Team CP’S domination of the MiHaven Series continued in the Final on Sunday, when they filled the first four placings. Simon Hubbard won the race narrowly from his team mates Damien Ingram, Mark Bamford and Gary Haydon in that order with a gap back to Tobia Kipper, Brendon Skerke and Peter Bridgewater, in a race where C P racing were to hold no prisoners, the pace from the onset was fast and furious, and it was a credit to Skerke, Kipper and Bridgewater to hang on through the early stages. Even heading for Ponzo St on the 1st lap Mark Bamford had swept to the lead and shot into Spotto St with a handy break only to be reeled in by Team mate Gary Haydon. We can’t give you a time for that first lap but it was HOT. Through these early laps Bamford (the series leader), Hubbard and Haydon held a few seconds with Ingram appearing comfortable keeping watch on Bridgewater, Kipper and Skerke.
Then it was Hubbard who took control a pinched a few seconds. Until bursting out of the pack Bamford crossed over to join Hubbard with the pace relentless. The pair on top edged out a 14 second lead back to Skerke, Bridgewater, Kipper and the watchful Ingram. That lead had blossomed out to 21 seconds prior the SPRINT. So, into Spotto Hubbard and Bamford had a genuine tug of war to the line with Mark Bamford touching out Simon Hubbard with a sixteen second gap to Ingram and Bridgewater filling the minors. A solid return from Peter Bridgewater who had been off the scene for many months. However, the lead that Hubbard and Bamford had was SLOWLY WHITTLED away over the next few laps by team mates Haydon and Ingram. Until the four compatriots appeared to have the race to their mercy a fair way out. So with three to go and a sixty second break the speculation in the crowd were divided, Mark Bamford had the series sewn up, Hubbard and Ingram are off to the Aussie Road Masters next week and need a solid hit out or could it be the SUPER CONSISTANT Haydon’s turn to take the honours.
The Bell and as the four flashed passed the commentary box Damien Ingram lightened the load by ejecting his bidon narrowly missing the commentator who assumed that action was as a sign that Ingram would be right in the finish, and right in the finish he was as into straight Ingram, Hubbard and Bamford headed for home with Haydon just off them. Three over the rise together with Hubbard and Ingram just inching away from Bamford and on the line Simon Hubbard defeated Ingram with Bamford third followed in by Haydon in a CP racing CLINIC. Well back then to Tobia Kipper, Bendon Skerke and Peter Bridgewater all three losing no admirers for the way they finished the race. In particular the hit out for Brendon ahead of his preferred genre Mountain biking, with the Croc Trophy only a couple of weeks away, where he will joined by local champion Bart Duraj as they fly the flag for Cairns. However, the race went to Simon Hubbard, but the series to Mark Bamford.
Race leader and nominal favourite for the race Brandon Hutton headed up a strong field to contest the final. Added interest in the race was the self-inclusion of the C GRADE LEADER Damien Newton who had taken all before him in the C Division and a new comer in cross country biker Kaito Leveille having his first crit. Leading three through the first lap were Alex Starmer, Brandon Hutton and Steven Davies with the rest in a large bunch behind. Also prominent through these early laps were Damien Newton, Kaito Levielle, Don Huyser, Grahame Allen and Gavin Butler and they were still very bunched, when the caller was heard to say (“riding to the front is James Mort”) with a quick look at the race sheets, Jonesy realised though it was James Mort, he had nominated for C Grade however James had sought permission to contest both with the approval of Race Boss Richie Bates. This indeed was to help James tighten up before leaving for the Masters Games in Adelaide in a couple weeks, where he and Don Huyser will keep the Cairns Flag flying giving Cairns terrific representation over a couple of weeks. They will follow the boys off to the Masters Road titles the week before. Back to the race. Pace had lifted through the eighth with Alex Starmer leading Gav Butler, Steven Davies, Matt Driver and Brandon Hutton. Starmer led at the Sprint Whistle and immediately the tempo fell out of the race. All bunched heading into Spotto for the “Rush for Cash”. No sign of Champion Trackie Brandon Hutton who was well hidden in the pack but his dad Greg had shot to the front and turning back the clock charged away for a convincing Sprint win over Damien Newton proving his elevation to this grade was the right move. Damien was followed home by Grahame Allen with Brandon Hutton cruising just in behind Grahame.
Sprint over and mayhem on the turn toward Ponzo. The road was packed with a couple of grades on the track when Down heavily crashed Brandon Hutton and with no- where to go Steve Davies could not avoid the fallen Brandon hitting the road in what looked like a very bad Fall. The crowd were relieved when Brandon groggily stood upright, however, there were some immediate concerns for Steve as he was still tangled in his bike. This accident spreadeagled the field. A very noticeable attendee was Terri Sullivan instantly foregoing her race to render assistance. Though both riders were OK (bar some serious gravel rash), both were out of the race. Three riders at the top and therefore out of trouble were Gav Butler, Grahame Allen and Don Huyser with Damien Newton mixed up behind them and chasing. They were followed by Jon Bodsworth, Alex Starmer, Matt Driver and Kaito Leveille. Shortly after the mishap Allen was joined by Leveille and Butler and they pinched a small break of ten seconds over Newton.
Leveille, riding strongly, had brought the field back together toward the final three however now seven riders were in contention to take the race including Matt Driver and Alex Starmer, both who had avoided trouble. At the nell Leveille led Starmer, Allen, Newton and Bodsworth all still with a show. Into view for the Finish, and the easily recognised Allen (the Perennial Bridesmaid) had shot to the front. “Could this be his day?” called Jonesy only suddenly seeing the broad shoulders of Alex Starmer storming through the middle to snatch victory from Grahame Allen, still looking for the bouquet to land in his hands. Grahame just finished in front of Kaito Leveille and fourth in was Damien Newton in a sensational B grade final. Though Brandon Crashed out of the Final he took the overall series and hopefully recovers in time for the Cup on Wheels next weekend.
A pretty leisurely first few laps, until Idan Piercy took control and started to dictate terms from the top. Noticeable just in behind Piercy were Alisha Wells, Mark Smedts, James Coate and Andrew Mills, with all of these riders doing their share of the bullocking work early, and that group still led at the whistle for the sprint from Paul Mitchell, Michael Keetman and John Duel riding comfortably just off the pace. So the entire field of 11 swung into Spotto for sprinting prowess, however booming to the front John Duel in a devastating early move shook off any challenges to simply street his rivals by around four seconds, 2nd over well adrift was James Mort and he was followed by Mark Smedts and Alisha Wells.
Sprint gone and all back together, the field remained a locked bunch, and with two to go James Mort led from Alisha Wells, Andrew Mills, Idan Piercy and Brenton Koch. At the bell, John Duel looking to take the Sprint and Race double led out from Wells, Coate, Piercy and Mort. A real raffle at this point as the field disappeared toward the back straight. Into the run in John Duel looked a certainty topping the rise until the caller spotted the familiar style of track rider Michael Keetman racing upside and passing Duel in a withering burst of speed to win comfortably over Duel, and a photo finish for third between Andrew Mills and Alisha Wells, the verdict going to Alisha. They were followed home by James Coate and Idan Piercy. A clever ride by Michael who conserved all energy until when it was needed.
Five warriors lined up for the Final, with Michael Etherington having an unassailable lead in the series, really, he only to complete the course to stand atop of the podium. Michael this time had to contend with archrival Chris Atkins, John Petersen, Jared Desmares and returning to Criterium racing Trent Gleeson. It didn’t take long for Gleeson to reach the front and dictate the terms of the race. Leading or near too Gleeson set a pretty good bat for this grade and had Jared Desmares, Chris Atkins and Etherington taking the deep breaths to stay in touch. So, by the time the whistle sounded for the sprint Gleeson had Demares for company with a sixteen second break back to Atkins and a further break back to Etherington and John Petersen. The sprint had Demares just shading Gleeson with Atkins back in third place with Etherington and Petersen cruising along well out of contention although Michael Etherington didn’t need to bust himself to win the series.
Shortly after the sprint it appeared a race in two although Chris Atkins and Michael Etherington were still working hard to stay in touch. Gleeson and Desmares again upped the ante and this left only Atkins an outside chance of joining the tearaway leaders. Final laps to the finish wheel for wheel Desmares and Gleeson swapped turns, and into the straight it was Jared Desmares just getting the better of Trenton Gleeson with a break back to Chris Atkins followed in by Michael Etherington and John Petersen. Race to Jared Desmares, Series TO Michael Etherington.
Nicole Holt, Terri Sullivan, Colleen Harrison, Danielle Erskine, Gerna Thompson, Kylie Anderson and Series leader Melissa Green faced the starter for the last in the series. The initial stages of the race all five riders keep in close contact with Melissa Green, Terri Sullivan and Danielle Erskine prominent. However there wasn’t a blanket between them during the ride up to the sprint. Swinging in all five ranged into Spotto close together, with Melissa Green doing best by taking the cash from Kylie Anderson and Nicole Holt third.
Shortly after, a disappointed Colleen Harrison, had to pull out due to a prior engagement in Port Douglas, now there were six. Next out of the race Terri Sullivan who was right on the heels of the fallen B Grade riders, and being a trained nurse, stopped immediately to render assistance. Reminiscencent of Champion Rider Fiona Yard who also sacrificed her race a few years back to attend the injured after a nasty crash. So, with Terri out and Nicole Holt dropping back only four left for line honours and at the bell Danielle Erskine led from Melissa Green, Kylie Anderson and Gerna Thompson. Into the stretch and a battle Royale between all four saw Kylie Anderson produce a strong finish to take the race from Danielle Erskine with Gerna Thompson and Melissa Green close up next. Win to Kylie series to Melissa.
Rides of the day
A grade Mark Bamford what a series. – B GRADE Kaito Levielle – C Grade John Duel
D GRADE Trenton Gleeson. – Women Terri Sullivan.
Thanks again to Kim and Glenys.