MICHAEL HASELDINE BACKS UP FROM WINNING LAST WEEKS BRAMSTON BEACH ROAD RACE WITH A STUNNING VICTORY IN THE CAIRNS CYCLING CLUBS XMAS CRITERIUM ON SUNDAY.
Pitted against six of the Far Norths Top Riders in Brendon Skerke, Graham Grant, Duncan Murray, Gary Haydon, Lincoln Carolan and Damien Ingram, Haseldine cleverly pinched a break with 3 laps to go and held on to defeat Damien Ingram showing that the current Triathlon champ has certainly made the difficult transition from Triathlons to road racing in grand style.
Through the first four laps Brendon Skerke, Gary Haydon, Lincoln Carolan led the way averaging around 2min 46sec per lap extremely quick so early in the race then Ingram pinched a five sec break only to be reeled in by Carolan by the time the evenly matched field headed for Ponzo St. Carolan insured the hot pace would continue as he led for the next couple of laps with Graham Grant, Haydon and Haseldine hot on his tail. Leading into the sprint lap Haydon led Ingram with Lincoln Carolan absolutely cruising behind them only to attack the field 300m out from the sprint, Swinging back into Spoto St, Lincoln had stolen a break and powered away to take the sprint points from Ingram and Haseldine in the amazing lap time of 2min 29.
Sprint over and again Damien Ingram showed the way. With riders marking each other the pace dropped to around the 2.50 per lap for the next couple however Duncan Murray opened the throttle and shot to the lead quickly establishing a 10 sec lead and held that through laps 12 to 14 when Gary Haydon burst to a 4sec break with Haseldine close behind. Previous encounters for Haseldine had indicated he doesn’t have to sprint to go head to head with his rivals, so the ‘3 to go’ banner became the indicator for him to jump from the field and test his mettle.
The field watched as he held a steady 5 second gap in the first lap. History has Michael testing this tactic typically with 2 to go with little success, so there was little reaction initially but as 3 became 2 laps and his lead grew, the best of the rest field began to pay attention.
Murray moved to the front in attempt to real Michael in but with litlel help from other than Haydon, he had no intentions of dragging them all back solo. So into the final lap with the bell reminding Haseldine of how far it was to success, it was he by 10 sec from Ingram and Carolan. It was now catch me if you can, was this to be Michael Hazeldine’s first ever A GRADE CRITERIUM win, not if Ingram and Haydon could help it and as they rounded on to Salter Close, THE HASELDINE FAN CLUB held their breath hoping Michael would hang on and complete a rare double, Bramston Road Race and the Woree Criterium.
A couple of valiant attempts from Ingram , Murray and Hadyon whittle the lead enough to give hope that they may catch Michael as he appeared to be fading but the initial hard work to set the break had him cross the line with 5 seconds from Damien Ingram and Gary Haydon third. It was an outstanding ride from the hard working Haseldine who only twelve months ago was elevated into A GRADE STATAS and was clearly sick of being the bridesmaid. If there is ever only one race you want to win it’s the Club Championship.
Race Commissaire Richie Bates set the field alight with 14 very strong riders in what was going to be an exciting race with the calibre of entrants in the 45 min and 3 lap contest. The field included in form riders Bernard Cossar –Smith, Andrew Harper and Jamie Holman plus top track boys in Scott Beaven, and Josh Raynor and for good measure add to the list THE outstanding Aimee Ingram just back from her solid effort against some of the world’s best WOMEN in last week’s TOUR OF BRIGHT and eight other riders who all had the credentials to win.
Away and instantly Scotty Beaven and Aimee Ingram set off at an amazing rate and for the two opening laps you would have thought you were at Smith’s Park watching a team pursuit as the pair sneaked to a 6 sec break followed by Shawn Garraway, Kieran Mouldey and Mal Lindsay. Through the first 6 laps Jamie Holman, Josh Raynor, Bernard Cossar –Smith joined Aimee Ingram and the pace was continued as Scott Beaven after a short breather edged his way back to the front. Next it was Shane Gelling who poked his bike in front momentarily with Beaven and Ingram heading toward the sprint lap. Though the pace was solid the sprint was anyone’s guess and the entire field had a chance of success as they passed the commentary area.
Then like a bolt out of the blue the enigmatic Gavin Butler with an incredible burst of energy shot toward Ponzo St with more than a handy break. Gavin held this lead into the straight only to be nailed by Andrew Harper about 20 metres out where Harper went on the take the sprint from Butler with Aimee Ingram third followed by Bernard Cossar – Smith.
After the Sprint the lead group were joined and headed by Kieran Mouldey and Jamie Holman however Harper and Ingram were quick to shut them down. Through the next few laps Alex Murray pinched a break and 15 laps in he was joined by Scott Beaven with Gavin Butler, Shane Gelling, and Jamie Holman. Toward the final 3 laps Beaven and Holman were the pace setters with Aimee Ingram riding a very aggressive race just in front of Alex Murray, Bernard Cossar-Smith and Shane Gelling.
Two out and it was Scott Beaven again with Aimee Ingram, Kieran Mouldey and Bernard Cossar Smith. Final lap in order past the commentary Mouldey led from Mick Mehonoshon who emerged from nowhere and he was followed by Cossar- Smith and sneaking back into contention was the boom sprinter Shane Gelling behind Gelling was Harper and Ingram.
With necks straining to see who would emerge over rise for the run in, the Commentator was quick to call (‘’ have a look at Shane Gelling surging to the lead they won’t catch him from here,”) and catch him they didn’t as Shane crossed the line clear of Andrew Harper and Bernard Cossar-Smith fourth place going to Jamie Holman then Scotty Beaven just in front of Alex Murray. All Honours to Shane taking out his first Criterium in this division and credit to him for cleverly not trying to match motors with Beaven and Ingram who ensured the race was run at a genuine hot speed from go to whoa.
Great for the club to put on the championship u/23 event to enable seven of our outstanding young riders to finally race with some clear air. The field included two sets of brothers Connor and Liam McDonald and Daniel and Liam Simpson plus Felix Graf, Tiago Torres and Cody Haseldine. Away they went with Liam McDonald pouncing on the lead with Liam Simpson on his hammer Liam Simpson soon took over and was very prominent for the next few laps. All riders steadying watching each other like hawks heading into the sprint lap toward Ponzo St where Liam Simpson led Tiago Torres, Felix Graf and Connor McDonald however all seven had a chance of stealing the sprint.
Over the rise and riders all over shop the race Caller couldn’t predict the outcome until Liam MacDonald had the better of Tiago Torres with Daniel Simpson third however 1st to last wasn’t very far. Sprint gone and Liam Simpson shot to an 8 sec lead. When they gathered Liam in the race settled very much into a cat and mouse situation no bold moves with all riders in contention. 3 laps out Connor MacDonald had the lead from the Simpson brothers Liam and Daniel. 2 laps out and this time Tiago Torres moved to the lead and the race was now on in earnest.
At the bell Tiago had the lead followed by Liam Simpson, Liam MacDonald, Felix Graf and Connor MacDonald, appearing out of contention although still close enough to cause an upset were the two youngest riders in Daniel Simpson and Cody Haseldine. Cody having backed up from a nasty injury he copped during an inter schools Mountain bike Race on Friday.
Swinging into the Spotto St Straight the commentary had Tiago Torres looking very likely to score until first Felix Graf and then Liam MacDonald pounced and in a fabulous drive to the line Liam MacDonald Prevailed narrowly over Felix Graf with Tiago Torres third followed by Liam Simpson and Connor MacDonald. It was a superb effort from Liam having landed both the Sprint and the overall race.
This grade welcomed back Leigh Whitney who admitted he hadn’t ridden in competition for many years. Leigh was joined in the race by the father son combo of Al and Kane Hodge, Emma Simpson and Scott Carson himself second up after a long spell. Not much to report here as all riders did their fair share of work in particular Leigh Whitney and Scott Carson however all five where prominent right up to the sprint lap where Whitney took the honours from Carson with Al Hodge third.
So from then to the final laps they all rolled along everyone sharing the load only Scot Carson slowly started to feel the pinch after such a long layoff and dropped off the back. This left only four and with only three to go Kane Hodge led from Al Hodge and Emma Simpson riding a very strong race and watching all this unfold was Leigh Whitney as the four riders headed into the bell lap where the Hodge boys still had the lead.
Into the straight and over the rise Al Hodge still led however he was slowly being gathered in by Leigh Whitney who raced to front a few metres out and defeated Al Hodge narrowly with a rare dead Heat for third between Emma Simpson and Kane Hodge.
ONLY FIVE contested this event including Julie Scharf elevated into the race when the women’s event fell away to Julie being the only acceptor. The rest were a couple of veteran’s on the comeback trail Michael Etherington and Gordon Paris plus Jeffery Hartley and Gary Perkins whose intense rivalry is always worth watching.
However it was Michael Etherington who bounced straight to the lead and was very prominent right through to lap 6. Sharing the load through the early laps were the dynamic duo Hartley and Perkins and locked on their wheel was the irrepressible Julie Scharf. The Sprint lap on and Michael Etherington was putting up a mighty effort only to have his colours lowered by Gary Perkins albeit narrowly.
From then on Michael feeling the effort of the sprint started to fall away and Lap by lap Perkins and Hartley slowly started to extend the pace and their lead to Etherington and Scharf blew out to 20 sec. Gordon Paris headed for the showers after a solid first up hit out and with 3 laps left it was all Hartley and Perkins with a gap to Sharf and Etherington. So it was to the bitter end Hartley or Perkins or Perkins or Hartley over the rise for the final time wheel for wheel tyre for tyre Gary Perkins just held out the veteran marvel to win by a bike length. Also Michael Etherington who was trailing Julie into the last lap was able to pass her to take third with Julie a very solid fourth.
All in all a great way to finish the years Criteriums and then on to a marvelous Xmas Party at the Red Beret.
A load of thanks to KIM BUTLER for her assistance in note taking and Glenys, Don, AND ALL THE VOLUNTEERS WHO PITCHED IN LAST MINUTE TO IT ALL HAPPEN.