The 2016 Club Criterium Championships got underway yesterday with the first of three rounds held at the TEC. 21 riders raced over two grades in hot, humid and windy conditions under the watchful eye of club president, Rob Tindale.
A-Grade ran over 35 mins plus 3 laps and Mick Hoult was off like a rocket from the gun, quickly pulling out a gap of 14s by the end of lap 2. With no one game enough to jump across to support the break, the pack steadily reeled him in and everyone was back together by lap 5. A couple of laps later however the numbers had dropped from nine to six with Bourkey adding to the list of casualties, clearly suffering the after-effects of some pre-race off-roading. By the mid-race point, even Kirky was finding the need to cut through the centre as the pace stayed high. There was a fair bit of traffic on the track now with tail-enders from both grades circling within the two races but riders managed to stay out of each others’ way and when the last lap was signalled, there was clear track ahead. Dave Munday picked up the pace down the home straight which avoided any attacks and rolled over to let Ben Harris drive through the bends. He caused a split as he exited onto the climb and continued to drive up and over the hill giving Rob the perfect lead out onto the long straight. Ben hung on for second place despite Houlty launching a big sprint after being boxed at the turn. Dave Munday snaffled fourth and Paul Williams bagged the last of the bonus points.
With a dozen riders in the bunch and consequently somewhere to hide, the B-Grade race was difficult to predict. Jo and Wilf gamely hung on for the opening circuit but the pace was much higher than they’d hoped in the early stages and they dropped off the back shortly after, destined to practice their time-trialling which they did with aplomb. New boy Josh Denham launched a solo attack on lap 5 with an impressive rush of blood but he paid the price two laps later, chasing a split in the pack with six riders now left in contention for the points. The older legs of PC, and Billy were more than holding their own against the young legs of Hugh Munday, David Cook and Tom Simmonds with Clint’s legs somewhere in-between. These six then stayed together for the next ten laps with no sign of what was to come. On the eighteenth lap, things got a little jumpy, PC and Billy working hard to outsmart the punchy teenagers. PC almost pulled off a classic move at the finish but Hugh showed no sign of fading launching an explosive sprint down the outside of the track to take the win by 3 bike lengths from PC, followed by David Cook, Billy and Clint.
Many thanks to Rob Tindale for running a very successful opening round of the championships and to all riders and supporters for a well-fought and enjoyable afternoon of racing. Round 2 is next Saturday at 4:30pm with the final round two weeks later.
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- Points awarded as follows – 1st (7pts), 2nd (5pts), 3rd (3pts), 4th (2pts), 5th (1pt)
- 1 additional point awarded for every rider competing per round
- Full details and competition rules available here