Author Brad Peppink
2 November 2022
Winter returned with a vengeance for Round 3 of the CCC Summer Criteriums, a strong westerly making for challenging conditions, particularly through collarbone.
Quinn Peppinck and Barney Mungoven combined well in the Junior HC to time trial their way clear of the chasers and fight it out for a well-deserved one-two victory. Sharing the load throughout, the two young riders urged each other on with Barney eventually proving the strongest of the two. The scratch riders meanwhile had to settle for third after failing to reel in their prey, Annika Astridge showing herself to be the rider to beat with another commanding sprint.
C Grade was a reasonably civilised affair with Andy Gordon prominent early pulling the bunch along down the home straight. Nathan Edwardson and Nicholas Jeffries were also contributing to the high pace and with the difficult conditions, it seemed most were content to opt for the safety of the bunch and keep their powder dry. With the clock ticking down, Angus Withington lit the fuse with a bold attack coming into the back straight prompting a furious chase as riders scrambled to get on his wheel. Through collarbone, Angus was still in the lead but with a cruel headwind punishing his initiative, the spoils went to a flying Ben McCarthy who timed his effort to perfection going clear down the home straight. Lauren Bates held on for an impressive second overall with Angus duly rewarded for his efforts in third. Claudia Marks also finished at the pointy end of the bunch taking fifth overall and second for the women, with Inez Cashman in third.
B Grade was restless early on with riders keen to stretch the elastic in the windy conditions. After a few early salvos, the decisive break went clear more by chance than design although as soon as James Thorp realised the gap was there, he dropped the hammer ably assisted by Trent Smyth and put some distance into the chasing bunch. Hayden Stevens was attentive to the danger and along with Rainer Wilton and Rory Thornhill, bridged across, the five quickly building an unassailable lead. On the bell, Trent wound things up with his trademark surge before James Thorp went on the attack down the back straight. A wily Rainer Wilton looked to capitalise by coming out of the draft and hitting the front through the final corner but in the end, it wasn’t enough to keep Hayden at bay with another perfectly timed sprint to edge clear of James and leaving the club handicapper to consult the fine print on whether there are any age / gearing restrictions governing promotion to A grade. Rainer held on for a solid third while Josie Pepper finished with the chasing bunch to nab first for the women ahead of Kim Pederson.
A Grade was another punchy affair with Reece Tucknott attacking from the gun. Solo breaks were the hallmark for the next ten minutes with Trekky, Ayden Toovey, and Tom Chester all active early, but unable to ignite anything that stuck. With 16 minutes to go, Oscar and Trekky went clear, effectively detonating the bunch in the process. Once the dust had settled, nine riders were left in contention with small chase groups variously dotted around the track amidst a wave of retirements. With ten minutes remaining, group cohesion among the leaders was tested with an attack by Fintan Conway but swiftly shut down by Trekky. Undeterred, Fintan went again on the bell and opened up a decent gap. As the chasers looked at each other, it appeared Fintan may just have done enough before Oscar Chamberlain finally blinked, and kick started the chasers into action. Fintan railed into the home straight in the lead but Oscar’s efforts proved too good, sweeping past him before Ayden Toovey dished out some of his own medicine overhauling Oscar with a massive push for the line. Trekky was rewarded for his aggression with second, Oscar holding on for third.
After the relative chaos of A and B grade, D grade was an altogether more orderly matter, although doubtless it wouldn’t have felt that way from within. Juniors Luke Rodgers and Callum Maciver were prominent at the head of affairs early while Jordan Mirchevski also looked to inject some pace into proceedings down the back straight. Darren Stevens was similarly prominent in policing the bunch and keeping it all together. In the inevitable bunch sprint that ensued, Luke Phillips had the horsepower to edge in front of a fast-finishing Max Neve, Oliver Grande taking third. Alison Mungoven completed a successful night for the Mungoven clan taking first for the women ahead of Lucy Skeldon and Roslyn Harper.
Thanks again to our volunteers and a reminder that without volunteers putting their hands up, the races won’t run. With the Honeysuckle Hammer fast approaching, volunteers for the road would be particularly appreciated. Spring looks set to return for Round Four and with the first round of the Women’s Series, the racing is sure to be exciting. Looking forward to seeing you all there.