Newcastle CX – Round 2

09
June
2014

Posted by auscxmag

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words: auscxmag     Photography: riding focus

 

Cyclocross Newcastle was held on the Sunday of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend and to celebrate another year of Queen Lizzie the hunter Region put on a great impersonation of British weather. In the days leading up to the event the Newcastle area received over 60mm of rain.

After days of rain, clear skies greeted racers and spectators at the Newcastle Velodrome. I am sure I am not the only one who loves the sound of a DJ cranking tunes as I arrive to a cyclocross race and this is something I always get at Newcastle. Canteen corner had again been set up as the main area with a new addition of the Focus Bikes tent beside the DJ tent and commentator’s position.

 

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The course for round two was very different from previous rounds as course designers Shannon Lister and Anthony Lloyd-Jones had to be creative to work around the current construction of a criterium circuit at the venue. The result was a compact course with many features including multiple 180 degree off camber corners, pinch climbs, a banked section near canteen corner that forced all riders to dismount and run and of course there was the mud. Lots and lots of mud! The whole front section of the course was a giant mud puddle requiring plenty of skill to ride smoothly.

First event of the day was the Open division for those either not on a ‘cross bike or those new to racing. It is always an interesting race to watch as it is a mix of young mountain biker’s looking for a hit-out, the older crowd satisfying their racing urge and plenty of riders looking for nothing but fun. From the gun Brian Duncan hit the front and gapped the rest of the field before he had even left the velodrome. From there he did not look back over the 40 minute race almost lapping the entire field on his way to victory. I have it on good authority that he will not be permitted to enter the open category again and is in search of a cross bike! Sam Welbourne rode a strong race to move through the field and finish second, with Guy Brown in third.

 

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Next up was the kids race. Racing took place on a modified course. When I say ‘modified’ what I mean is that any section that was not ankle deep mud was removed for the kids race. The children and their parents should be commended for the way they tackled the mud with huge smiles on their faces. I pity the mothers doing the laundry when they got home, but it was worth it for the amount of fun delivered.

 

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Final race of the day was the CX grade, and it promised to be a hard race. Joining round one winner Chris Aitken was in-form rider Garry Millburn, Scott Wines, junior Australian representatives Nick Smith and Michael Potter, as well as Mark Chadwick of Focus HED CX team who had travelled from Adelaide or the event.

 

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With a generous prize on offer for the holeshot the start, which consisted of one-and-a-half laps of the velodrome, strung riders out quickly before exiting the gate for the first lap. Riders quickly sorted themselves out and as expected Chris Aitken and Garry Millburn emerged at the front to begin what would become a two man battle for the next 55 minutes. Aitken and Millburn constantly swapped the lead as they tested each other to try find any weakness. Millburn took the lead for the final time just ahead of the bell for the final lap, before putting in an attack on foot through the run section which was enough of a gap to see him ride clear of Aitken and take the win. Further back, an interesting battle was going on between Michael Potter, Mark Chadwick and Scott Wines who were essentially riding for third place on the podium. Potter held third place for much of the race, but Scott Wines and also Mark Chadwick eventually overtook the tiring youngster with Wines earning a well deserved third place. Further again behind was the rest of the field who were either in mini-battles with the riders near them or in their own personal battles against the conditions. For me, it was both. I was impressed to see Rob Parbery on my wheel for the first 20 minutes as I battled Shannon Lister for the hell of it.

 

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Oenone Wood was the only woman in the main race, giving many of the boys a racing lesson while riding around with a giant grin on her face for the entire time.

 

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Thanks again must go to Shannon, Anthony and the rest of the team at Cyclocross Newcastle for another well organised and fun event. The third and final round which is also the NSW State Championships will be held in 27 July.

For more amazing photography of the day be sure to check out the ridingfocus.com photo blog

 

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