After winning the final round of the ACC Championship series on Saturday 19 September, Mitch Bullen has been crowned Club Champion for the second year running. Unlike last year when he shared the prize with Geoff Straub, this time Mitch was Champion in his own right. And although he has been the best rider in the club this year, Mitch was pushed all the way by John Scott-Hamilton who fought well throughout to eventually finish runner-up.
Saturday’s race was a criterium with six riders lining up in A grade: Mitch, John, Pat Ainsworth, Pat McMillan, Mick Hoult and Andrew Kirk. Early on in the race John broke clear of the pack with Mitch in tow. Kirkie strangely told the others to “leave ’em out there” while travelling 5km/h slower! This led to the break building a lead of half a lap before the others knew what was happening.
At this point the pack decided to start the chase, and although it looked like a lost cause they gradually ate into the lead in the second half of the race. But the fast pace set by Kirkie and Mick Hoult proved costly, and the two Pat’s couldn’t last the distance.
The catch was made three laps from the finish and and from that point there were no further attacks. This played into Mitch’s hands and he easily won the sprint finish from Kirkie and John, with Mick spent from his big effort in the chase in fourth place.
In the final standings, Mitch finished with 27 points, with John in second on 24 points, and Mick Hoult third on 21 points. Kirkie and Pat Ainsworth finished in equal fourth place on 18 points.
In B grade three riders were in with a chance of winning the overall: series leader Cody Burton, Bill Mara, and Phil Thomas. This time the bunch stayed together for the whole race, setting up an exciting finish featuring all the main contenders.
But in a something of a surprise, Ashley Saint who had been hanging on to the pack by the skin of his teeth put in a very impressive sprint to take the win just ahead of Bill in second place. Peter Creagan fresh from Grafton to Inverell finished third ahead of Cody, with Phil taking the final point scoring place.
Bill’s second place was enough to give him the overall win on 25 points, with Cody and Phil tying for second on 22 points. Ashley was impressive in fourth place on 21 points after only contesting three rounds for two wins and a third place.
C grade put on a good race with Brent Weston putting the pressure on the other riders by setting a cracking pace from the gun. Midway through the race he broke a spoke and had a lap out while changing his wheel before rejoining the bunch.
In the finish Craig Burton got the jump on the others and with 50m to go looked like winning easily. But Brent wasn’t going to give up without a fight, and just got up on the line by a tyre width. Jo Benham rode exceptionally well to come home in third place, with Karlee McMillan battling away for fourth.
Dave Rubie was winner of C grade after taking an unbeatable lead into the final round on 26 points. Jo Benham was runner up with 21 points which was a very satisfying result after spending part of the season out of action with a broken wrist. And Karlee McMillan never stopped trying to finish in third place on 15 points.
Congratulations to the winners and all those who competed in the series!