Manly Warringah CC CX Series – Round 3
Posted by auscxmag
Posted in News
words: Sean Couley photography: fotografija.com.au by Ben Cirulis
I know the Australian Cyclocross Magazine race reports have not been forthcoming this year. I have felt guilt and shame over this and do sorely want to rectify the situation. Once I finally arrived home from the latest race which was Round 3 of the Manly Warringah Cycling Club CX Series as well as Round 3 of the NSW State Series it occurred to me why there have been no reports. Epic conditions. It was the sixth race I have attended in 2016 and the fourth complete muddy slopfest of a race in a row. By the time I get home, clean bikes, kit and body followed by warming back up and refuelling the last thing I feel like doing is writing about it. Like I said, the guilt has gotten to me and here it is…
Sydney was put on warning over the weekend that another potential East Coast Low or as a meteorologist I know calls it a ‘very sexy weather event’ was going to occur. There was a warm up dusting of rain on Saturday with about 10mm falling, but by the time people were pinning on numbers on Sunday it was just plain raining and looked to be setting in. Race director Dave Musgrove had altered the course from previous rounds in attempt to be sympathetic to the conditions and during practice it looked like the plan had worked. All the features were included like mulch mountain and the tip run-up and the general feel was of a very fast and flowing course.
First race of the day was the Elite and Masters Men’s categories. As is customary in NSW, Garry Millburn was in the lead on the first corner with Chris Aitken hot on his heels. One rider crashed in the first corner which looked to cause chaos, but that was nothing compared to Jeff Curtes’ spectacular OTB at the fist obstacle with his pedal going close to taking out Dave Musgrove’s head mid crash. Racing was fast for the first 25 minutes until the constant rain and racing took its toll on the course. The remainder of the race was a slog in heavy conditions as the course became rutted and muddy. Millburn and Aitken were testing each other until the halfway mark when Millburn surged, created a gap and was not to be seen again by Aitken for the remainder of the race. Elite men’s would finish with Garry Millburn first, Chris Aitken second and Michael Potter third. In the Masters category Carl Fokkema had a race long battle with the previously unbeatable Stu Adams to take victory with Stu settling for second place and Jeff Curtes bouncing back from his early crash to claim third place.
The tough conditions of the day unfortunately meant a very low turn out for the usually massive kids races. Top work to the FOUR brave little chargers who took to the start line. I hope they were all rewarded with a hot chocolate post race. The tough conditions were also difficult for the photographers meaning there are no muddy pictures of anything after the first race.
The final race of the day was a combined race featuring Women’s CX, B grade men’s CX and the open category which had to competitors on unicycles. In the B grade men’s it was a very fast start from Brent Dawson who would lead the race early on in the filthy conditions showing all that canti brakes are not dead. But it was Ben Cirulis who was the strongest and took the win ahead of Dylan McGrath in only his second race with Brent Dawson hanging on for third.
The Women’s CX had a competitive field, but series leader Fiona Morris almost didn’t make the start after destroying her derailleur in practice. Thankfully Australian Cyclocross Magazine’s very own Christine Carter sacrificed her race to lend Fiona her bike as Christine is the only other person rolling around on a 48cm frame. The racing was tough in the women’s field with many positional changes throughout the race. It was Gina Ricardo who took the win riding smoothly and looking the most comfortable in the mud. Claire Aubrey also had a solid race and was racing for the win until a mid race mechanical meant her shifter no longer did its job. But Claire managed to fight back and claim second place ahead of Genevieve McKew in third.
Congratulations to everyone that turned out on a truly challenging day. The day’s organisers and volunteers were very happy to finally get home to a hot shower and if you see them around deserve your thankyou’s.