IN THE FIRST OF THE BICYCLE CENTRE on Mulgrave CRITERIUMS. In a race that had everything 13 of North Queensland’s finest riders had the large crowd on their toes from go to whoa. From the whistle the likes of Damien Ingram, Shane Gelling, Lincoln Carolan , Peter Bridgewater and Territorian James Bartlett set a scorching pace.
Picking the race up around lap 4 Linc Carolan led the way from Shane Gelling, Andrew Harper, Rod Larcombe and James Barlett but from this point to the sprint all 13 would do more than their share of working, chasing, rolling turns, so in beautiful weather the commentator was heard to say ‘’ THIS IS WHAT A GRADE RACING IS ALL ABOUT.”
Through laps 6 and 7 it was the Creatures turn and flying past the judge’s box Damien Ingram led from, in turn chasing, Peter Bridgewater, Shane Gelling, Gary Haydon, Simon Hubbard and Tobia Kipper, who then rolled up with James Bartlett and took control albeit for short time. Three laps from the sprint Mark Bamford in a lighting move whipped around the field and cleared out and soon held an 18 second lead. However it appeared behind Mark, that Ingram, Graham Grant and Gary Haydon were plotting the recapture of the breakaway Bamford, and reel him in they did when on the SPRINT LAP Tobia Kipper sweeping towards Ponzo took the lead with a hungry pack behind him. Into Spotto and up the rise Damien Ingram look a massive chance of collecting the Sprint points until on his outside THE BLACK AND BLUE COLOURS OF SIMON HUBBARD emerged and in an exciting drive to the wire Simon outgunned Damien in close finish with Peter Bridgewater third.
Sprint gone – Gary Haydon, Linc Carolan and back where he had just left Mark Bamford pinched small margin on the field led by Shane Gelling, Alex Ikeda, Graham Grant and Damien Ingram. Resting at the back after his sprint victory lurked Hubbard, Kipper and Bridgewater. Peter didn’t stay at the rear long as he was soon upsides with Haydon, Ingram, Bamford and Gelling. Leading up to the final 3 laps Bamford, Grant and joining the pair Alex Ikeda slipped to a14 sec break and with 3 laps left held an 8 second gap to Shane Gelling riding a bold race ahead of a hot group chasing.
2 laps out and Mark Bamford in an amazing effort had regained the lead and led narrowly, the gap 3 seconds from in order Andrew Harper ,Gary Haydon, Damien Ingram, James Bartlett, Simon Hubbard, Lincoln Carolan and Tobia Kipper. Last lap and Gary Haydon led Ingram, Bartlett and sliding into fourth spot SIMON HUBBARD, right behind Simon was Carolan. Into Spotto and up the rise it was A CASE OF DEJAVU, the Quinella in the sprint had slipped together for the run in with Linc Carolan right behind them. Together Ingram and Hubbard edged away from Carolan with again Simon getting the better of Damien over the last 20 metres for a strong win with Linc Carolan third James Bartlett came again for a solid fourth and he was followed home by Andrew Harper and Peter Bridgewater. However the 13 riders put on a CLINIC for the enthusiastic Crowd witnessing one of the best races held at the Woree Raceway.
A strong field of twenty riders lined up in the biggest field of the day with Fiona Yard, not surprisingly, showing the way out of Spotto St in front of Mark Smedts and Nathan Bursztynowicz. With the pace steady, lap one saw Kennie Dyson holding the cudgel from Tom Cook, Grahame Allen and a newcomer visiting our ranks in Cairns, Sarah Neumann not long back on the bike after breaking a collarbone in a Brisbane Race. Sarah, ignoring her Doctors advice of an eleven week rest, was back in the saddle after three. Sarah a doctor herself, was punching away in the leading bunch through the first few laps (who listens to Doctors anyway??) and she was joined out front by Joe Youbeen, Josh Raynor and Luke Azzarpardi.
A mini break had Ken Dyson and Joe Youbeen sweep toward Ponzo with Fiona Yard and Sarah Neumann in pursuit. Stories galore in this division with the affable Joe Youbeen riding his final race in Australia before heading home to South Korea, with his legs telling us he’s in this race up to his ears. Through laps 5 and 6 we had a new leader in Grant Knight with Mal Lindsay and Liam Mc Donald for company. The next to have a crack was Scott Beaven, fresh from his first venture as a Cyclocross rider appreciating that in this race there were no hurdles. Scott led clearly, disappearing toward Ponzo St in front of Joe and Don Huyser who is just back from the world masters in Auckland. Then riding a more conservative race than normal Fiona Yard however always in the first few.
Heading toward the sprint lap it was anyone’s guess with a field full of quality track riders and in form roadies. Those in contention were Josh Raynor moving toward the front with Grahame Allen and Fiona Yard, however Grant Knight the Hutton Brothers Brandon and David were now in touch as was Luke Azzarpardi, all renowned for their sprinting prowess but they still had to gather Scotty Beaven who looked very comfortable lining up for the sprint lap. Sweeping into Spotto for the sprint, Scott Beaven back to his brilliant best, led up the rise and held on strongly to defeat Grant Knight and Luke Azzarpardi.
The Sprint over and Liam McDonald had wrested the lead from Beaven with Tom Cook and Azzarpardi on his wheel. However at this point Mitchell Knight, never far away from the action, had the misfortune of a decent Blowout causing Mitchell to crash. Before his wheels stopped spinning, Father Grant, Mal Lindsay and our resident Nurse Fiona were track side to assist. Fortunately minor abrasions and a concern for his bike were Mitchell’s main worry. All three riders at the scene stood out the mandatory lap and were back in the race.
Through laps 12 to 15 Mal Lindsay upped the ante and led strongly toward the final three. Mal was momentarily joined by Tom Cook, Don Huyser and never far off them Fiona Yard and Scott Beaven. They were followed by a swag of riders waiting to pounce including Joe Youbeen, Liam Mc Donald the Brothers Hutton, Brandon and David plus throw in the mix Grahame Allen always in for the fight. However Mal Lindsay riding a cracker of a race, led to the bell with Fiona and Scott Beaven right on his hammer, but having done a power of work were that trio sitting ducks for the quality of the chasing group right on their wheels.
A massive bunch swung into Spotto, sprinters desperately searching for the right wheel to follow. So it was THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE OVER THE RISE where young dynamo Liam McDonald had Grant Knights wheel and was speared into open space with David Hutton out after him and Luke Azzarpardi searching for runs on the inside. However Liam opened the throttle, stole the break needed and raced away to a fabulous victory from David Hutton and Joe Youbeen. They were followed home by, not necessary in this order by Luke Azzarpardi, Brandon Hutton, Grahame Allen, Fiona Yard and Scott Beaven as well as Cody Haseldine who finished the race of nicely showing Cody with the ride under his belt will be force in future events. This division as usual provided the informative crowd with plenty to mull over. The most courageous ride of the race went to Mal Lindsay who led or was in close attendance the entire race.
Al Hodge was attempting back to back victories in this grade, only this time Al had nine competitors trying to deny him that honour. Led by Criterium SPONSOR Gary Perkins, Hodge also had to deal with solid performers in Adam Dunn, Russell Eustace, Paul Mitchell and Mark Proctor. Add to that list two of our very strong Female riders in Kath Deed and Mel Pryde. Chuck in for good measure James Mort, just back from a stint at the world Masters in Auckland and making up the field exciting young rider in Ethan Chamberlain and Hodgy had a real race on his hands.
Two laps in Paul Mitchell led the way from Russell Eustace, Al Hodge, Gary Perkins and Mark Proctor however nothing between first and last. Not much change at the top end through the next few laps although Ethan Chamberlain and James Mort pressed forward and the pace noticeably picked up. Heading toward the sprint lap Russell Eustace had regained control with Gary Perkins and James Mort however the entire field was tracking up nicely behind the three leaders.
Towards Ponzo, Eustace led the way with Ethan Chamberlain watching it all unfold in last spot, not much in it. Into Spotto for the SPRINT Russell Eustace appeared to be in front over the rise however as the race Commentator blurted Eustace in front from Adam Dunn and Mark Proctor, Jonesy on this occasion was nearly knocked over by the flurry of movement to his right as his assistant Lee Chamberlain jumped to HIS feet papers flying, meaning that his son Ethan was gobbling the field up with an amazing finish to actually win the dash for cash in brilliant fashion from Russell Eustace and Adam Dunn.
Sprint gone and Mel Pryde reached the lead with Russell Eustace, Mark Proctor and Kath Deed in close attendance so it was your turn my turn rolling toward the last three laps. Paul Mitchell led Mark Proctor and Mel Pryde with Al Hodge edging closer. One LAP OUT, THE ORDER PAST THE Judge was Eustace, Hodge, Mort, Deed and tacking on was that young man again, Ethan Chamberlain. The thought that entered Jonesy‘s head was (blimey if Ethan is a big chance of taking this out, I better grab the papers now.) Necks were craning to spot the leaders into Spotto. Sure enough, Ethan Chamberlain shot clear and had the race sewn up careering away to complete the sprint AND Race double in devastating style from a game Mark Proctor with Russell Eustace close up in third spot. They were followed home by Al Hodge and Mel Pryde.
On paper this race looked a very even affair with Race Veteran Jeffery Hartley lining up against the wiley Tony Nastasi, the ever improving Julie Scharf and Jaime Thurtell. Adam Ewart having only his second Criterium and brand New to the circuit Joanna Parker, Rodney Howard and Kelly D’Andrea. I believe Kelly had never raced before, plus the inclusion of Young 14 y old Dylan Shakespeare also having his first ever race start, all this paved the way for a very interesting contest.
Race on and Jeff Hartley rolled straight to the lead with Adam Ewart, Julie Scharf and Jaime Thurtell right on his wheel and through the opening laps they were joined by young Dylan Shakespeare and Kelly D’Andrea. A bit futher on and Joanna Parker made it clear that she wasn’t just going to sit off the pace. So heading up to the sprint lap any one of the nine could win although the way Joanna Parker was riding the sprint could well be in hands of a criterium Debutant. However bursting to front over the Spotto Rise Adam Ewart loomed large being chased by the Irrepressible Julie Scharf and Dylan Shakespeare enjoying his first outing on the circuit with Hartley in close proximity, and on this occasion Adam rode strongly to take the spoils from Julie with Joanna Parker in third spot with Dylan fourth.
Sprint over and the man in PINK Jeff Hartley took control with the man in bright YELLOW Tony Nastasi creeping in to the picture. So with the lead chopping and changing the order two laps out was Joanna Parker back in front riding one hec of a race followed by Adam Ewart, Jaime Thurtell and Tony Nastasi. Sadly for Julie Scharf, she had been riding with a flat tyre for at least a lap before she was forced to retire it was bad luck for Julie as she would have been right in the finish. However all wasn’t lost for Julie as she landed the women’s Sprint. Down to the final lap and whizzing past the judges box Adam Ewart led from Jaime Thurtell, Joanna Parker and the man in PINK who was just in advance of Dylan Shakespeare and Tony Nastasi.
Over the rise The Commentator could clearly spot the Pink of Hartley and bright Yellow of Nastasi challenging STONGLY however Adam Ewart having led from the front throughout most of the race started to edge away and comfortably took the race in front of Tony Nastasi with Dylan Shakespeare a terrific ride at his first race start in third place, they were followed over the line by Jeff Hartley and Jaime Thurtell. Jaime in finishing fifth overall took the honours in the Women’s event from Joanna Parker and Kelly D’Andrea third.
WHAT A GREAT DAY IT WAS for the first of the BICYCLE CENTRAL on Mulgrave Criteriums, big thanks to Gary Perkins and his team as well as all our wonderful volunteers Glenys, Mundi, Sue, Mick, Don, Al, Paul as well as Lee Chamberlain who did a great job of filling in for Kim and Gabby for setting up the mic’s and music for the morning.