A SENSATIONAL VICTORY IN SATURDAY’S CRITERIUM BY BERNARD COSSAR–SMITH gave the Cairns rider a 36 second lead over Townsville’s Scott Lynch and Marvin Baumeister Schoenian going into Sunday’s road race at the completion of stage one of the MiHaven Mareeba Tour. Cossar–Smith literally blitzed his talented rivals with a brilliant display of sustained speed and clever bike skills in less than average conditions on the rain soaked Mako Course. With a few riders a little tentative in the poor conditions. Cossar-Smith upped the anti-went to the top, and just kept on increasing his lead. Behind Bernard, Scott Lynch and Marvin Baumeister Schoenian flew Townsville’s banner finishing 2nd and third with strong rides from Tom Cook, Thomas Beddome and Garry Haydon. This action paved the way for an enthralling battle in the road race. Pundits very quickly noticed the conservative approach from Townsville’s Jarred Walker and Ben Lawes both very strong on the roads, with the course commentator claiming we just might see different rides from this duo tomorrow.
Road Race away, and not much happening through the run to the circuit with Damien Ingram, Ben Laws, Matt Driver and Luke Azzopardi setting a reasonable tempo. However, in the twinkling of an eye Marvin (we’ll simply call him that purely to save ink) in the company of Jarred Walker and Ben Lawes zipped to a very sizeable break with no attempt at this stage to peg the Townsville trio back. Ingram Azzopardi, Kieran Mouldey and Devan Van Vliet each had their turn on top of the group chasing. However through the first lap they were making no serious impression. By the second lap Marvin had drifted back into the group chasing, leaving Lawes and Walker on their own but riding strongly. Again it was Ingram, Beddome, Scott Lynch and Azzopardi giving some indication that maybe it was time for a genuine attempt at dragging Walker and Lawes back.
Then Gary Haydon set out on his own and endured an entire lap of setting the pace and maybe catching the lads cruising out front. Bernard top of the leader board became prominent at times, aware of his standing on the leader board and he was now often controlling his race, very conscious of the talent up the road crumbling seconds of his lead. Just when Cossar–Smith was assessing the situation Luke Azzopardi dropped a chain and lost around 400 metres. So there was no help coming from Luke. Matt Driver and Gavin Taylor were still punching away and Josh Rayner had disappeared off the radar, out of contention. The main vehicle following the action stopped to allow the main Commissaire to study a snake by the side of the road only to be confronted by three decent sized dogs wondering what the hell he was doing. By the time the vehicle had returned Laws and Walker had only to stay on their bikes to quinella the race they were out of sight and riding brilliantly. It would be a battle for third.
This effort from Ben Lawes was quite extraordinary having just returned to the bike after a serious injury, a broken Pelvis, seeing Ben hospitalised for quite some time. However who would take the coveted Road Race, the Master or the Apprentice 5 kilometres out WHEEL FOR WHEEL. In sight of the line Jarred went first joined by Ben again neck and neck until Walker had the upper hand. So it was Jarred Walker taking the race narrowly from Ben Lawes. Both riders putting up an absolute clinic and enjoyed the applause from the large crowd. Well Back to third and Bernard Cossar–Smith just touched out Thomas Beddome. However both the Townsville boys shaving over 4 minutes off the Cossar –Smith lead. This would now leave Ben Lawes within striking distance of a possible G C victory with the Time Trial to come.
The Time trial had many people guessing. The only real challenge to Cossar-Smith was Lawes and they were the final two to complete the Mareeba Tour. There were some sparking times before Bernard and Ben were to face the starter Richie Bates. Not the least of those was Gary Haydon’s 14.26sec a fantastic ride and Jarred Walker 14.49sec. So off up the road they went a Minute apart first Lawes then Cossar–Smith. The Crowd straining their necks for a glimpse.
They didn’t have to wait long with Ben Lawes flashing past the line in 14.21 sec leaving all the amateur Clockers counting the second’s ticking off Bernard Cossar Smith’s lead. until the black colours of Bernard shot through the line at 14.56 enough to claim the overall win in the inaugural Mi Haven Mareeba Tour capping off a wonderful start to the COVID interrupted season, Bernard having comfortably won the LDI Criterium series a fortnight prior. Second in the GC Ben Lawes with Marvin Baumeister Schoenian Third.
The Criterium kick started a very competitive field of 20 riders including two very promising young women in Stephanie Corset and Alisha Wells taking on the likes of hardened veterans Grahame Allen, Gavin Butler, Greg Hutton and returning back to his Tablelands home, and Oliver Phillips who only a couple of years ago was matching it with the likes of Bart Duraj and Simon Hubbard. However the race didn’t end there. Probably the hardest grade to forecast.
Away they went and instantly Gavin Butler, Shawn Garraway, Grahame Allen and Stephanie Corset showed their intent with a decent pace, and in the tricky conditions being on top of the speed appeared the place to be. However with a little bit of chopping and changing it was a reasonably tight group through the early laps. Terrible luck for Stephanie Corset as she crashed at the bottom of the rise in almost the exact spot where sister Caitlin had an unfortunate tumble in her C Grade race. As the race progressed the prominence of Adam Johnstone, Matthias Wust , Damien Kukulies and Kerryn Waters were clearly noticed as serious contenders and as the whistle sounded the Sprint Lap the local Tableland triathlete Waters excelling in the wet conditions had no trouble clearing out and taking points comfortably from Phillips with Wust and Garraway close on their wheels. The above mentioned riders held sway for much of the race there on, including cameos from Michael Reid, Jason Whiteside and Miguel Groth who with Alisha Wells were never far away from the pointy end.
Through the bell laps Phillips, Wust, Johnstone and Waters were all being touted as the stage winner as they swung into the MAKO straight and again it was Waters holding off the strong challenge of Phillips to grab the win just in advance of Johnstone in third place, and they were followed by Garraway and Kukulies.
Change of the placings in the road race with Damian Kukulies brilliantly taking points defeating Oliver Phillips with Kerryn Waters third. They were followed home by Adam Johnstone, Matthias Wust and riding a cracking race sixth over the line was Michael Reid and ditto Alisha Wells. On to the Time Trial where Kukulies, Waters, Johnstone, Wust and Phillips were all in a position to stand atop of the podium.
Matthias Wust was the first home in the Time Trial to get the tongues wagging when Matthew stopped the clock at 15.17. a very strong ride but was it enough to slip past Kerryn Waters who went into the final stage on top of the leader board albeit narrowly ahead of Oliver Phillips. Damian Kukulies recovered from his success on the road clocked 15.21. Then the super consistent Adam Johnstone broke the 15 minutes, home in 14.59 applying huge pressure on the leaders being clearly the fastest thus far. Oliver Phillips on his first major race for a couple of years couldn’t match Johnstone and his 15.55 would see Oliver open the way for Kerryn Waters to try a match Johnstone’s excellent ride. With Waters in clear view of the spectators he hit the line at 15.21 and instantly had the judges gathering their notes to decipher the overall G.C. winner. Although Kerryn was 22 sec adrift of Adam he held on to claim the Title in a terrific series in this grade second overall went to Adam Johnstone and Third to Oliver Phillips. Special mentions to Matthias Wust, Michael Reid, Shawn Garraway and Alish Wells.
A NASTY CRASH early in this race saw Caitlin Corset fall heavily at the bottom of the back straight rise. This was a massive blow to the talented Townsville youngster who to that point in the company of Dad Jason had led the field a merry dance through the opening couple of laps. Caitlin suffering cuts to her jaw was attended to quickly, bringing applause from the crowd when Caitlin rose to her
feet. However her race was done. Jason comfortable that his daughter was OK was able to resume obviously conceding ground.
Heading toward the sprint lap Kevin Niesler, Mark Ruttiman, Demian Bullock, Andy Mills and Brenton Koch, were very prominent on top of the speed. Quick laps back in the field from Mark Smedts and Keith Fearon added to intrigue as the whistle sounded for the sprinting honours. However Kevin Niesler and Brenton Koch broke away and the pair pinched a decent lead and were heading for a sprinting quinella, until Niesler drifted off the track losing ground. It appeared to most that Brenton sat up in a sporting gesture allowing Kevin to regain composure, with the pair swinging into the straight locked together with only inches separating them Kevin Niesler just edged out Brenton Koch then a gap back to Andy Mills third.
For the sprint to the finish Niesler in particular looked strong, and despite some bold riding from Mark Ruttiman, Koch, Mills, Huyser, Bullock, Scott Voller and Jason Corset, Kevin Neisler held them off and took the all-important Opener from Koch with Ruttiman third, next in were Mills, Bullock, Voller and Huyser. The fastest lap belongs to Jason Corset.
On to the road and not knowing what happened in transit I can say that Don Huyser, Tate Jones , Caitlin Corset and Ben Harper all put up top performances, In particular Caitlin lining up with stitches to her lower jaw. However the top fancies after the Criterium, Niesler and Koch hadn’t counted on Jason Corset putting the day one incident behind him, and Jason being a top line track rider would always be tough to hold out in a sprint finish and what a finish it was, only seconds separating the top ten with Jason Corset holding sway in a blanket finish from Kevin Niesler, and Brenton Koch third they were followed by Andy Mills, Don Huyser and Tate Jones.
To the Time Trial:
With little time separating Niesler and Koch they appeared out of reach of anyone causing a boil over, and there were a few solid rides before the leading duo faced the starter. Jason Corset 16.17, Ben Harper16.30, Tate Jones 16.40 and Mark Smedts 16.46. Then it was Brenton Koch whose superb 15.30 really placed pressure on Kevin Niesler, and when Kevin went through in 16.05 there wasn’t going to be much in it for podium honours. Then the announcement that Brenton’s brilliant Time Trial had edged out Kevin in a nail biting finale. So tour victory in C grade to Brenton Koch second Kevin Niesler third overall to Mark Ruttiman just in advance of Andy Mills.
After poor weather more than likely the cause for a couple of late scratchings nine Started and rolling through the first laps the pace was reasonably sedate. All eyes were centred on the inform Megan Hendry, a strong winning of the recent LDI series Criterium, wondering when Megan would make her move. Around the fifth lap Hendry quickened and she was joined by Petra Anderson, Kylie Anderson and Gerna Thompson the increase in tempo causing gaps to appear to Danielle Erskine, Louise Boyle, Kellie McKeown and Having her first ever Criterium Kathleen Elms. As the race progressed Hendry handling the conditions to perfection had the race by the scruff of the neck although Kyle Anderson, Gerna Thompson and Petra Anderson were solid behind the leader ready to pounce should Megan have a technical. The sprint was an easy win to Hendry but the race for the placings was a thriller with Petra just nudging out Gerna and Kylie. From then on Hendry had the race in her keeping and went on to comfortably take the race with a 19 sec margin over Petra Anderon and close up Kylie and Gerna fought out the placings in that order.
On to the road where the bulk of the riders keep together, this time the field had the added interest of Kim Jones and Carmel Hickey, however this race was going to be more of a sprint home over the final lap, than a few having a crack at a break away. There were a couple off the back but credit to them for sticking on, all riders giving the snake on the side of the road a wide berth. Into the long straight home and Kylie Anderson was really working well to stay with Hendry and it was only over the latter stages that Megan drew away to win by 4seconds from Kylie a further 19 sec back to Gerna Thompson.
To the time trial and the only way Megan could be beaten, would be if her wheel fell off, so it was that Megan Hendry clocking 17.18 had taken all three disciplines to win the Women’s title overall from Kylie Anderson and the third place on the podium to Gerna Thompson, next in the placings where Petra Anderson and Danielle Erskine.
All in all a fabulous Mareeba Tour. Wonderful to see the Townsville crew participating and doing so well.
Yours in cycling Jonesy
Road Race – D grade Atkins Report
The group of D grade warriors lined up eagerly with the welcome addition of Townsville racer David Sprigings and new Cairns first timer Greg Stanton.
For the first 5 km, the bunch stayed tight matching the previous days crit grouping, however at the first serious incline David Sprigings and Chris Atkins gracefully drop off the back whilst young guns Jack Hansen and Ricky Groth with Michael Mehonoshen lead the peloton 5 up the remaining climbs to the Narcotic Ck intersection.
By this stage, David Sprigings had settled into a rhythm well back while Chris Atkins clawed his way back to the pack which kept up a fair pace in windy conditions through the first lap of the Narcotic loop. The top 5 continued swapping places at the front whilst dropping Atkins by 100m at every hill until he caught back up to the bunch at the intersection for another lap of the Narcotic loop.
Again, the top five swapped positions regularly with Mehonoshen putting in regular surges to test Hansen, Groth, Etherington and co. At the inclines leading up to the top of the loop Atkins managed to just hang on this time round and the bunch tucked in for the wild ride down to the intersection. At this point young gun Groth suffers a disastrous mechanical with his right shoe completely stripping his pedal out of the crank and ultimately putting him out of contention.
The remaining five put the foot on the gas for the last 10km run into Mareeba where the race smart Mehonoshen continually tests the group with his menacing surges. At the last inline before the 1km to go sign Hansen, Mehonoshen and Etherington put on a small break while Stanton bridges the gap with Atkins just holding his wheel. All hit the crest as one and stay tight for 100 metres all waiting nervously for the first hitter.
And Etherington it is with one of his legendary sprint attacks albeit a long range effort from 800 metres out. Atkins, Hansen and Mehonoshen duly react with Atkins pulling clear with 400 to go with Mehonoshen hot on his tail. Up to the line Mehonoshen pips Atkins by a mere metre with Hansen 50 metres back followed by Etherington and Stanton.
Good close racing that mimicked D grades previous day at the Makotrac criterium.