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Carnegie Caulfield CC
Sandown Raceway, March 25, 2003
Salton takes summer's final twilight race
By Mal Sawford
The final night of twilight racing for the 2003 season saw 120 competitors take the opportunity to test themselves around the challenging Sandown Motor Raceway circuit, a 3.3km car racing circuit featuring some surprisingly technical corners (even at the relatively low speeds of a bike race) and a seemingly innocuous climb up the back straight that gets steeper and longer with every passing lap.
As usual, an early attack had the A Grade bunch strung out in the opening lap. Dean Johnstone (O'Mara Cycles) and Joel Pearson (Bikeland) opened a gap the first time up the climb, and looked intent on going on with the job. Ten minutes in, the pair were 20 seconds clear, and gaps were starting to appear in the bunch as the chase started to get serious. Robert Crowe (BikeNOW), visiting St George rider Luke Gowty and consistent strongman Ash Hayat (The Freedom Machine) were on the front trying to close the gap, and were successful in reducing the leaders advantage to the point where Pearson's teammate David Salton was able to jump across, towing Anthony Smith and Crowe with him.
Before long, the hard working bunch had reeled in the leaders, and with half the race remaining, the full field was back in contention. Hayat made a strong solo effort with 15 minutes remaining, but was only able to hold off the chase for two laps before rejoining the field. Ray Turner (Diamond Back) and Justin Davis (O'Mara) were prominent in the closing stages, but despite their efforts a bunch kick looked likely. A late attack from Matt Chessum (Fitzroy Cycles) and Bruce Will at two laps to go came to nothing, and as the twilight darkened, the race was decided in a sprint.
Pearson lead out the sprint early, but despite crossing the line first was deemed by officials to have moved far enough off his line to warrant relegation back to third, handing the win to his young teammate Salton. 'Crowey' stayed upright and was awarded second place, while fourth and fifth went to Warren Knevitt (O'Mara) and Nathan Wise a few lengths back.
After letting a breakaway take all the prizes the previous week, B Grade were much more attentive this time round. Despite a fearsome pace set by Danny Wetherley, Dave Eadie (BikeNOW) and Brenden O'Brien early on, there were plenty of willing legs to keep the bunch in contention. After 50 minutes, John Hollingworth (SBR) and Ken Ford opened the biggest lead, but the bunch was not to be denied, regrouping to start the final lap together.
Darren Cathie took his second field sprint win of the past few weeks, and earned promotion to A Grade for the remainder of the summer. BikeNOW owner Warren Cay turned in his best performance with a close second place finish, ahead of two of the nights hardest workers, Peter Galvin and Dennis Bowen-Day. Rachel Rademaker put in another good ride to take out the premier Women's division.
Andy Cameron and Dion Warburton both tried solo breaks to steal the C Grade race, but without success, and a bunch sprint was on the cards for most of the distance. At the finish, Wayne Howard posted his first win after a number of high placings, crossing the line ahead of Cameron Rotter, Andy Cameron and Ross Edwards. Under 19 VIS rider Apryl Eppinger impressed by taking out the Women's division after contributing to the pace making throughout the race.
Chris Beales took out the D Grade win with a good sprint ahead of veteran Bill Upston, with Michael Kilkenny and Ray Smith taking the minor placings. Beales, who promotes the mountainous Tour of Cardinia and Baw Baw Mountain Classics, will be lifted to C Grade just in time for the start of the road season, giving the non hill climbers a few weeks to inflict some pain on him for a change! Gemma Goyne finally returned to the winners list, ending Eliza Beasley's recent win of wins in the Women's division.
Criteriums continue Sunday mornings until the end of April 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 + 2 laps) 20 starters 1 David Salton (Warragul CC) 2 Robert Crowe (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Joel Pearson (Warragul CC) 4 Warren Knevitt (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 5 Nathan Wise (Carnegie Caulfield CC) B Grade (55 mins + 2 laps) 24 starters 1 Darren Cathie (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Warren Cay (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Peter Galvin (St Kilda CC) 4 Dennis Bowen-Day (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women 1 Rachel Rademaker (Blackburn CC) C Grade (50 mins + 2 laps) 34 starters 1 Wayne Howard (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Cameron Rotter (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Andy Cameron (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Ross Edwards (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women 1 Apryl Eppinger (Carnegie Caulfield CC) D Grade (45 mins + 2 laps) 34 starters 1 Chris Beales (Dirt Riders CC) 2 Bill Upston (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Michael Kilkenny (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 4 Ray Smith (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) Women 1 Gemma Goyne (Carnegie Caulfield CC) E Grade (40 mins + 2 laps) 5 starters 1 Grant Bowker-Bell (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Dale Reith (Blackburn CC) 3 Jason Rushen (Carnegie Caulfield CC)