There was another good turn out for Round 2 of the Club Criterium Championships on the weekend with 20 riders split evenly across two grades. It was also great to have both Sam Jenner and Sam Munday back in town although their presence didn’t bode well for anyone else in A-Grade. B-Grade welcomed Round 1 absentees Dave Jenner, Richard Wilkinson and Jacqui King who was racing with son Sam in a grade that had been dominated by the sprinters the week before.
With handicapper Col overseeing the start along with Bullo, A-Grade were released first for a 35 minute-plus-3 laps contest, followed by B-Grade on their 30-plus-3 race. Things went quite steadily for about two minutes until Sam Jenner decided this ought to be a proper race and wound things up on the hill causing a split which put Johnny, Chris and Phil under pressure. This set the tone for the three laps with the two Sam’s able to jump away at will, wait to be caught and then jump again. They were just playing with the bunch and on lap four had a 4s gap with Houlty and Rob in tow but Kirky took up the chase and got everyone back together before the Sam’s then jumped away for the last time. They quickly pulled out a 14s gap which was growing at a rate of 6s each lap. At the start of lap 8 they’d lapped B-Grade and the bunch was going backwards fast.
Despite having trained all morning Sam Jenner was in impressive form, he pulled away from Sam Munday on the tenth lap and it was only a matter of time before he got onto the back of the A-Grade bunch which by now was down to just 5 riders. Aside from a few digs from Houlty, the bunch was reasonably controlled but it wasn’t working as a unit and even though he was riding solo, it took a further 10 laps for them to catch Sam Munday. On the 22nd and penultimate lap for Sam Jenner, he caught and lapped the bunch of 6 with a rapid 1:39s circuit, rolling over the line shortly afterwards to well deserved applause. There were a few games of cat and mouse as the fight played out for second spot, eventually Sam Munday and Houlty tussled for the honours with Sam just edging it to round off a tough race that emphasised just how good Armidale’s two young A-Graders are.
In B-Grade, riders were well aware of the threat from sprinter and current championship leader Hugh Munday and there were a few attempts to break away throughout the 16 laps but Hugh featured prominently throughout. On lap 7 he was in a small break with Clint and David Cook that had a handful of seconds on the chasing riders but Captain Creagan was mindful of the danger and he pulled them back with just four riders now in tow. One lap later and the same three riders had another dig which again was reeled in but this time the price was too high for Lachie. Seven riders then lapped cautiously all the way to the end. On the final hill David Cook did what he had to and attacked Hugh but wasn’t able to shake him off, falling victim again to the trademark sprint of the young Munday who won by 5 bike lengths. The battle for second place was very close with PC just edging Clint by a tyre width with David Cook and Sam King collecting the remaining bonus points.
Many thanks to Col and Bullo for running the days racing, congratulations to Sam and Hugh on their wins and to all riders for a well-contested event. After two rounds, A-Grade is wide open, mathematically anyone in the top 6 able to win, although if Sam Jenner makes another appearance in the final round it’s hard to see anyone else coming close. In B-Grade it looks like PC will need to use all his experience to outsmart Hugh Munday with David Cook and Clint playing an important role in that battle. Next week we have a break, before being back on the 20th February for the final showdown.
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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