THERE was a strong northeasterly blowing across the course at the Pinjarra Industrial Estate last Sunday for the Peel Districts Cycling Club criterium.
It made racing challenging.
While there was a good tailwind on the start-to-finish straight, riders turned left and continued to pushed along with a cross-tailwind, before turning left again and into a block headwind.
Nobody wanted to be at the front and sitting behind another rider is a great benefit.
The next left turn was into a cross-headwind, which left riders nowhere to hide, and would sort the strong from the weak, before turning back to the start straight for another 1.6km lap.
E grade rode to the conditions; the bunch dropped a couple of riders on the way to the finish which ended in a bunch sprint, which was won by Roger De Pontes with Simon Stolton second and Tony Da Silva third.
D grade saw an early attack by Mitchell Crook and Zoe Stolton. The bunch reacted a few laps later and saw three riders lead by Nicholas Connan bridge the gap. Everybody else was left spread around the course.
The five stayed together until the sprint, which Crook won, Colin Day second, Connan third.
It only took a few laps for a two-rider break to be established in C grade as Matthew Connan was joined by Shane French.
While individual riders tried to bridge across, there was no cooperation and Connan and French rode away. In the two-up sprint it was Connan taking the win, French second and Callum Hunter leading the bunch home for third.
The juniors then took to the circuit on a variety of bicycles for two laps. As usual it was smiles all round, even three generations of the same family taking to track.
In B grade the attacks started from the gun. Within a couple of laps Henry Hunter was off the front; next lap he was joined by Ryan Wilmott and the pair just rode away from the pack.
Again the chase was not organised, with Wilmott and Hunter riding at a good pace and then caught the bunch. In the sprint to the line Hunter took the win, with Wilmott second and Michael Darlington took the bunch sprint for third.
It looked effortless as the eight riders in A-grade cruised round much faster than the 20 riders in B grade who were struggling in the conditions.
Then one rider was off the front, then Jon Gregg joined him and the next lap Gregg was off the front solo. The chase quickly destroyed the bunch split into group of twos and threes.
Gregg was too strong and took the win. Matt Peterson out- sprinted his chase partner Lawrence Considine for second.
Peel Districts Cycling Club is having a break for a couple weeks, the next race a time trial in Hopelands on December 31.