WITH a large number of senior riders racing the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship on Sunday and junior riders racing at the National Championship in Bendigo, numbers were down in all grades last Saturday at Casuarina.
This prompted a few riders to try their luck a ride up a grade but it did not go as planned for the two riders who rode A grade for the first time – surprised by speed, intensity and that breaks were allowed to form.
In A grade almost every attack was immediately chased down.
At the end of the first lap, a breakaway of three riders had formed but the eight chasing riders kept the margin in check for the next six laps, shedding a couple of riders in the process.
When two riders attacked out of the chasing bunch, it effectively doomed the chase and allowed the three to ride away.
In the race to the line Martin Thurlby took his first race win, with Luke Banaham second and Jesse Fergie third.
Even with the smallest field of the season in B grade with 15 riders, the race ran to script with every breakaway chased down, meaning the 15 riders turned onto the final straight together.
In the bunch sprint it was Martin Albrecht first, Alan Kearny second and John Duncan third.
The single E grade and three D grade riders got their chance to ride up a grade or two when they started with C grade.
After a fast first lap, there was a single D grade rider, Ashton Sime with C grade.
After a couple of savage attacks, shedding C grade racers, Sime remained. After five laps Sime won D grade and then completed an impressive audition for C grade by competing in the bunch sprint a lap later.
Tim Boardman claimed the win, with Nick Cowie second and first-time racer Louise McKay 7/100ths of second in third.
Behind Sime in D grade, Derek Crowther was second and Karin Strachan third. Josh Trine riding with a chaperone claimed E grade.
Across the country in Bendigo, Peel District Cycling Club was well represented with six riders.
The best results came from Dharlia Haines, winning the U15s women criterium and finishing second in the road race while Oliver Bleddyn finished seventh in U15s men time trail and ninth in the road race.
Tyler Lindorff claimed fourth in the U17s men time trail and fourth in the criterium.
In the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship, Peel member’s Cass Higgs and Alison Dyson performed well.
Higgs finished second in the women 19 to 34 age group while Dyson was seventh in women 50 to 54 age group.
Paul Miller, a regular visitor to Peel, won the men’s 50 to 54 age group.