NSW Cyclocross State Championships 2014
Posted by auscxmag
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words: auscxmag photography: Riding Focus
Cyclocross Newcastle held Round Three of their 2014 series which also doubled as the New South Wales Cyclocross Championships. Shannon Lister and his team had promised a big day and the sound of the techno pumping at 10am coming from the velodrome as I unpacked my car across the street signalled that the crew at Cyclocross Newcastle would deliver that promise.
In complete opposite to the previous day’s thunderstorms and cold conditions Sunday was a perfect winters day with blue skies and warm sun. The course set for the day had all the usual features you expect to see at Newcastle velodrome with plenty of corners and after the corners there were more corners, followed by a spiral (a never-ending corner in essence) in the centre of the velodrome then pinch climbs on the velo hill and of course the tunnel of noise that is canteen corner. The course also made use of the brand new crit track at the facility which provided an excellent start/finish straight.
The first race of the day featured the championship event for the women as well as the open category race for anybody not contesting championship titles. The women’s race had a total of twelve entrants including local former professional cyclist Oenone Wood, track specialist Lizanne Wilmot and 2013 NSW CX Champion Lindsay Gorrell.
From the gun in the women’s race Lindsay Gorrell took off like a rocket with an aim of reaching the first corner which featured a barrier at the base of a climb ahead of the field and bunny hop before riding away from the field up the hill. Gorrell was followed not far behind by Lizanne Wilmot (wearing a santa hat for Christmas in July), and under 15 rider Sally Potter in third. Somewhere between the start and the first few corners Oenone Wood had dropped her chain and lost many places now at the back of the field. Lindsay Gorrell put her technical skills on display as she rode away from her competitors unchallenged to take back to back state titles. Behind her there were plenty of thrills and spills as Wilmot conceded her second place by crashing and fading further behind as a result. Oenone Wood rode a consistent race picking of competitors slowly as she clawed her way back to second place on the podium. Young Sally Potter held a podium place for most of the race but was overtaken by Briony Mattocks who went on to claim third place in her first ever attempt at Cyclocross.
As the men contesting the various championship categories warmed up, it was the kids turn to take to the course with a participation race. Lots of smile from the future stars which was fantastic to see. I cannot say if it was due to their smaller size but many of the little competitors handled the tight corners better than the adults who would compete in the following race.
The final race of the day included almost 60 men spread over five categories. Under 17, Under 19, Elite, Masters 1 – 3 and Masters 4+. Looking at the start line it was clear that all the categories would be hotly contested. Chris Aitken and Garry Millburn were both present in the elite category, Michael Potter and Nick Smith in the Under 19’s as well as Scott Wines, Carl Fokkema and Gary Harwood in the Masters categories.
Although lined up as per category it was a mass start with almost a full lap of the crit track before riders would see dirt. At the start it was a rarity to see Garry Millburn not get the holeshot, it was Chris Aitken who would lead the field through the first corner with Millburn hot on his heels. Behind, there was a touch of wheels mid pack and some riders went down unfortunately abandoning the race before completing a lap. It has been the case all season in NSW and Sunday was no different with Garry Millburn and Chris Aitken battling each other ahead of the rest of the race. Behind them a chase group formed consisting of Trenton Day, Scott Wines and Michael Potter. Millburn and Aitken distanced themselves from the rest of the field but were never more than a wheel length apart for the entire race, coming down to a sprint for the finish line with Garry Millburn doing enough to have time to zip up his skinsuit and raise his arms in victory across the finish line leaving Aitken again having to settle for second place. Local rider Trenton Day claimed third place in the elite category.
In the Under 19’s it was local rider Byan Dunkin who beat his more fancied rivals of Michael Potter and Nick Smith into second and third respectively in his first race on a cyclocross bike.
The Masters 1-3 category was won convincingly by Scott Wines, while Carl Fokkema, Mike Cameron and Phillip Gray fought for minor placings. On the day Mike Cameron was given second place and Carl Fokkema third, but the following day it was announced that Mike Cameron was disqualified for not travelling in the direction of the course to gain access to the pit for a mechanical problem meaning Carl Fokemma officially placed second with Phillip Gray third.
In Maters 4+ it was a hotly contested race between Gary Harwood and Jeff Curtes. After battling throughout the race Harwood gained a race winning advantaged when Curtes crashed in a loose corner with Theo Bougatsis claiming third.
The day was a terrific success combining excellent racing with a fantastic atmosphere and a professionally run feel. Shannon Lister, Anthon Lloyd-Jones and everyone else at Cyclocross Newcastle and their sponsors should be commended in holding a successful 2014 NSW Cyclocross Championship which really did put on display just how much Cyclocross has grown in NSW