Manly Warringah CC CX Series Round 4
Posted by auscxmag
Posted in News
Words: Sean Couley Photography: ridingfocus
I don’t know about you, but for me from September through until April I almost count the days until its cyclocross season again. But then when ‘cross season starts the next four months are over way too soon. So here I am reporting on the final round of the of the Manly Warringah Cycling Club Cyclocross series presented by Cell Bikes and I cannot believe that Sydney’s premier cyclocross club already have four races in the bag for 2016. It was a double header weekend in Sydney with Western Sydney MTB club holding a race on Sunday meaning the MWCC race had moved to Saturday for July to accommodate. Although a fair bit of rain had fallen across Sydney in the weeks leading up to the race, the days ahead of race day were clear and racing was also to be held under clear sky.
The course set followed a very similar route to round three although for the final round part of the BMX track was added for a little extra fun on the rollers. Along with the BMX track were the mulch hill climb, the Kimbricki run up, multiple horse barriers to negotiate along with some slightly challenging semi-dried ruts left over from round 3.
First race of the day was the combine Elite and Masters men. For those not familiar with racing in NSW let me share a secret… At every race you can guarantee that either Chris Aitken or Garry Millburn will win. To give the race a sporting chance both Millburn and Aitken announced they would be giving the entire field a one minute head start. The race start was no slower and it was Noah Barrow and Nick Smith who would lead the field into the stairs, but it only took Aitken and Millburn two laps to catch the entire field and lead the race. The two handicapped riders set off ahead together and were inseparable for almost the entire race until a trademark last lap attack from Garry Millburn to seal a fourth victory in as many races in the series for 2016. Chris Aitken would again finish second while Nick Smith had a solid race to claim third place in the Elite Category.
In the Masters Category it was all together for the first two laps with Carl Fokkema leading a train including Phil Gray, Mike Cameron and myself. A lack of warm up meant I lost the wheel on lap three, while Phil gray was locked on Fokkema’s wheel. Mike Cameron was always in my sights just ahead, but he succumbed to a puncture with 3 laps remaining. Meanwhile with 20 minutes remaining in the hour long race Fokkema increased the pace and gapped Phil Gray to take the win in Masters with Phil Gray second and myself (Sean Couley) third.
After the festivities of the ever popular junior racing the final race of the day consisted of B grade Men, Open Men and Women’s CX. In the Open men’s race it was a master class from junior mountain bike racer Matt Dinham who finished first in a canter with daylight second. In B grade men racing at the front was close with best mates Nico Bailey and Attaquer’s Stevan Musulin within firing distance of each other the entire race. Bailey looked as if he would take the win, but rolled a tubular off the rim giving Musulin the lead and eventual win. Bailey would nurse his tyre through the remainder of the race to take second with Benjamin Wesser earning third place.
Although there was a small turnout for the Women’s CX category it was to be an interesting battle between NSW’s two most dominant racers of the 2016 season Fiona Morris and Gina Ricardo. From the opening lap Morris and Ricardo were trading blows with each other sharing the lead for most of the race. Both riders had obvious strengths in different parts of the course meaning anybody paying attention was unsure who would take the win. With just under two laps to go in a move very similar to the men’s elite race Fiona Morris attacked and gained a gap for the remainder of the race and also the win with Gina Ricardo having to settle for second. Cycology’s Sarina Tomchin placed third riding her first race of the season.
The podium presentations were all smiles with series sponsors Kask helmets and Cell Bikes supplying prizes in a random draw including a brand new Cell Brunswick CX bike going to Manly Warringah club stalwart Craig Bowra. Another sponsor of the series 4 Pines Brewery made all placegetters happy as beer was presented to all people standing on the podium.
The 2016 Manly Warringah Series has been a definite success and this could not have happened without the guidance of Dave Musgrove who was assisted on every race day by a key group of club volunteers who should all be thanked as the series just would not happen without them. So from me personally I doth my cap to this bunch of legends. Thank you!