On a beautiful, sunny and mild afternoon, 25 riders signed up for the second Interclub Criterium race, following on from the last great event at Tamworth. The 1.2km closed circuit at the Traffic Education Centre was in good condition to support fast (and safe) racing. Six riders each from Inverell and Tamworth joined the 13 local riders, several of who had completed the wet and gruelling Tour d’Etappe in the Snowies the previous weekend.
14 riders started B-Grade to be run over 25 minutes plus 3 laps. The first 10 minutes proceeded fairly uneventfully till Armidale’s Jason Simmonds and Clint Bourke tried to break-away and gained a small gap. At this point, Pete Creagan had to make a pit stop to change wheels, ably assisted by Col Maciver and a spare bike conveniently left at the starting line by Sam Horwood. A series of attacks unhitched Carl Hooper and he struggled to try and get back on, but was unable on his own to reel in the front groups. With about 10 minutes to go, four riders had formed a break that stayed away until the end, working well over several laps to prevent any return of a second group lacking in some cohesion and firepower. Pete Wilkinson, returning from a lengthy time off the bike, rode his own race – which unfortunately consisted of fewer laps than the rest of the field. The four leaders continued to work for the last three laps: Shane Edmunds (Inverell) winning the sprint from the three Tamworth riders Fletcher Partlin, Luke O’Connor and Darren Taylor. The second group was led over the line by Jason Simmonds, ahead of Billy Mara and Richard Wilkinson.
11 riders (or, as some on the sidelines would have it, 10 riders and John Scott-Hamilton) lined up for the 30 minutes plus 3 laps race, which kicked off at a very high speed that didn’t let off throughout the event. After about 4 laps, riders were starting to drop off and a lead group soon had 30 seconds on a chasing group. In the front group, the two Armidale riders Sam Munday and Mick Hoult were joined by four Inverell riders (the Sunderland brothers, Callum Dolby and evergreen Dan Wilks); unfortunately the Tamworth riders had missed the break. A series of fast laps (1:37, 1:34, 1:44 and 1:35) ensured that this group were to stay away and soon they were reduced to five, as Mick found the relentless pace a little bit too hot – he desperately tried to both get back on and stay ahead of the next group. Dylan Sunderland put in a big effort in the final two laps, probably costing him a chance at the end as Sam Munday led out with a blistering pace down the home straight. With victory in his sight, Callum Dolby was in just the right gear to pip him on the line by less than half-a –wheel, followed in by Zac, Dylan and Dan Wilks. The final lap time was 1 minute 29 seconds! The second group had reeled in Mick Hoult on the last lap and was led over the line by Armidale’s Paul Williams.