National Cyclocross Series – Round 2 – Brisbane
Posted by auscxmag
Posted in News
words: Sean Couley Photography: John McAlinden and Simon Sirotti
Round two of the 2015 National Cyclocross Series travelled an hour up the coast from the Gold Coast to the Queensland capital Brisbane. The Nundah criterium circuit was the location hosted by Brisbane South Mountain Bike Club. It was another perfect autumn day, but at least for round two there was a little bit of cloud cover and a nice breeze to keep the temperature reasonable for racers.
The course prepared by the crew from Queensland Cyclocross made wonderful use of the area with many features that made you forget that it was a mostly flat course. Every conceivable type of corner was on show. Loose dusty corners, tight grippy corners, fast flowing corners and a really fun hammerhead section on a banked hill that was surprisingly tight yet really fun to ride. There were also a set of double barriers ahead of the hammerhead section and the crowd favourite was the crossing of ‘hepatitis creek’ which had a slippery approach ad exit with shin deep water over the top of shin deep mud in the middle.
The round two format followed a similar timeline to round one and again the children’s and Open races began the day before it was once again time for the Male Masters NCXS race. Numbers had swelled compared to the previous day and I suspect this was due to a few local elite riders dropping back after a taste of the previous day’s furious pace. It was a very fast start and with seeding going from youngest to oldest, the older and faster riders took a little longer to make it to the front of the race. But once again after a bit of jostling Michael Ronning first made it to the front group, before going on to lead solo and again run away with the win. Racing was tight amongst the grades and on a personal note I rolled a tubular while leading my category, forcing me to chase for the rest of the race and eventually finish fourth – but that’s racing!
The masters and elite women were next on the start grid, and again the hot favourite was national champion Lisa Jacobs. Showing exactly why she was favourite, Jacobs rode away from the field early and almost looked effortless in her pedal stroke and fluidity over the barriers as she rode herself to a second victory for the weekend. Behind her Oenone Wood and Mel Anset were again locked in a close battle for much of the race, but as the race continued Anset turned the tables on her result of the previous day by riding away from Wood to claim second, with Wood finishing third. Diane Nelson rode her way to a second victory in women’s masters for the weekend to take a series lead.
Final race of the weekend was the elite men’s and I must admit I didn’t see the start as I was waiting at the creek with a large crowd. As the riders came through to approach the creek on the first lap the crowd was amazingly loud as the riders unsuccessfully did all they could not to get their feet wet. Once through a large front group containing the previous day’s winner Paul Van der Ploeg, Chris Aitken, Chris Jongewaard, Garry Millburn, Tom Chapman and Allan Iacuone had formed at the front. The group kept together while leaving the rest of competitiors behind until Van der Ploeg mistimed hopping the barrier section and crashed. This split the front group with Millburn, Jongewaard and Aitken continuing ahead and Iacuone and Chapman being forced to give chase with Van der Ploeg further behind in sixth. The following lap shocked the crowd as this time it was Jongewaard who crashed at the barriers and was forced to give a furious chase to catch Aitken and Millburn. Once on the lead three worked well together to stay away although occasionally testing each other with attacks. As the final laps loomed it was clear there would be a sprint finish between Aitken, Millburn and Jongewaard. Approaching the barriers for the last time all three riders were jockeying for position and as Millburn ran the barrier with lightning speed at the front, Jongewaard again crashed hopping the barriers impeding Aitken in the process. This was the moment that Milburn saw the opportunity to attack and it was more than enough for him to claim a first ever national series win. Chris Aitken finished second with Jongewaard recovering from his crash to place third.
Many thanks must go to all the organisers and volunteers in Queensland over the weekend for what was a very successfully run weekend of racing.