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Race roundup for round 4

by Carl Brewer last modified 2009-02-02 18:00

Hot and windy!

Race roundup for round 4

Pat and Julian dead-heat in the C grade minor final

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Melbourne's record breaking heat wave relented in time for Round 4 of the Bontrager Summer Sprint Series. However the 24 riders were still asked to endure the hottest and windiest conditions of the series so far and by the day's end, riders, officials and volunteers had well and truly earned a rest and cold drink.

Round 4 was notable for achieving a list of "firsts". The minor C grade final saw the series first dead heat with none of the four line judges able to separate Pat Dougherty from Julian Vince. For the first time Barry Woods was not the fastest qualifier with Brent McKenzie's flying 200 time being six hundredths of a second faster than Barrys. A grade was joined for the first time by the ever improving Martin Lama while organisers allowed our two juniors, Emily Apolito and Krissy Dundas, to compete in the main round the first time as numbers allowed it. Sadly the day also saw the series first withdrawal due to illness when Tristan Bennett, still recovering from an allergic reaction to a bee sting the day before, was forced to withdraw after his first race. Get better Tristan and come race with us again.

A block head wind blowing up the back straight meant personal best flying 200 times were hard to find. Martin Lama was at least able to match his previous best which gave him the right to join A grade regulars Barry Woods, Brent McKenzie and Chris Ray. Martin was competitive all day pushing his opponents all the way but in the end didn't have the speed to match Chris in the minor final. Barry again went through the day undefeated and is the returns to the lead of the series aggregrate after missing round 3 due to family commitments. Brent "Turbo" McKenzie did his best to upset the wizard in the final with some ducking and diving but it was to no avail. Both Brent and Chris had raced the Brunswick Open the night before - an event that included a gruelling 100 lap motorpace - making their respective performances even more commendable.

B grade welcomed some new faces with Carnegie-Caulfield youngster Peter Vlahos making his sprint series debut along with the aforementioned Tristan Bennett. Craig Towers was one rider who did manage a qualifying PB and was promoted to B grade for the first time while Dino Apolito was demoted from A grade following a slower than expected flying 200. The quartet were joined by B grade regulars Carl Brewer, Adam King and Jason Plowman and the racing was once again fast and close with some keenly fought match-ups.

Carl continues to frustrate himself by qualifying up near the top but just failing to notch up the wins. Peter Vlahos showed that despite being nominally tagged as an enduarnce rider, has excellent leg speed including a mean second kick that he used to kick away from Carl and power past Adam. Craig didn't win a race but learned from the experience and is willing to try things against faster opponents. Dino, still ruing his qualifying time disappointment was able to put that aside and go through the day undefeated albeit helped by a bye along the way. In the final he met Jason Plowman with the two literally elbow to elbow for almost two laps before Dino jumped into a long 400 metre sprint and prevented Jason coming around him to take the win. The minor final was an all Carnegie-Caulfield affair where Adam King was able to dictate the race to his younger opponent and hold off Peters late dash for the line.

Chris Dann was easily the fastest qualifier in C grade and rode to form with the Blackburn powerhouse too strong for all comers taking the final against a gallant Nicole Holt who would have been celebrating the absence of Neil Robinson only to find herself against another strong "6 foot something" rider. To many observers Chris appeared to err in the final when he jumped with two laps to go. Nicole was straight onto his wheel and was towed around the track hoping that Chris would fade into the wind. But Chris powered away in the back straight to take an impressive win. The minor final provided the race of the series so far with Pat Dougherty and Julian Vince slugging it out for three laps and unable to be separated at the line. Both riders agreed the dead heat was a worthy result and split the prizemoney and points.

C grade also welcomed newcomer Wayne Arazny who had not long previously started racing at Blackburn on Saturday afternoons. Wayne met the Chris Dann juggernaught in his first race but notched up his first win against Rob Wylie and then put an enormous gap into Pat Dougherty with Pat just able to claw back the margin before the line. Rob Wylie finished the day winless but was smiling nevertheless and continues to learn with each outing. Greg Heasley was impressive with wins against Rob and Nicole but a slow Flying 200 meant he missed a place in the finals after countback.

D grade was a healthy mix of the young, the new and the not so young when juniors Emily and Krissy were asked to join in with "veterans" Merv Tracey and Alex Vaughan, Marika Kahle and necomer Amy Benham. Amy didn't win a race but started and finished each of them with a big smile and despite some obvious nerves showed herself to be very accomplished against more experienced riders. Amy you did great! Please come and ride with us again.

At only 12 years of age Emily Apolito was nonetheless the most experienced track sprinter in D grade and proved herself to be the fastest as well - qualifying quickest and not losing a race all day. To top off a very successful day. Emily also took home the pair of Bontrager race tyres as the daily aggregate winner after the flying 200 scaling was applied.  Showing that the formula works well, for the first time this series each winner from each grade finished with 4 wins so were all tied on points, the scailing to flying 200's worked out as follows :

Barry The Wizard : 12.79 (no adjustment)
Dino Apolito : 13.75 -> 12.85 (-0.9)
Chris Dann : 14.13 -> 13.05 (-1.8)
Emily Apolito : 15.38 -> 12.68 (-2.7)

Merv Tracy probably came closest to beating Emily in the rounds but hooked himself when trying to come around the final bend. In the final, Emily was up against traditional rival and close friend Krissy Dundas. Emily led and kept Krissy in check until the clubroom corner where she jumped for the lane and was able to just hang on from the fast finishing Krissy. Marika Kahle met Merv in the minor final. The two had met earlier in the day when Marika won but Merv reversed the result when it counted with a well timed sprint. Alex Vaughan chalked up his first win of the series and showed he has considerable nounce for track sprinting. Tactically Alex is up there with the best of them and will be a force to be reckonned with when he gets more speed.

The overall aggregate is now very interesting, the two juniors, Krissy and Emily are not elligable for the series aggregate prizes so D grade aggregate points got shuffled after they were removed, and while The Wizard is now back in the lead on 30 points, Marika Kahle is nipping at his heels on 26 points, and there's a gaggle of riders on 23 points threatening to pounce.

Round 5 promises to be a thriller.  Sunday the first of March.  Be there.

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