Photo Credit Ian Hutchings | Author Brad Peppinck
Another perfect evening greeted riders for the second last round of CCC Summer Crits as riders honed their tactics ahead of the Club Champs and ACT Crit Champs the following week.
In the Junior HC, after several weeks of seeing their quarry escape up the road, the scratch riders finally had their day with Archer Peppinck storming home to win a close-run sprint just a half wheel ahead of Hugo Williams, Annika Astridge in third. Kudos also to Barney Mungoven who rode strongly, mixing it up with the scratch riders throughout, while Quinn Peppinck also showed no fear once caught, not content to just stick with the pace setters, but actually attacking them to kick start the final sprint going into collarbone.
The early start saw a much reduced A Grade taking to the track but that didn’t diminish the attacking racing. Karl Michelin-Beard was off from the gun with Macca Edwardson quick to bridge, prompting Ayden Toovey to take up the charge at the head of bunch. As the chase began to splinter, a leading group of six slowly emerged comprising Karl, Macca, Ayden, Nick Wilson, Ben Hill, and Sean Murphy, with a second bunch left to rue the missed opportunity some way behind. CCS with the numbers, Ben Hill sought to press the advantage with eight minutes remaining but was brought back relatively quickly. With two laps remaining, Karl took a flyer quickly establishing a sizeable gap, before Macca lit the jets through collarbone rounding Karl up and then accelerating away to the line for a dominant win. Karl held on for second as ever consistent Ayden added to his season tally with third.
Befitting International Women’s Day on which it was being run, D Grade saw a huge contingent of women making up more than half the field. The bunch stayed together during the early laps with Ali Mungoven riding well on the front, before a group of eight riders eventually went clear around the halfway mark. Comprising Nathan Monk, Ben Williams, Jarrad Taylor, Douglas Wynn, Luke Rogers, Jacob Fleming, Max Neve, and Darren Stevens, the escapees combined well and never looked like being caught. In the chasing bunch, meanwhile, juniors Will Astridge and Jim Mungoven were pulling hard while Amellie Burrel made several bold attacks down the back straight. As the bell sounded, Ben Williams did a huge turn on the front allowing Luke Rogers to capitalise on his efforts, sling shotting past as they entered the home straight to post his second win in a row. Nathan Monk was the best of the rest, with Douglas Wynn in third. For the women in the bunch behind, chapeau to Sophie Chapman who did her best to get away in the closing stages but wasn’t able to go clear with Amelie eventually storming home ahead of a fast-finishing Ali M.
C Grade were orderly early before Rod McGee and Andrew Gordon signalled their intentions with a bold attempt to get away together. Alert to the threat, the duo were quickly brought back with Lauren Bartsch and Cameron Squires riding prominently. Rod tried his luck again with 13 minutes to spare, Atticus Nolan-Crisp doing well to get on the rapidly advancing wheel as Ronan Kovacevic was forced into damage control at the head of the chasing bunch. As Rod and Atticus disappeared up the road, the crowd were left to puzzle out whether youth would get the better of experience, the answer eventually going the way of the latter as Rod timed his sprint to perfection by catching Atticus off guard as they rounded the final corner, accelerating away for a classy win. In the chase behind, Adam Martin managed to get a small gap shortly before the bell, holding on to take a well-deserved third.
With light fading, B Grade got underway with Matt Darling testing the collective resolve, and legs, with an early attack before Mick Tollhurst rode the race back together. Eddie Mungoven was active throughout with several strong attacks but couldn’t entice a willing breakway companion up the road to share the workload. Trent Smyth as per usual shouldered his fair share of the pace making duties, driving the pace hard in response to an ominous escape by Mick T and Matt D around the five-minute mark. All back together with two laps remaining, Dave Parker moseyed his way to the front before lighting things up with huge drive that had the bunch completely strung out all the way through to the final dash through collarbone. Steve Blackburn came to the fore on lead out duties as the bunch swelled through the final bends before Calvin Coombs showed a clean pair of heals to series leader Hayden Stevens, muscling his bike down the inside of the track to take his first win of the season, Hayden holding on for second ahead of Bailey McDonald in third.
As Summer Crits draws to a close next week, still plenty to race for with podium positions up for grabs across most grades in the series point score, together with Club Champion bragging rights for a win on the night. Look forward to seeing you all out there to bring the curtain down in style on what has been a great season of racing.