More new faces were in evidence this week on a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon following our successful recent Come and Try Crits day. It was a first race welcome for Olive Tutt in C-Grade and there were also some self-selected grade promotions. Clint Bourke and Jason Simmonds still have the ice packs on after having a red hot go at A-Grade and James Harris, powering through the ranks is up into B-Grade already, no doubt causing brothers Pete and Ben some sleepless nights – “…what if he gets really good and beats me? What will Mum say?”.
Peter Wilkinson took on the role of mobile commissaire with a friendly reminder of appropriate mid-race passing etiquette which was followed to the letter by a very well behaved peloton. Col Maciver and Mark Haydon were left to run the race which seemed to involve sitting on chairs in the shade having a chat and randomly sounding the last lap bell which Haydo kept knocking off a rather wobbly chair.
A Grade set off first with a combined B and C following on shortly after. This worked well and the latter bunch soon split into two separate races. A and B stayed together initially but in C-Grade, Olive started to move ahead of Jo Wauch and Jacqui King on lap 3. The more experienced riders pulled the youngster back on the next lap but by lap 6 Olive was away once again with Wilko in contention, Jacqui at 3s and Jo another 4s behind.
There were a couple of early casualties in B-Grade with Tom Simmonds and Dave Jenner starting to slip off the back but James Harris was still hanging in there, looking way too comfortable for Pete and Ben’s liking.
On lap 8 the young riders at the front of A-Grade decided a 42kph average was too slow and attacked on the hill which caused an instant split. Kirky and Johnny were caught down the back and had a 5s chase on their hands as they crossed the start line along with Clint and Jason who was certainly experiencing a different style of racing this week.
At this point the remaining 10 riders in B-Grade had been going fairly steadily, so PC decided to have a crack off the front. His timing was perfect because it was at this precise moment that A Grade was lining up for a fly-by. The communication went up the line and as instructed by Wilko at the start, Bill Mara eased off the pace and let the half-dozen A-grade riders through. Unfortunately PC, Chris Stace and Ben Livings had no idea what was happening behind them and by now had pulled out a half-lap lead through the esses. Fortunately, Col had climbed out of the reclining chair by this time and saw the whole thing, slowing down the front-runners on the next lap enough for everyone to regroup.
James Harris finally pulled stumps on lap 9 but kept lapping with a solid effort. Others doing motor pacing included Clint and Kirky courtesy of the short cut through the centre of the track. Meanwhile Olive was pulling out a bigger lead in C, eventually accidentally moving up into B Grade when Wilko decided he’d done enough coaching for one day. Meanwhile there was an interesting tussle going on between a well-matched Jo Wauch and Jacqui King with Jacqui regularly gapping Jo by a couple of seconds only for Jo to pull it back each time.
Closing in on the final few laps there was a bit of action in B-Grade. Bryn Griffiths was off the front with Ben Livings 2s behind and the bunch at 5s as they hit lap 13 but the move was pulled back once again with Chris Stace, Alex Thomas, Wilko, Wilf and Bill Mara all looking like they had things under control. Tom Simmonds was now keeping Dad company and the pair lapped until Jason’s heart rate returned to 3 figures. In fact at this point the track was littered with paired and solo riders, mainly from A-Grade where more than half were recording a DNF.
PC and Wilf each had another go in B Grade but ultimately it was going to come down to a bunch sprint which lit up at the start of the straight. He had good competition from Alex Thomas but ultimately Bryn Griffiths was too strong and he crossed the line a second to the good with Ben Livings third at 5s. Shortly after, Olive crossed the line to capture a great maiden victory having also experienced life in B Grade for a good few laps. Jacqui finally got the better of a determined Jo to take second but it had been a really good contest.
Two laps before the end of A-Grade, Hammy Williams sprinted over the finish line having mis-read the signs, or having heard one of Haydo’s multiple cowbell rings that were smattered throughout the final laps as earlier casualties stumbled around in the pits, constantly knocking the wobbly chair over. Hammy’s early dash meant victory was down to one of just four riders and it was ultimately David Cook who had the better legs, crossing the line ahead of Pete Harris and Houlty with Angus Apps continuing to show excellent form, finishing just a few seconds back.
Congratulations to Cookie, Bryn and Olive and well done to all riders for a well-conducted and competitive afternoon of racing. Thanks also to Peter Wilkinson for commissaire duties and to Col and Haydo for deckchair, cowbell and signage duty. We’re back at the track next Saturday for another crit with Tamworth hosting an interclub event on the Sunday so try to get to that one if you can.
A-Grade (35mins + 3 Laps)
|WILLIAMS Paul||DNF (Lap 21)|
|HALE Rob||DNF (Lap 17)|
|SCOTT-HAMILTON John||DNF (Lap 8)|
|KIRK Andrew||DNF (Lap 8)|
|BOURKE Clint||DNF (Lap 8)|
|SIMMONDS Jason||DNF (Lap 8)|
B-Grade (30mins + 3 Laps)
|SIMMONDS Tom||DNF (Lap 6)|
|JENNER Dave||DNF (Lap 6)|
|HARRIS James||DNF (Lap 9)|
C-Grade (30mins + 3 Laps)
|WILKINSON Peter||DNF (Lap 9)|