Victorian CX Series Round 5 p/b Melbourne Cycling League
Posted by auscxmag
Posted in News
words: Courtenay Lee Shoy photography: FreeWheel Images
Round 5 of the Victorian CX series headed out to the Melbourne outer eastern suburb of Scoresby with a dry, fast course (unusual given the recent Melbourne weather!) around the Caribbean Gardens business complex. While not overly technical, the strong winds would certainly play a factor, with a brute of an uphill climb sure to test the legs. Cycling Victoria has organised a great state series and this is reflected with participant numbers – once again over 200 riders turned up across the grades.
Race hosts, the Melbourne Cycling League (MCL) went all out with all sorts of technical wizardry – the flying drones gave plenty of fans the chance to see the race from different angles and live internet feeds provided plenty of interviews and laughs. The coffee van also proved incredibly popular – they actually ran out of coffee before the final races ended!
The first races of the day had Men’s C, Women’s B, Juniors and the Open Grades all starting within a few seconds of each other. With the short lap times (under 5 minutes), rider traffic was always going to be an issue, however the fields did spread out quickly with small groups forming, allowing riders a small break in the tough headwind sections. In Men’s C, Clint Perrett absolutely dominated, riding away for the win by almost 2 minutes. In Women’s B, Nadia Combe showed she was ready for promotion to A Grade with a strong win – her and second place getter Dale Maizels managed to lap the rest of the field. Congratulations also to Adam Boyd (Juniors), Aydn Finlay (Men’s Open) and Suzie Latta (Women’s Open) who all earned their spot on the top step of the podium.
The Men’s A race was the next race to get underway and it certainly attracted an elite group of riders looking for the win, including series leader Paul Redenbach and his fellow Flanders Nemisis team mate Steve Cusworth, Ben Walkerden (current Junior Men’s National Champion) and Brad Clarke (3rd place in Round 4). With 55 starters and the wind approaching gale force, “roadie” tactics appeared to come into play with riders rolling turns on the straight sections of the course. However early on, former NRS rider Dylan Newell threw that idea out the window, attacked solo and escaped. A chase group formed comprising of Redenbach, Walkerden, Clarke and Adrian Jackson (in his comeback race after his Round 1 shoulder dislocation), however Newell provided unstoppable on the day with an incredible display of brute strength and power, actually increasing his lead over the chase group during the race and winning by over a minute, with Redenbach grabbing 2nd and Walkerden 3rd in a bunch sprint for the minor placings.
The final races of the day had Men’s B and Women’s A sharing the course, with the Men’s B field of 60 racers starting around 90 seconds ahead of the 16 ladies. After clean sweeping the first 2 rounds of the National Series, the formidable Team WillyLocke duo of Naomi Williams and Bec Locke appeared the women to beat, with Mel Anset, April McDonough, Josie Simpson and Tessa Fabry the other strong contenders. Very early on, Williams and Locke displayed their dominance working together to establish a strong lead over the rest of the field, passing the majority of the Men’s B field. A front wheel change halfway through the race meant Williams had to take a longer than expected pit stop, slightly opening the door for 3rd placed Anset to make inroads, however Team WillyLocke were not to be denied, with Locke taking 1st place, Williams 2nd and Anset taking the final podium position. With the National Championships only a month away, both Williams and Locke would have to considered serious contenders for the Elite Ladies Title and the coveted national skinsuit.
The Men’s B grade race was a much closer affair with only 5 seconds separating the podium places. Congratulations to Greg Thorne for taking out the win and earning a possible promotion to A Grade next race!
Thanks to MCL for hosting what turn out to be a great day of racing. Also a big thanks to the FOJ crew for providing invaluable assistance with supplying bunting and equipment. Well done all!