A hot afternoon greeted riders for the 2019 Club Crit Championship, and the weather was matched by the racing which saw fast paced and competitive riding across all 3 grades.
First out of the blocks were 16 B grade riders for 30min + 3 laps of racing, closely followed by 4 C grade riders for 25mins + 3 laps. A-grade were able to put their feet up and enjoy the refreshments (thanks Swanny!) while the first 2 groups battled it out.
Cagey riding, the hot weather, and a brisk headwind down the finishing straight meant that in both grades the real action only started once Col started the 3 lap countdown, and what action there was!
C grade were the first to finish, and after strong work by Wilf & Captain Creagan throughout the race, Wilko generously offered to do a lead out for the group – however the Captain didn’t read the script and as he lined up on the left to start his sprint Wilko wrapped up his lead out and swung across almost taking him out, and in the mayhem that followed the Captain drop his chain, allowing Wilf to take an early lead in the sprint to the finish. Some furious clicking & spinning somehow saw his chain re-engage and the Captain launched a tremendous sprint that nearly pulled off a miracle, but he just ran out of road as Wilf held on for a well deserved win!
But the action in C grade was nothing compared to what happened next in B grade. As the lap counter came out, the pace ramped up, and Rob One-Lap-Wonder Tindale launched a tremendous surge over the top of Crit hill, and putting his head down sprinted for the finish line. Holding off a fast closing Bryn, Tinny was about to raise his arms in triumph when he saw the “Last Lap” board being held up by Col – nice effort Tinny, just save it for the final lap next time! With Tinny having shot his bolt early, it came down to a battle of the heavyweight sprinters, and it was Nathan Paul who surged down the finish straight to take out a strong win from Bryn, with Mitchell Jones coming in a close 3rd. Well done Nathan!
After the excitement of the first 2 grades, the track was clear for 12 A grade riders to line up for 40mins + 3 laps of racing. Unlike the earlier races the pace in A grade was red-hot from the start, and riders were shelled out the back of the lead group at regular intervals, as Houlty set a searing tempo at the front. As the race came down to the business end of proceedings, only “Missile” Mick Harris, David Cook, Paul Williams, Pete Harris, and Houlty remained in the front group, with Jason Simmonds, John Scott-Hamilton, and Shaun Brennan leading the chase group. A huge pull from Jason saw the chase regain contact at the base of Crit hill on the penultimate lap, which resulted in a huge surge from the leaders with Jason the only chase rider able to hang on. And so as the final sprint unfurled, it was the Missile who launched first and despite being pushed all the way Mick held on for a well deserved win and the title of Club Crit Champion 2019! A furious battle for second saw Jason pip Cookie at the line by a tire width – great racing all round!
As riders cooled off with some restorative amber nectar, there were stories a-plenty for a days racing that will live long in the memory!
Thanks to President Bullo and Col for running the days racing, Swanny for organising some very welcome cold drinks, and all racers for their efforts today and over the season of Crit racing at the TEC.
Next week we have the New England Festival Crit on Sunday 17th March – please sign up to support the club at this event, as we have another great days racing in prospect with $1000 in prize money up for grabs on the day.