort from Crowe, brought a quick response from Leigh De Luca. Warragul rider Joel Pearson, Anthony Smith and Dean Johnstone got across, and while the bunch hesitated slightly the five riders opened a significant lead.

With the break still clear at the bell, Simon Clarke surged cresting the climb for the final time, and caught the leaders on the slow turn into the finishing straight, and almost managed to go straight past! The sprint went to Pearson, with Clarke a length behind, while Turner snatched third with a good throw on the line ahead of Smith.

Chris Tassell rode away from B Grade the first time up the hill, but despite a good lead found the windy conditions too tough to hang onto his lead. Josh Vanderveen (Le Tour) returned to racing with an early 2 lap solo effort before he too was recaptured by the strong bunch. 30 minutes in however, he was away again and looking serious.

Super strong Masters rider Bruce Will returned to B Grade after serving his time suffering in A Grade, his reward for dominating B Grade during the second half of the summer, and seemed determined to earn promotion straight back as he rode away from the bunch to join the leader with Danny Wetherley in tow. Once the leading three joined up it was all over for the bunch, as their lead quickly grew.

At bell lap, Russell Newnham and Russell Collins attacked the bunch to try to salvage fourth, while out front the leading trio were still together as they turned into the finish. Vanderveen was far too strong in the sprint, winning by 5 lengths, while Will held off a determined effort from Wetherley to take second. Newnham left Collins behind in the closing stages, and just hung on to take the final placing as the bunch closed in a little too late.

Both C and D Grades finished with bunch sprints, with the windy conditions favoring strength in numbers around the back of the course. A very tight sprint in C Grade saw Russell Forbes take the win by the narrowest of margins over Ben Phillips, with Andrew Stewart and Wayne Howard filling the minor placings. In a strong Women's division, Rachel Rademaker (Cyclelink) was too quick for Jenny Macpherson (Fitzroy Cycles).

Under 19 rider Andrew Knowles took his first win with a good sprint in D Grade, crossing the line a length clear of Simon Bristow, Ashleigh Crosher and Terry Murdoch. Eliza Beazley might be ready to test herself against the C Grade women after another convincing win in the Women's section, with Melissa Nichols taking out second place.

The Club sends its best wishes on a speedy recovery to former President and Club and Victorian Cycling Life Member Jack McGowan, who was hit by a car on his daily training ride this morning. Fortunately, Jack did not suffer serous injuries and expects to return to his usual gate keeper role for the weekend.

Next Tuesday night sees the final twilight race for 2003 at Sandown, 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 (55 mins + 2 laps) 23 starters
1 Joel Pearson (Warragul CC)
2 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Ray Turner (Footscray CC)
4 Anthony Smith (Blackburn CC)
5 Dean Johnstone (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
4 Leigh De Luca (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
B Grade (50 mins + 2 laps) 20 starters
1 Josh Vanderveen (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2 Bruce Will (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Danny Wetherley (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
4 Russell Newnham (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
1 Miyoko Karami (Japan)
C Grade (50 mins + 2 laps) 28 starters
1 Russell Forbes (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2 Ben Phillips (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Andrew Stewart (Chelsea & Peninsula CC)
4 Wayne Howard (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
1 Rachel Rademaker (Blackburn CC)
2 Jenny Macpherson (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 32 starters
1 Andrew Knowles (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2 Simon Bristow (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Ashleigh Crosher (Dirt Riders CC)
4 Terry Murdoch (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
1 Eliza Beasley (St Kilda CC)
2 Melissa Nichols (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
E Grade (40 mins + 2 laps) 5 starters
1 Nathan Saber (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
2 Grant Bowker-Bell (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
3 Dale Reith (Blackburn CC)
4 Fernando Ly (St Kilda CC)

Australian results from the past week

Cascade Launceston 3-Day Tour
St Kilda CC
Canberra CC
Ipswich ACC
Randwick Botany CC
Canberra CC (Mar. 9)
Illawarra CC
Carnegie Caulfield (Mar. 9)
Carnegie Caulfield (Mar. 11)
Canberra CC (Mar. 12)


Complete Australian results for 2003