Photo Credit Ryan Hall | Author Brad Peppinck
Round 16 of Summer Crits lived up to its name with balmy conditions and a gentle northerly breeze making for ideal racing conditions.
The Junior HC saw a shake up in the race format as CCC’s youngest riders took up the challenge of racing the full lap. With four riders starting from scratch and four riders starting a half lap up, it was effectively a TTT with the spoils going to the most cohesive unit. After a strong start, Barney Mungoven and Quinn Peppinck looked to press their advantage swapping turns and communicating well together. For the scratch riders, meanwhile, early attacks by Archer Peppinck and Hugo Williams engendered a degree of wariness as riders had to concentrate on the threat within as well as the threat well up the road. That slight lack of cohesion may just have proven the difference, Barney fully committed in a solo push to the line hanging on by just a few bike lengths from the hard charging scratch riders led home by Archer, a half wheel in front of Annika Astridge. Chapeau also to Lachlan Copeland who rode strongly in only his second race, a sure sign of big things to come.
D Grade set off next, and not without a sense of trepidation for some, after the fast pace set by newcomers the week before. That trepidation proved extremely well founded as former Olympic rower David Watts lived up to his name during his first outing with CCC, diligently setting about lapping the field from the starter’s whistle. The combined might from the likes of Luke Rogers, Janveic Arellano, Ben Williams and Max Neve, all of whom pulled long turns on the front, couldn’t stop, let alone limit the gap to Dave as it became quickly apparent that he was making an awfully persuasive case for promotion to the upper grades. Resigned to battle it out for the podium, Luke and Janveic dashed off the front with nine minutes remaining, only to be caught with two laps to go by Shane Anderson, Stuart Butcher and Amelie Burrell after a frantic chase. Fortunately for Luke and Janevic, however, having missed the ‘Dave bus’ on lap one, they had a chance to jump back on for the final lap as he came by the second time, dragging the two clear to hold on for the minor placings. Jim Mungoven also rode a particularly good race, well positioned throughout and finishing with what was left of the bunch.
C Grade saw Atticus Nowlan-Crisp on the attack early prompting Andrew Chamberlain to take up the chase behind. All back together, Andrew Yates looked comfortable on the front as he set about stringing out the riders behind him, before Atticus decided it was time to try his luck again. Sensing an opportunity, Rod McGee bridged across and then set off on his own bid for glory although was brought back into the fold shortly before the bell. Through collarbone and down the back straight, it was Andrew Chamberlain setting a fast pace for the sprinters behind, who rounded the final bend and fanned out in a full throttle push to the line. Rod Bates stretched out over the handlebars Cavendish style proved the quickest going clear by half a bike length from Ben McDuff, Rod M having had just enough time to recover from his solo efforts to round out the podium in third.
In B Grade, John Bridge took responsibility for controlling the pace early before handing the baton to another experienced hand in Steve Blackburn. Not to be outdone in his bid for the scarce real estate on the front, however, Trent Smyth decided it was time to stake his claim pushing the pace high enough to discourage any opportunists from clipping off. Given the apparent prerequisite to ride on the front was being a statesman of the Canberra cycling scene, Matt Darling was next to take up his rightful position, continuing to drive the pace hard. Done with paying their dues, Eddie Mungoven and Hayden Stevens decided it was time to show what the next generation of Canberra riders could do attacking hard through collarbone and getting gap in short order. The threat, however, was quickly neutralised with Matt Corby digging deep in response and the pace slowing significantly after the catch was made. Blackburn, Smyth, Tollhurst, Darling, and Terracini were the prominent fixtures for the laps that followed, with Rainer Wilton also trying the odd cheeky attack. As the minutes ticked down, Dennis Mungoven delivered a master class in attacking by effortlessly rolling off the’ front and flying solo until shortly before the bell, only to be brought back after Rainer burnt his final matches in giving chase. Down to the sprint finish and having ‘selflessly’ let those twice his age spend some time in the limelight, Hayden Stevens decided it was business time putting in a classy sprint to take another well-deserved victory. Matt Corby hung on for second, repaying the work of his lead out man in Jono Hazell, while Rob Frankland finished strongly in third.
A grade as per usual thought better of a gentle familiarisation lap or any sense of warm up, opting instead to beat each other up from the very first opportunity. Macca shot out of the gate on lap one with Steve Crispin locked on his wheel before Matt Rice laid down a marker with his own attack down the home straight. In the still conditions, however, the bunch was proving unusually resilient and not even the likes of an in-form Cam Rogers assisted by Reece Tucknott could snap the elastic. Fresh from his XC MTB efforts in Thredbo and casual 300km gravel ride earlier in the week… Trekky decided it was time to get in on the fun but like those before him, couldn’t land the killer blow. Undeterred, Cam was off again with 12 minutes remaining stretching the bunch to near breaking point, before Tom Chester put in a dig to close it all down. Whether that effort would prove costly in the bunch kick to follow, Matt Rice decided not to stick around to find out showing a clean pair of heels with a completely dominant run to the line. Sean Whitfield finished off a smart ride to grab second, while Cam had to settle for third after being active all night.
With clear skies again forecast for Round 17 and a cool change on the way, conditions should be perfect for no-holes-barred racing as we set course for the final few rounds and ACT Champs in March. Look forward to seeing you all out there once again on Wednesday.