Photo Credit Ryan Hall | Author Brad Peppinck
Deceptively windy conditions greeted riders for Round 15 of the Summer Crits, virtually guaranteeing that whoever was left to contest the sprints at the end of the races would have earned the right to be there.
Setting things in motion was the Junior HC with Hugo Williams going on the attack early and leaving Zach Thomas to weld things back together. Immediately upon making the catch, Archer Peppinck put in his own blistering attack and immediately established what would turn out to be a race winning lead. Despite a committed chase by Annika Astridge, she wasn’t able to close the gap as Archer powered away to take his fifth victory of the season, helped along the way by little brother Quinn who was up the road on handicap and briefly turned domestique by giving big brother a short sit.
D Grade was sporting some new faces but started in familiar style with Darren Stevens playing his usual role of ‘patron’ and driving the pace on the front. Clint Pickin tried his luck early but was quickly marked, Douglas Wynn also keen to ensure he made it into any early moves. Ben Williams wasn’t afraid to take a turn at the head of proceedings, attacking down the back straight with cracks starting to appear throughout the peleton. In short order, seven riders had escaped up the road comprised of Douglas, Clint, Peter Coll, Nathan Monk, Janvic Arellano, with Callum MaCiver and Luke Rogers representing the next generation of CCC racers. Not to be left out, Will Astridge dug deep to make it across no man’s land as the rest of the D grade bunch completely imploded behind leaving odds and sods out there to carry on alone with a few retirements thrown in for good measure. As the reduced bunch took the bell, both Luke and Callum were well positioned with Luke kicking hard through collarbone and looking an odds-on bet to take his first win of the year. But as the leaders made their way onto the home straight, the cruel headwind proved too much leaving Douglas Wynn to engage the afterburners and come round Luke on the line. Janvic Arellano took third, making a big impact in his first race and likely starting what will be a swift trajectory up through the grades.
Round 7 of the Women’s Series once again was dictated by Josie Pepper who kick started the action with an early attack down the home straight. Inez Cashman proved the only other rider capable of getting on terms with Josie, the two riding off the front to build up a decent lead. Lucy Skeldon shouldered the lion’s share of responsibility in the chase behind, never giving up in her efforts to catch the leaders. But having made the effort to get the gap, Josie wasn’t keen on sharing the limelight accelerating away and ultimately soloing to victory several bike lengths ahead of Inez, Lucy a little further back in third. In the Women’s C/D Grade, the combined might of Roslyn Harper and Lyn Vasudeva wasn’t enough to reel in Talia Chambers who rode a brilliant race to effectively time trial her way to victory by almost half a lap.
B Grade saw the return of Trent Smyth to the front of the bunch, picking up where he’d left off a few rounds earlier in dishing out the suffering from the front. Angus Withington kick started the early attacks before Rainer Wilton launched one of several efforts to get away throughout the night. B Grade point score leader Hayden Stevens, meanwhile, was tracking the early moves and always well positioned near the front. Not to be outdone by his Cartel teammate, Matt Corby tried his luck going clear with Mick Tolhurst and Trent but the trio clearly represented too much of a threat, Eddie Marcks threading it all back together. Obviously not in a sociable mood, Rainer was off again, this time with Becc Henderson locked on his wheel, yet still the elastic refused to snap. With two minutes remaining, Eddie Marcks put in a big dig but was immediately brought back, Trent returning to the front and bookending his outing. With the bunch reduced by half or more as the sprint kicked into gear, Matt Corby took up lead out duties with Rainer well positioned to capitalise on a perfect assist hitting the wind through collarbone. But as the leaders fanned out in the dash to the line, it was Eddie Marcks who bounced back – quite literally after hitting the deck the week prior – to edge in front with a powerful drive to the line, Rainer holding on for second and Jono Hazell in third.
A Grade had plenty to live up to after a night of exciting and aggressive racing and once again Canberra’s best riders didn’t disappoint. Dylan Hopkins launched a big move early down the home straight, Cam Rogers quick to respond along with Trekky, Ayden T, Macca, Tom C, and Reece T. Steve Crispin through himself into the chase but with Tom and Macca up the road, CCS played their numbers well to disrupt the group behind. As the race essentially split in two, the fire power of the seven up front meant that barring a pitch invasion by resident ducks and kangaroos… they were never coming back. Keen to whittle down the numbers further, Trekky attacked hard down the back straight with Cam following suit shortly thereafter. After doing plenty of work to keep the break away and Tom well positioned, Macca popped with Reece also succumbing to the relentless pace in the closing stages. As if to hammer home the point, Trekky went yet again, pressing into the wind with two laps remaining, Ayden next to lose the wheel as four became three. After his win the previous week, Cam was clearly in form, rounding up Trekky through the final bend and setting course for back-to-back victories. But Tom had other ideas and having missed the decisive move last week, was keen to assert his credentials as Canberra’s best sprinter. Head down and with his familiar swashbuckling style, Tom edged ahead of Cam in a perfectly times run to the line, Trekky deserving to say the least in third.
Another great week of racing and a relief to see everyone staying upright – a trend we’d like to see repeated over the coming weeks! Look forward to seeing you all out there for Round 16 on Wednesday.