WHILST THE CAIRNS WARRNAMBOOL TEAM WERE OUT ON A 150KM MOTORPACE IN PREP FOR THE BIG RACE, IT STILL LEFT A COMPACT FIELD OF QUALITY RIDERS TO TURN THE CRITERIUM LEADERBOARD ON ITS HEAD. Mark Bamford, Simon Hubbard, Graham Grant, Duncan Murray, Gary Haydon and Damien Ingram were all out putting the finishing touches on legs and lungs for another Cairns crack at the big race. ADD TO THAT THE UNAVAILBILITY of ladder leader Linc Carolan.
In the meantime their absence paved the way for exciting youngster’s FELIX GRAF and CODY HASELDINE to fight out an entertaining A Grade race on Sunday.
Through the first six laps the lead chopped and changed with Tyson Sundman, Bruno Barbarisi and former Crit winners in Michael Haseldine and Kieran Mouldey taking on their younger opponents. The pace solid with each rider doing their bit. Good pace and on the SPRINT lap Bruno Barbarisi and Tyson Sundman were pushing for a break however they were being closely monitored by Michael Haseldine and Kieran Mouldey with Michael Haseldine getting the better of Barbarisi over the Spotto St Rise to take the SPRINT honours with Tyson Sundman back in third place. Soon after Tyson Sundman riding boldly was a strong pacesetter until lap 12 when the orange colours of Barbarisi PINCHED a10 sec break.
The chase group didn’t appear concerned led by Kieran Mouldey. It wasn’t until their 14th lap that Felix Graf and Kieran Mouldey assumed control with all six still in contention, when Barbarisi went again, and this time Bruno had Felix for company and the pair sped to a ten seconds break on the field with only two laps remaining. Flashing past the official area Kieran Mouldey was out of the saddle in hot pursuit with the Haseldines and Sundman smack on Kieran’s wheel. However Mouldey searching for BACK to BACK Criterium’s suffered the ‘’ ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW CURSE ‘’ ‘’caught with a flat well how about that.’’ So with a little more than a lap to go it was race over for the inform Mouldey.
At the bell the pace cooled off a little and any of the five left could win. When the field wheeled into Spotto for the run in, only Bruno who had put up a terrific performance was destined for fifth spot as Graf, the Haseldine boys and Sundman topped the rise locked in battle with the two younger riders Cody Haseldine and Felix Graf getting the better of Michael Haseldine and Tyson Sundman. However this time Felix Graf sprinting with plenty of power when on to score from Cody Haseldine, third being Michael Haseldine followed by Tyson and Bruno. Felix now has joined Cody as recent Criterium winners and both riders have plastered across their backs WATCH THIS SPACE as the young brigade improve the already strong established ranks of Cairns and District Cycling. Cody’s second placing has seen him catapulted to top the leader board with one race to go .
Straight from the whistle of Commissair RICHIE BATES THE RACE WAS ON past the judge on the first lap in signal file, the field of twelve whizzed through with Scott Beaven ahead of affairs followed by Tom Cook, Kath Deed, and David Hutton with Gavin Butler sitting at the back. Through to lap five Paul Thuesen, Kane Hodge, Alex Starmer, Bernard Cossar –Smith and youngster Ethan Chamberlain all assisted in keeping the pace hot. Then Alex Starmer held a small break through the sixth from Scott Beaven, Paul Thuesen, Kath Deed and Ethan Chamberlain. The extreme pace had Tommy Cook start to feel the pinch and was dropping off the back.
Prior the sprint lap Alex Starmer still led from Al Hodge, Greg Hutton and David Hutton with Paul Thuesen and Kath Deed in close attendance. Swinging in for the SPRINT it became a RACE between Bernard Cossar-Smith and the Hutton’s Greg and David, and as they topped the rise ace sprinter David had a narrow advantage from DAD which he kept to the line with Bernard close up in third spot. Sprint over and placegetters desperate for some down time, were disappointed as the wily fox GAVIN BUTLER shot to the front and the red hot pace continued. Leading up to the last three laps Paul Thuesen, Scott Beaven, Al Hodge, Kath Deed, Alex Starmer, Bernard Cossar- Smith and Gavin Butler all spent time at the top However with this pace something had to give and Classy Sprinter David Hutton dropped out of contention. At the two to go mark Gavin Butler had Paul Thuesen riding a very strong race join him at the top with Scott Beaven on their wheel followed by Cossar- Smith, Greg Hutton and Al Hodge. Kath Deed who had been matching motors with the boys in brilliant fashion finally started to feel the strain and she along with Sprint winner David Hutton pulled the pin leaving every one guessing as to who will collect the points.
To the bell and Scott Beaven had assumed control from Thuesen, Greg Hutton, Kane Hodge and Starmer. However after the roundabout Paul Thuesen in a lightning move pinched what looked like a winning break but Scott Beaven powered out after him dragging the rest of the field with him, Beaven had nailed Thuesen on the corner into Spotto. Up the rise this was to be a battle of THE TRACK MEN Beaven, Greg Hutton, and Youngster’s Kane Hodge and Ethan Chamberlain. However it was the strength of Scott Beaven who narrowly came up trumps over Greg Hutton with Kane Hodge third and they were followed by Ethan Chamberlain and Alex Starmer in a cracker of a second division race. With his second placing Greg Hutton now sits on top of the leader board with one race to go.
Nine starters away and through the first 3 laps Chris Chastre, Julie Scharf, Alex Hall and Damien Smith were prominent at the top however not much between all nine until on the fourth lap Gabby Thomasz and Russell Eustace pinched a small break over Alex Hall, Adam Dunn, Chris Chastre and Julie Scharf. So with their margin slowly increasing to around 12 seconds prior the sprint Russell Eustace and Gabby Thomasz were going to have the five point bonus to themselves and with a 22 second margin on the rest of the field. Up and over the rise Gabby Thomasz and Russell Eustace drove to the line with Gabby taking the honours narrowly from Russell, third over was Alex Hall followed by Julie Scharf and Adam Dunn.
From the sprint to the last three laps it was all Gabby Thomasz and Russell Eustace who inch by inch and second by second continued to draw away and at that mark the tearaways led from Klare Marcic, Julie Scharf and Chris Chastre but it was plain to all that the rest were riding for the minor placings. Two out the chasers’ were led by Chastre and Hall. The bell it was Chastre, Scharf and Marcic. Both Thomasz and Eustace had been working brilliantly together NOW IT WAS WHO WILL HAVE THE LEGS FOR THE FINAL SPRINT. Up over the rise it was Gabby Thomasz whose track prowess came to the fore and Gabby drew away to win the race from Russell, both riders putting up a dominant performance well back in third place was Julie Scharf who continually gets better and she was followed home by Chris Chastre and Adam Dunn.
Foot note on this race I as course commentator swore I called Paul Mitchell riding prominently throughout the race however I only have on my sheet Paul Hall, and the only Hall I know is Alex. So if a Paul Hall rode my sincere apologies and Paul Mitchell ditto. I now strongly believe it may be time to hang up the binoculars.
The Warriors division has increased in numbers over recent times being joined by track veteran Jim Larcombe, Kirk Binnington a couple of kilos lighter than his first effort. The return of affordable table lander Al Marcic and a first time Criterium for Keira Wilcox. Away and at an easy pace Todd Hartley led through the first lap from Andrew Mills, Michael Etherington with Tony Nastasi on his wheel. The lead swapped and changed a bit leading up to the sprint lap with Tony Nastasi, Todd Hartley, Michael Etherington, Andrew Mills, and Jim Larcombe doing the baulk of the bullocking. The order past the judge was Tony Nastasi, Michael Etherington, Andrew Mills, Todd Hartley, Jim Larcombe and Al Marcic. At this point Kirk Binnington was still in touch however Keira Wilcox in her first ever race had slipped off the back and was promptly joined by Alex Hall in a mentoring role and Alex then stayed with Keira for the rest of the race drawing spontaneous applause each time they passed by the judge. Into Spotto for the run up the hill and sprinting honours Al Marcic was doing a great job but could not hold off the finishing burst of Todd Hartley third over was Tony Nastasi.
Through to the final three laps Nastasi, Marcic, Todd Hartley and Etherington were taking turns on the top until Andrew Mills took over and still led narrowly with two to go. At the bell it was anyone’s race including Jeff Hartley who was riding an unusually conservative race. However this grade regularly throws up tremendous rivalry between Naastasi, Etherington and joining that duo Todd Haartley so the final dash had all watching the swing into Spotto for the last time. So up the rise it was Nastasi in front being hunted down by Etherington, Todd Hartley and Marcic and for the second time in two crits the improving Michael Etherington drew upside Tony Nastasi and went on to win his second race on the trot from Tony Nastasi and Todd Hartley third, next home was Al Marcic. A delighted Kirk Binnington this time finished with the bunch, a huge improvement on his first race where he was tailed off. THE RACE FOR THE PODIUM is a beauty with only a few points separating Tony and Michael with Todd still with a mathematical possibility of success.
To all our brilliant VOLUNTEERS WELL DONE and I’ll see you all at the CAIRNS CUP ON WHEELS this Saturday coming.