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Summer Criterium #16 Race Report

Photo: Ian Hutchings

With Round 16 doubling as Club Champs, there was plenty on the line for everyone who turned out to race, not the least of which was the chance to earn double points and move up the overall rankings.

In the Junior HC, Lachlan Copeland lived up to his reputation as the biggest of the little engines with a huge ride from scratch to chase down everyone in front. But despite the strong showing, it was Quinn Peppinck who ultimately proved the wiliest latching on the Llachie’s wheel early and coming round him in a perfectly timed run to the line to grab the victory. Valentin Torres-Schmidt, meanwhile, showed his huge potential by wringing every bit of speed from his 20-inch wheels and holding on for an impressive third with a huge smile to boot.

D Grade kicked off with a very bold solo attack from the gun by Will Astridge who quickly built up a decent lead and proceeded to fly solo for several laps. With Darren Stevens contributing to the chase, Will was eventually brought under control, only to strike out once again albeit with three other co-conspirators this time. The quartet didn’t last long with Jonathan Lowe leading the chase and several juniors also well positioned near the front. As the pace slowed momentarily, Mustafa Anwar put in a big dig but couldn’t snap the elastic, a large bunch still in contention as the bell sounded. Coming onto the back straight, four riders managed the sneak off the front with Daniel Gowling and Lachlan Freeth rounding the bend in first and second, drag racing each all the way with Dan holding on by a bike length for a well-earned win. Stephen Peter came home in third with Chloe Pratt taking victory for the women just seven seconds down on the winner, Ash Watts and Darcy Henwood rounding out the podium on the same time. In the Junior Whites, meanwhile, Archer Peppinck and Hugo Williams proved the most capable of staying with the main bunch, Archer eventually edging out Hugo on the final run to the line with Zach Thomas in third a little further back. For the girls, no one could touch Annika Astridge in the downhill sprint, Maja Torres-Schmidt going one better than her little brother in second, and Evelyn Power coming on in leaps and bounds to get third. 

James Patterson looked to catch the bunch napping with an early attack in C Grade but after stringing the bunch out single file, was brought back into the fold. Nathan Edwardson played his usual role of ‘El Patron’ bringing a measure of calm to the early chaos, Blake Wooster also looking dangerous near the head of proceedings. Around the midway point, Blake launched what would prove the decisive move of the night with only Glen Sinnott, Nathan Monck, and Andy Yates attentive to the threat. The four riders quickly built up an unassailable lead, despite a brave chase led almost entirely by Callum Macliver and Ben Williams, and it was clear that one of the four would be taking home the silverware. Down to the bell, things were looking cagey with Blake the first to blink going full throttle as the track titled upwards into the final bend. Andy Yates looked to be momentarily in difficulty as a slight gap opened up to third, but that just proved part of the theatre as the best dressed man in CCC lit the jets as he emerged onto the home straight and put the win beyond all doubt with a blistering show of speed to the line. Nathan Monck showed his amazing consistency with another podium, while Glen edged out Blake for third. Sonja Falez just edged out Kristie Caplikas in the bunch sprint to take victory for the women, with Kailin Pople a few seconds further back in third.

With early attacks clearly the flavour of the night, Matt Darling put in a ripper and effectively shredded the B Grade bunch before they had even emerged from collarbone. With the Tiffen duo of Mick Tollhurst and Stephen Blackburn also contributing to the pace making, there was little chance of a regrouping as those in contention were reduced to seven riders with almost thirty minutes left on the clock. Around the halfway mark, Blackie with his impeccable timing and Lauren Bates with her impeccable power flew the coup and with Mick policing the chase behind, the odds were looking good for the duo to stay away. Despite several big digs from Matt Darling and Rainer Wilton, Lauren and Blackie remained elusively out of reach with Lauren eventually taking the overall win. Blackie was a deserving winner for the men with Mick making it a Tiffen dominated podium as he outsprinted Matt in the race for third. Lauren Thomas, meanwhile, made it a good night for ‘Laurens’ edging out Kim Pederson for second to complete the women’s podium, a lap down on the winners. 

Karl Michelin-Beard having seemingly drawn the short straw for early solo animator, the Ccache rider was off the front from the whistle and looked strong through the early phase of the race. Hayden Stevens, Atticus Nolan-Crisp, and Reece Tucknott tried to bridge but with Brendan ‘Trekky’ Johnston marshalling the troops in the chase, the trio were brought back under control with around 30 minutes remaining. Tom Chester immediately countered and bridged to Karl, the pair holding a steady lead that stubbornly refused to grow. With around 10 minutes remaining, it was a Trekky and Hayden led attempt to bridge that spelled the death knell for the escapees as those few still left in contention followed the move across. Trekky looked to press on but with five minutes remaining, was safely back in the fold as the odds of another Tom Chester sprint victory edged just a little higher. Three laps remaining and it was the juniors turn in the spotlight as first Eddie Mungoven and then Hayden tried their luck, with Dylan Hopkins following a similar playbook with similar results as the bell approached. As the pace went out on the final lap, Trekky gave it one last dig but couldn’t distance the chasers, Tom delivering another sprinting masterclass and going clear by a bike length from Hayden in the fast tailwind sprint to the line. Dylan meanwhile cemented his reputation as another of the Canberra fast men pushing Hayden all the way.

With Club Champs run and done, the competition across several grades for the season point score remains well and truly alive as we enter the final few rounds. So come and make the most of the warm weather and Canberra sunsets and enjoy the exciting racing on offer every Wednesday. See you for Round 17!