Author: Brad Peppinck
Perfect conditions combined with some weary legs after a long season of crits combined to produce exciting racing for the final crit of the season.
In the Junior HC, Hugo Williams showed himself to be in great form just ahead of the ACT Criterium Championships with another strong kick to win the bunch sprint, after combining with Annika Astridge and Archer Peppinck to reel in the riders out front. Great rides also by Reyan Rathi and George Williams with Reyan proving the fastest and like big brother Shrey, showing considerable improvement throughout the season. A special thanks also to Juniors Coach Andy Gordon who tirelessly gives of his time and considerable coaching knowledge to ensure the future crop of CCC riders have the skills and enthusiasm to follow in the footsteps of the many great CCC riders who have gone before them!
D Grade were next to roll away with Jordan Mircheviski locomotive like during the early stages setting a solid tempo up front. With the first sprint prime of the night, Chris Withington thought twice about pushing on with an attack but discretion got the better part of valour. Callum Maciver, who was well positioned throughout, was next to try an attack but wasn’t given much rope by the chasing bunch. All together on the bell, Darren Stevens sought to wreak havoc with a powerful attack down the home straight, before the fast men came to the fore in the dash for the line. Nick Jeffries was dominant in victory with James Patterson and Adam Barneveld rounding out the podium.
C Grade was a much more civilised affair up front as the bunch seemingly chose to ignore the starters whistle to get proceedings underway chatting happily among themseleves. Not one for social chit-chat, however, Nathan Edwardson came to the front and began to up the pace, stretching things out and focusing riders’ attention on the task at hand. Rod Bates was also active early on and looking to get up the road but kept in check by the wary chasers. Despite a few decent attacks, with two laps remaining, the bunch were all together with Angus Withington stringing it out. Another one for the sprinters, Wayne Pettett finished off some solid teamwork by the men in pink to position him well into collarbone, taking an impressive win ahead of Heath Chester and Pete Rodgers in second and third.
B Grade saw Aiden Hill and Dave Parker on the attack early but any breakaway aspirations were kept comfortably under control by the chasing bunch with strong performances by Nick Stewart, Dave Sitsky and Mark Terracini. Whether the riders were saving their legs for Saturday’s Championships or simply resigned to the inevitable bunch kick, there were few opportunists in the closing stages, no doubt also a reflection on the high pace. With two laps to go, the Cartel Train looked to deliver with Dave Parker and Rainer Wilton playing their traditional roles to set it up for their sprinter, but through collarbone, it was once again Josh Bilski who surfed the wheels best before unleashing a killer sprint to nab his third victory in a row and bolster his credentials for a move to A grade. Matt Corby was a close second with Stu Griffith more than cementing the overall with more points in third.
A Grade kicked off with the usual flurry of attacks, Tom Chester and Ayden Toovey looking to go early but kept in check by a watchful CCS contingent. Once caught, Torben Patridge-Madsen immediately countered alongside Toby Stewart and quickly the duo up front established a handy lead. After a quick pause in hostilities for Tom Chester to unburden himself of a GoPro helmet camera on instruction from the commissaires, Tom repaid the sportsmanship of the bunch with a massive pull, clearly faster for having removed the offending camera, and singlehandedly brought the leaders back to level pegging. As predicted, even possibly intended by the race commissaires, all hell broke lose with the first sprint prime of the night, Oscar Chamberlain looking to take advantage and go solo but was quickly brought under control with Ayden T contributing to the chase up front. Further attacks by Kris McCreath and Ben Hill failed to land the killer blow, Tom C burying himself to keep it all together. With one and a half laps remaining, Nick Wilson launched a flyer and looked like him may have pulled off a great escape but was caught down the back straight by a CCS led chase. Emerging from the chaos, phoenix like, Makka Edwardson lit the jets and went clear into collarbone, his bike handling skills clearly undiminished by his serious crash in January’s Tour Down Under. Willed on by every spectator present, the kangaroos, ducks, and possibly even quite a few of the chasing bunch, Makka somehow found the watts to stay clear all the way to the line for a fairy tail win to finish the season, Oscar Chamberlain making it a one two for CCS and series leader Ayden T ever consistent in third.
The honour of bringing the curtain down on the season fell to E Grade / Junior HC, with dominant performances by the Tiffen Junior riders, Hannah Pettett, and Will Astridge. Rae Rodgers was also present though out and played a part in closing down the attacks. In the end, it was one of the Tiffen Junior’s who stole a march on the chasing bunch on the bell and held on for a very deserving victory, Hannah Pettett winning the bunch kick for second ahead of Sonja Falez in third.
Thanks to all who contributed to making the 21/22 season of Crits one of the most successful we’ve had. After a shaky start courtesy of lock downs, numbers throughout were huge with more than 200 riders routinely turning up to compete. And despite the best efforts of the local wildlife, the crashes were few and far between as spectators were regularly treated to some of the best criterium racing on offer anywhere in Australia. Particular thanks to the volunteers, commissaires and all those who contribute behind the scenes, especially Rainer Wilton who’s tireless efforts have kept the literal and metaphorical wheels in motion.
Please join us for our Crit Season presentation evening on Wednesday 6 April (7-8pm) as we celebrate the winners and award the medals over pizzas and drinks at the Alivo Tourist Park in O’Connor.