The wet season just doesn’t want to leave with yet another wet commencement to the latest installment of the Bramston Beach racing.
With a diminished A grade field down to only four, including Gary Haydon putting his hand up to upgrade and an equally reduced support base it was decided that A and B were to ride together. A notable ‘sigh’ was heard across the B grade field at this announcement. Gavin Butler was pretty quick to volunteer to provide support with weather conditions as they were and the Commissaire (Greg Hutton) was pretty happy with his decision to adjudicate and leave the racing to the prodigy.
With the enthusiasm a high with the wet start and the expectation of a slightly high pace, the riders took off from Bramston beach. The rain largely stayed away but the remnants of the rain, with the litter from recent harvesting made for reasonably muddy course.
The pace started moderate as the rolled through the hills with Gary Haydon showing his hand early willing to set the pace. Ken Dyson was hoping the presence of the A grade field may aid in teaching the masses how to roll turns. This proved difficult with numerous riders not wanting to show their nose to the wind in the early stages. It was overheard as being described as ‘herding cats with a cattle duck’, trying to get them to work together.
An untimely puncture for Jamie Holman 10 km in, unfortunately stymied any thought of him having an impact on the race. Russell Eustace, not afraid to take his new stead into the wet conditions, kindly provided him assistance ensuring company on what might have been a lonely remainder of the race.
As the peloton made their way to Garradunga, to some, a welcome respite to the racing was had, as a cane train made its way along the course. Once all had safely navigated the crossings, the pace ramped up, with the first attack coming from Ingram which was immediately shutdown by Haseldine and Haydon.
Making their way towards Miriwinni, Haydon, Ingram and Simpson tried a little unity getting a little break off the front but Grahame Allen would have nothing of it, seeing the danger closing it down before it even started. Numerous support at the front by Skerke and Haydon ensured the pace was a little higher than normal for the B grade bunch with Tyson and Hutton also regularly seen at the pointy end of the field.
As they made the U-turn back to Bramston beach, and knowing that unity was as previously described, Ingram took the opportunity to make a break for it and quickly made a break of 10 seconds. Gary tried to make the bridge but with the wind, proved difficult.
Capitalizing on being solo across some of the more treacherous rail crossings, the gap grew as the rolling hills approached.
Behind, it looked likely that it was going to be a race for second. Haseldine caught a flyer on the way into the boat ramp but might have burnt a couple too many matches, as he was caught in the last 2kms heading into the finish.
The boat ramp hill added the difficulty necessary to bring parity between following the riders, making for a sprint finish.
Numerous attempts to get the field to work together proved futile in bringing Ingram back and relishing the fact that Oliver Phillip stayed on the Tablelands Ingram careered away for an impressive victory. Interesting enough the power of work done by Haseldine in chasing the tearaway had Liam Simpson actually snare second in front of the residule of the A grade field with Michael Haseldine’s top performance having to settle for 3rd just in front of the inform Grahame Allen followed by Gary Haydon. Excellent performances by Ken Dyson, Tobia Kipper and Bernard Cossar- Smith augers well for next week criterium.
This event started with the welcome inclusion of the President of the Townsville Cycling Club Michael Saunders AND Michael indeed added to the flavour of the recent influx of Townsville riders in recent weeks. The race had all riders rolling along at a good tempo with YOUNG Cody Haseldine, Brandon Hutton, Andrew Harper and Saunders sharing the work load. Out to Garradunga on to Miriwinni and Back to Bramston any of the four could claim the honours.
Still together from the river the foursome put on a real show for as they steadied prior the sprint Andrew Harper first to go was only to be nabbed by Brandon Hutton right on the line A TERRIFIC CONTEST IN SUCH ASMALL FIELD third over the line was Cody followed in by Michael.
D grade and the Women combined to have a neat field of seven head for Miriwinni and return. The FIELD COMPRISED OF Young Gun Luke Azzarpardi seasoned riders Jeff Hartley, Leigh Holman, James Mort and Gary Perkins along with the all-Women’s crew of Emily Houston, Emma Simpson and fresh from triathlons and the powerful SHE SPOKE club Alexandra Hall. As the Commissar Greg Hutton and I rolled on past heading toward the A and B grade it was Alexandra in her first road race leading out in a rolling pattern with Emily and Emma all riders looking composed and Comfortable.
Heading on the flat toward Miriwinni, Azzopardi was leading out from the veteran Hartley. All riders in close quarters and it wasn’t until the return hills that Luke decided it was time to go and set up a decent break. Using the words of Jeff Hartley “WE CAUGHT Luke before the run to the River and either he was lonely out in front or just being kind.” Back to the final hill and the Classy Youngster again shot to a commanding break and was not sighted thereafter with Luke winning easily from Hartley and JAMES Mort third followed in by GARY Perkins and LEIGH Holman. The women’s race had another tight finish with the friendly rivalry between Emily Houston and Emma Simpson continued this time Emily first from Emma and an excellent ride first up by Alexandra Hall in third spot.
Congratulations to all who braved the less than average conditions of the events and again to our volunteers Gavin Butler, Mundi, Kim, Ian, Greg and anyone who helped out that I can’t remember See you all at the Criterium next Week.