Once again there were good numbers at the TEC this weekend with 28 riders racing in two grades – 13 in A and 15 in a combined B and C which welcomed back Ray Philips to racing. It was also great to see the local heroes from the MTB Nationals the week before are sticking with road racing – 4 medal winners were back and mixing it in A-Grade. Congratulations to Mick Harris, Holly Harris, Dave Harris and Angus Apps.
Riders rolled off after an abridged safety briefing from Cookie. In the combined B/C race the pace was high from the start and Ray was off the back after 1 lap and working hard through the infield to stay in contention. A-Grade were motoring and would go on to lap the larger B-Grade bunch twice in the course of the afternoon. Carl was having bike trouble in B and returned to the pits for some assistance from Cookie after 10 minutes which coincided with Ray calling it a day and sensibly choosing a much more comfortable seat in the shade from which to spectate.
Wilf was on the attack again after 12 minues which coincided with A-Grade lapping them for the first time. While A rode a fast but very steady race early on, in B-grade things were a little different. Pat McMillan and Chris Belson shared a mid-race effort with the two riders pulling out a handful of seconds for a couple of laps only to be chased down by the pack. Back in A-grade, Houlty, Hammy Williams and Pete Harris were driving things along at a healthy pace and a few riders were now starting to struggle to hang on. Despite grabbing multiple medals in the MTB Nationals the week before, Mick and Holly Harris still seemed to have good legs for the road and were mixing it at the front as usual.
After 30 mins in A-grade the race pace finally ramped up with Hammy and Spartacus off the front and Dave Munday forcing Holly to chase things down causing four of the starting 13 to drop off the back. Two laps later it was Mick Harris, Dave Munday and Angus Apps who had the gap with Spartacus, Houlty and Hammy just a few lengths behind. Jason Simmonds and Dave Harris were gamely chasing after a solid effort but their race was now over and the winner would now come from the leading half-dozen.
The combined B/C race was still together at the bell in their 30+3 laps race and once again it would come down to a sprint finish. Carl Hooton once again punched through the bunch into clean air and powered home to win cleanly from Chris Stace with Tom Simmonds taking third.
A-Grade had another 10 minutes of racing and the half-dozen were now hitting hard. Hammy and Houlty briefly pulled out a gap of a few bike lengths that stretched the chase but it was all back together with 3 laps to go. In the end it was Mick Harris who took the win, just outsprinting Houlty by a bike length with Dave Munday taking third and 7 DNFs as the chasers finished early so they could watch the finish.
Many thanks to David Cook for running the race this week and congratulations to our winners Carl Hooton and Mick Harris. Next on the calendar are the 2018 Club Criterium Championships ahead of the Autumn Festival the follow weekend.
A-Grade (40mins + 3 Laps)
Combined B/C-Grade (30mins + 3 Laps)