With numbers down in the pre-Christmas weekend, President Tindale elected to run a points-race styled criterium at the track incorporating grades A and B in the same race. With 3 intermediate sprints providing variable bonus points, double points for the final sprint and for any B grade rider placing in the intermediate sprints, it was fortunate that Mr President had his calculator handy. Also fortunate that he modified the rules once the race was underway so that only the first 2 riders in each sprint qualified for bonus points.
The race featured a welcome return to Armidale for Brisbane’s Brent Ducker, a pre-warmed Sam Jenner (3 hrs of motorpacing beforehand), and Mr Kirky himself who was keen to pick up some tips on how to run a race ahead of his much-awaited debut with the cones in the new year.
The intention was that both grades would stay together and contest the sprints as a group but within a couple of laps A Grade had tested the resolve of all but Clint Bourke who gamely held on for 12 of the 18 laps before finally fading after a particularly fast third sprint lap. Shame, as Clint would have won B Grade by a comfortable margin if he’d stayed in touch. B-Grade settled down to a race of their own, accommodating the late arrival of PC and also managing a mid-race stop to get everyone back on the track after a slight detour into the weeds.
Meanwhile in A Grade Mick Hoult made a long lone break for the first sprint and won it comfortably from Johnny. Calmly regrouping and circling back past the start-finish straight riders were most surprised to hear Mr Tindale ringing his little bell again for another sprint. This time Sam Jenner took the honours, again of course from perennial bridesmaid Johnny. The race settled down after this and it was 5 further laps before the 3rd sprint which Brent won from Rob H after a rapid chase up the hill beforehand.
2 laps later B Grade finished with Dene Bourke just edging out PC by less than half a wheel in a great sprint finish, closely followed by Billy Mara and Dave Jenner. After their warm-down half-lap, they returned to the start line just in time to see Sam Jenner outsprint Johnny by a wheel, followed in by Kirky, Mick and Brent. Rob was a lap behind at this point…
And after some quick totting up of the points using the Duckworth Lewis method, Rob T declared Sam the worthy winner with 8 points in total from Johnny with 6 and then Kirky, Houlty and Brent all joint 3rd with 2 points. Thanks to Rob T for running the race and to all the riders who rounded off the year in style, and continued the process at the Bowlo afterwards…
No racing next weekend so we’re back on the track on January 3rd – have a safe and relaxing holiday and see you in the new year!
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