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Crits Round 13 Race Report

Author Brad Peppinck

Warm and still conditions together with a lingering holiday vibe set the tone for Round 13 of the CCC Summer Criteriums.

The scratch riders had their work cut out for them in the Junior HC with Reyan Rathi and George Williams starting with a three-lap advantage. Adding to the challenge, the scratch riders opted to attack each other from the get-go with several sharp accelerations by Hugo Williams and Archer Peppinck in particular. Up the road, Shrey Rathi and Quinn Peppinck proved a more cohesive unit rolling turns to reel in Reyan and George with one lap remaining. As the bell sounded, and Quinn done for the night, Shrey was left to press on alone, the hard charging scratch riders looking hell-bent on making the catch and setting up a thrilling final. But it wasn’t to be, Shrey digging deep and entering the home straight with a small lead that he held all the way to the line for his first win of the season. Archer meanwhile, benefitting from some pre-race tactical advice from Canberra fast man Hayden Stevens, railed the apex to carry his speed to line just a half bike length ahead of a deserving Hugo Williams in third. 

B Grade was next off the line, lulled into a false sense of calm as the Commissaires generously neutralised the first two laps for newer riders to familiarise themselves with the course. In typical ‘Dominator’ fashion, as soon as the whistle blew, he was off like a rocket and quickly built up a decent margin. Whether it was the 38 minutes left on the clock or the sedate start to proceedings, the bunch were relatively complacent in response with no one keen to take up the chase in earnest. Ever the opportunist, and with the engine to back it up, Seb Muller decided the time was ripe to bridge solo. Sensing the danger, Tiffen’s Eddie Mungoven was next to cross the gap with Zeke Findlay also showing his strength and bridging the gap. Four riders now up the road, and Cartel and Tiffen both represented, Matt Darling took responsibility to try and enliven the chase doing a mountain of work on the front notably assisted by Ed Marcks, Bec Henderson, Em Viotto, and Marc Vroomens. Down to three by the half way mark, Seb, Eddie, and Zeke joined forces, the bunch not quite able to make the catch. In the end, Zeke proved the fastest with Eddie holding on for second and Seb in third. Chapeau also to Zeke not just for the win, but the manner in which he went about it, moderating his pace to ensure his breakaway companions stayed together to enjoy the spoils of their considerable efforts.

By comparison, A Grade’s new riders did have so much as a meter to familiarise themselves with the course before the racing kicked off with a six man break quickly forming comprised of Steve Crispin, Macca Edwardson, Tom Chester, Ayden Toovey, Karl MB, and Campbell Jones. But with Dylan Hopkins and Nick Wilson leading the chase, the race was brought back together in short order before Ayden decided the string things out again with a powerful solo effort, effectively detonating the bunch in the process. Once the dust settled, there were few surprises in the composition of the lead protagonists, Ayden having been joined by Dylan, Tom, Macca and Fintan C, while Steve Crispin was left to rally the remnants of the chasers. The winners circle effectively reduced to five, conversation among the spectators shifted from ‘who’ to ‘how’, Tom the odds of favourite to take it in a sprint. Fintan and Dylan clearly having much the same conversation and coming to much the same conclusion variously tried to go solo, but failed to catch the CCS boys napping, Ayden holding his nerve throughout. As the bell sounded, Tom adopted the role of track sprinter keeping his bike on the inside of the track and watching carefully for the inevitable acceleration which, as it happened, inevitably came as they dove into collarbone. Forced to chase, Tom rounded up Fintan but not before Ayden found his own way past entering the home straight on equal terms and looking for all money like he had the momentum. Looks, as it turns out though, can be deceiving, Tom wrenching every last watt out his Trek Emonda and timing the throw to perfection to edge out Ayden by a tyre width, Dylan coming home a few bike lengths further back in third.

With several of the A/B Grade Women backing up from the B Grade race a few minutes earlier, spectators could have been forgiven for expecting a slow start to Round Six of the Women’s Series. But Josie Pepper had other ideas stringing the bunch out early on, with Lauren Bates next to try her luck solo. Ella Bloor was looking strong with several of her own testing attacks during the opening salvos, Lucy Skeldon also well positioned and riding smart to stay in contention. With the pace starting to yo-yo as the demands of the attack and counter-attack dynamic set in, the riders eyed each other warily looking to sense an advantage. As the clock reached the mid-way point, it was Ella who initiated the decisive attack coming onto the back straight, Lauren and Claudia Marcks the only ones capable of latching on to her wheel before joining forces to cement their lead. With two laps to go, Lucy made a valiant effort to ride across to the trio up front but came up just short, as an outnumbered Ella Bloor looked to go long with a dramatic surge in pace. Alert to the danger all night, however, Lauren kept her cool, and with it, kept Ella squarely in her sights tracking her wheel into collarbone before lighting it up down the home straight to take a comfortable victory ahead of teammate Claudia Marcks, Ella holding on for third. In the Women’s C/D race, Lyn Vasudeva and Lesli Findlay collaborated for much of the night before Lyn finally proved the stronger going solo to take a well-deserved win.

As for C Grade, with sincere apologies, fading light and pre-coast trip packing meant the author had to depart early such that we’re left to glean what we can from myraceresult.com alone, the gist of which appears that Blake Wooster stood on the top step of the podium with Adam Martin and Nick Wilson either side – whether that was from a long range breakaway, kangaroo induced chaos, or a tightly fought sprint we’ll leave to your imagination rather than overindulging in poetic license…

With the summer holidays largely done and dusted, and ACT Crit Champs on the horizon in March, the racing should heat up again for Round 14 this week as good conditions are forecast for Wednesday night. As always, a special thanks to the volunteers and Commissaires who are the backbone of the CCC Summer Criteriums, particularly Ian Maciver who was on site early yet again last week to set things up and ensure the safe and smooth running throughout!