While a few riders were perhaps holding something in reserve for tomorrow, there was certainly none of the predicted Go Slow at criterium racing today. The pre-Autumn Festival racing saw a good roll up of 17 riders with competitive racing across two grades.
Brendon Cole was in charge and with warnings of the track having been damaged by mid-week fire truck training, he’d come armed with a broom and plenty of time to sweep the corners. By the time senior racing started, it looked as good as new.
A-Grade were sent off first on a 30 minutes plus 3 laps race with B-Grade rolling off straight after for 25 plus 3. There were a couple of welcome visitors in town in John Freiberg from Tamworth who went off the front of A-Grade after a few laps and Aaron Watts who joined at around that time and tagged onto the back of the same race.
B-Grade stayed together as a bunch for much of the race and while the pace wasn’t too hot, it was quick enough to ensure that any breaks were pulled back in before too long. Rhys Williams was obviously feeling good and went off in search of clear track mid-race but was hauled back in after a couple of laps by some good work at the front of the bunch. When the last lap was called, there was still a good sized bunch and at this point Rhys made a move up the outside on the final climb. He had a couple of bike lengths as he hit the top of the straight with Col and Billy giving chase but had sufficient left in the tank to stay ahead to the line and claim his first ACC victory – well done Rhys – with Col and Billy taking second and third.
When Watts joined onto A-Grade it brought some fresh fire-power to the front and the group soon had Freiberg back in the pack. This signaled an opportunity for a few other moves off the front but again these were hauled back before too long and with the pace high, it became clear things would be culminating in a sprint finish. As the riders rounded the top corner and wound the pace up for the final straight they were led out by Watts with locals Ben Harris and Harrison Munday in close attendance. H timed his final burst to perfection with a quick jump up the inside to power home with Ben grabbing second and Watts third.
We didn’t have a video recording of racing today so the results below are lacking in a bit of detail – apologies for that but there are a few photos up on our Gallery pages now and also on our club Facebook page.
Thanks to Brendon for running the race and sweeping all that gravel up beforehand and well done to our winners Harrison and Rhys and to all riders for throwing down some good competitive racing. We’ll see you all tomorrow for the main event in the Armidale CBD – Sign on starts from 7:30am with Junior and Graded racing following after.
07.30am – Sign-on open
08.30am – Junior races
09.30am – D grade
10:00am – C grade
10:40am – B grade
11:25am – A grade