DECISIVE MOVES IN ALL GRADES LED TO RUNAWAY WINNERS in Sundays CRITERIUMS. IN A DAY WHERE LEADERS DOMINATED THE RETURN TO THE WOREE RACEWAY. GARY HAYDON AND LUKE AZZARPARDI USED LAP SIX TO SPRINGBOARD INTO ACTION IN GROUPS A and B RESPECTIVELY. JOSH RAYNOR and JOHN Duel made their move at lap four in a battle royal in C GRADE. While it wasn’t until the tenth lap that IDAN PIERCY pounced running away with a dominant D grade victory.
Gary Haydon made his intensions very clear early in the A Grade fixture as he sat on top of the pace through the first six laps with various riders sitting on his wheel, they included Matt Driver, Cody Haseldine, Felix Graf, Kieran Mouldey and Tobia Kipper with a lot of interest in the return to the circuit of Simon Hubbard and the man the commentator and others have dubbed KING OF THE ROAD Bart Duraj out to break his recent string of second placings. However Haydon pinched a seven second break through lap 7 and led from Driver, Brandon Hutton and Simon Hubbard. Tobia Kipper and Duraj clawed back a few seconds through the next lap however Haydon on the sprint lap kicked away again to take the sprint from Cody Haseldine and Bart Duraj close up in third spot.
Sprint over Haydon still had command although now Duraj doing a power of work was instrumental in keeping Haydon within striking distance as the field of ten sped through the next 3 laps. Lap 12 and Haydon’s lead had been whittled down to a mere 3 seconds followed by Mouldey, Kipper and Duraj. It was at this point as the weather was closing in that Commissaire Richie Bates with the safety factor kicking in, reduced the race by at least 10 minutes and as light rain fell the 3 lap sign was posted. This undoubtedly had an immediate effect on Gary Haydon who went into overdrive and entering the Bell had again extended his lead and on the final lap it plainly obvious that with conditions favouring the brave that Gary Haydon was about to add yet another win to his ever-growing CV. Into SPOTTO AND UP THE RISE Haydon took the honours from Bart Duraj followed by Simon Hubbard and Tobia Kipper.
When interviewed after the race Gary was asked if he thought he could have held and won if the race hadn’t been reduced, in which he simply answered “NO I’M PRETTY SURE THEY WOULD HAVE GOT ME.” However runner-up Bart Duraj added “ We had to be cautious to a degree with a large truck parked in an awkward spot however take nothing away from Gary he rode a brilliant race.”
The opening few laps Kath Deed, Mick Mehonoshen, Emma Simpson and Brett Welch all showed out strongly and they were joined through to lap five by Gavin Butler, Rod Larcombe and Graham Allen all riders keeping up solid pace until they were joined halfway through the fifth lap by LUKE Azzarpardi slowing edging his way to the leading bunch, and then BANG ZOOM HE WAS Gone. The end of the sixth lap Azzarpardi’s lead from Brett Welch was 11 sec after the next lap 28 sec from Rod Larcombe. The sprint interest was in who would finish second and that was Gavin Butler just in front of Grahame Allen. Sprint over through the ninth and Luke’s lead had blossomed out to 38 sec from Gav Butler.
In one of the strongest performances seen in any grade at Woree, Luke Azzarpardi careered away lap by lap, in fact lapping riders as he went on his merry way to record an astonishing win, no doubt riding his way into an A GRADE DEBUT, DEPITE HIS RESTRICTED GEARS. Back in second place more than a minute astern was Rod Larcombe slowly edging his way back into form and Rod was followed in by Grahame Allen and Brett Welch, Mick Mehonoshen and Gavin Butler.
Seven only lined up in this event with Alex Hall and Adam Ewart quickly away with a new comer in Aoife Puri having her first ride in Cairns hailing from Tauranga the North Island of N Z among the competitors, along with Julie Scharf, Andrew Mills and biding their time very early on John Duel and Josh Raynor and there was nothing between ALL SEVEN through the first few laps until the fourth when Duel and Raynor went to the front together and SO IT WAS THAT FROM THEN ON, very similar to young Azzarpardi in the B grade race, John Duel and Josh Raynor lap by lap second by second, it became a two horse race. Interest in the sprint as to whether John could hold off Josh a noted track man was causing discussion, however hold off he did with Duel taking the sprint honours from Raynor with Alex Hall 27 seconds away in third followed by Adam Ewart.
Working well together through the ninth lap Raynor and Duel led Alex Hall now by 44seconds, on Hall’s wheel were Julie Scharf and Adam Ewart. As Raynor and Duel left Spotto toward the back straight for the last time their lead ever increasing, THE CROWD SPECULATED would it be Duel as in the sprint or Raynor alias THE FOX. Up over the rise and this time Josh Raynor had the measure of John Duel as Josh started to draw away to record a comfortable win on the line, however both riders put on a clinic finishing well in advance of Julie Scharf who finished strongly for third in front of Alex Hall.
Six riders faced the starter in what was a very even contest up until the tenth lap when Idan Piercy decided C grade was beckoning. Up until that point John D’Andrea, Steven Davies, Michael Etherington, Jim Larcombe and Danielle Charles were all in contention. The Sprint proving that Michael is closing in on last year’s good form by winning comfortably from John D’Andrea with Steven Davies a good third. From the Sprint through to the last three laps it was still anyone’s race until Idan Piercy locked on the after burners, and from then on it was simply arrivederci or GOODBYE TO YOU ALL as Piercy sprinted away over the concluding stages (and to coin a horse racing term) he simply bolted in from Michael Etherington, Steven Davies and Jimmy Larcombe back in fourth place.
Again to our unsung heroes the Volunteers bless you all for without you we don’t race. Catch you all in a couple of weeks. OH A BIG THANKS TO EMMA GELLING they say every man has his price and mine is COFFEE.
Jonesy (the course commentator.)