Cyclocross Newcastle Round 1 – Welcome back!
Posted by auscxmag
Posted in News
words: auscxmag photography: Slika Images and Christine Carter.
Welcome Back! (vale Richie Benaud) To Australian Cyclocross ladies and gentleman, as the aussie ‘cross season got underway at Cyclocross Newcastle this weekend. Shannon Lister, Anthony Lloyd-Jones and the marvellous crew at CX Newcastle always do that little bit extra to make a great event, and today was no exception. Slick rego? Check. Yummy waffles? Check. DJ? Check. Heckles from man with microphone? Check. Oh and a fun, honest course? Check. It was all there, and so were a lot of familiar faces from the NSW ‘cross scene including Garry Millburn, his new wife Fiona Millburn (nee Morris), Christ Aitken, Lyndsay Gorrell, Nick Smith and Tom Green. Actually, half of the 2015 CX Worlds team were racing!
The course set for Round One of the 2015 Cyclocross Newcastle series seemed a little easier than last year, but was deceiving. Conditions were dry which meant the usual steep pinch climb were easier to get up. Canteen corner was a downhill for this round also, but from there your heart rate sky-rocketed as you went straight back up the embankment, then down the embankment before you had to face the aptly named ‘stairway to heaven’ which was a series of telegraph poled stairs embedded into the ground which actually got bigger after each lap completed. To soften the blows of the tough sections was a lap of the velodrome, an out and back with barriers along the sports ground, and a half lap of the crit track. This all made for a very well balanced course.
By the time we had arrived the first race of the day was already underway. First thing I noticed was the new kit of Nicole Sutton as she leaned her new bike into a corner then was away. There was a great mix of mountain and ‘cross bikes on course and I could tell it was going to be a fun course as some people looked to be really enjoying themselves. Winner of the Opens race was Alex Moore, with David Lechy in second and Robert Galli third. Lets hope these lads can find a cyclocross bike for the next round!
For each Cyclocross Newcastle round the adults stop play as the kids take centre stage with two separate races for both the really little ones, as well as the not quite old enough for Opens racing children. First up were the miniatures within the velo, which always amuses me only as it is fun watching parents chase kids on bikes. This was followed by the older kids who tackled the front half of the course (with all the hill and stairs), putting on an amazing display.
The final race of the day was the Cyclocross division, and at the pointy end the competition was hot. As the whistle blew for the start normal racing begun as Garry Millburn and Chris Aitken took the lead and distanced the rest of the field. Behind them another small group containing Nick Smith, Tom Green and the best dressed person of the day Matt Lee sporting a tuxedo skinsuit. This continued until midway through lap 3 when first Millburn crashed, then straight after Aitken crashed in front of the stairs. Aitken recovered from his crash quicker than Millburn which gave him an immediate gap that would not be closed again throughout the race. The crash that Millburn had seemed to cause a mechanical with Garry having to eventually change bikes with three laps to go due to a broken pedal. Amongst all the men racing were Lyndsay Gorrell and Fiona Morris mixing it up. Both put in very strong rides but it was Lyndsay who ran away with the win. The day belonged to Chris Aitken who rode beautifully to take a solid win on his first outing of the season. Garry Millburn finished second, with the best dressed man in cyclocross Matt Lee taking third.
Thanks again must go to all the volunteers on the day with special mention to course designer Anthony Lloyd-Jones and the clog wearing, commentating super organiser of Cyclocross Newcastle Shannon Lister. Round two will be held on 17 May, and we hope to see you there.