Leo “Mandrake” LeJambre was able to make half of the criterium packs disappear with a simple wave of his hand and a sprinkling of rain.
Despite the ominous (and obviously conjured) clouds in the background, a good turnout on Saturday afternoon turned to chaos as rain started spitting around 15 minutes into the races. The magical reapparance of Rob Tindale and Andrew Kirk proved a bad omen.
A grade (Andrew “Swanny” Swan, Sam “The Jennerator” Jenner, Iron Mick Hoult, Pat McMillan, Dene Bourke, Andrew Kirk, Rob Tindale) started circulating the track at a furious pace while B grade were still getting organised.
B grade (Ice Cold Billy Mara, Dave Jenner, Bob Murison, Dave “Boundy” Boundy, Mark “Haydo” Haydon, Phil “Keglegs” Thomas, “Evil” Ash Saint, Pete “Captain” Creagan) were bolstered by the surprise appearance of Roger Munday, stroking his throat and gesticulating towards his chest as a reason not to line up in A grade. He proceeded to tear the legs off B grade, leaving Evil Ash gasping at the 10 minute mark and Bob “Meat Hammer” Murison detaching soon afterwards. Ash perhaps could have raced in C grade from the start but the C graders looked at him with the stony faced stare of Easter Island statues given his past performances at the track.
The C grade group (Jo “Jwoww” Wauch, Karlee “Mumbles” McMillan, Dave “Ralph” Rubie and Chicka Russell) were soon joined by Ray Phillips and circulated in a tight formation, albeit overtaken very early in the race by a charging A grade keen to make up for some disappointing performances at Yarrowyck.
At this point, your humble correspondent felt something wet hit his leg and assumed he had drooled on himself (again), only to realise that the corner of his mouth wasn’t the home of a large spit bubble and that in fact it had started raining. All hell broke loose ahead of C grade as riders from the faster grades sat up and wobbled all over the road before promptly disappearing out the gate to cower under their verandahs. The hardier riders in all three grades simply hunkered down and kept racing – including the entire C grade race now augmented by Bob “The Meat Hammer” Murison.
Bob offered to lead out the C grade race which had turned into a fidget festival with no riders willing to attack and all riders still present from the start. Uncharacteristically, Bob did not unleash his famous hammer and instead lead an orderly procession to the final corner. A pathetic attack up the final hill by Ralph was quickly neutralised by Chicka and “Mumbles” who contested the sprint, Karlee victorious.
B grade was decimated by the rain and by “a bad case of the Mundays”. Ice Cold Billy Mara remarked that he looked around behind him to see who was still there and was somewhat surprised to see nothing but thin air. Roger won the B grade race from Captain Creagan and Ice Cold Billy Mara, earning the only prize of the day which is re-admission into A grade.
A grade was called early as the rain actually started falling properly, soaking the track. Iron Mick Hoult and Sam “The Jennerator” Jenner declared equal first with Swanny in 2nd.