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Race roundup for round 5

by Carl Brewer last modified 2009-03-04 19:19

Cool and windy, hot and close racing

Race roundup for round 5

Big Andew Shannon and Gary Jackson dead-heat in an A grade round

After a number of regulars were unable to attend this round, the organisers were aprehensive, but need not have been, as a few newcomers to our series came down to have a go and a healthy field of 23 (22 after a scratching) meant quality fields for all grades.

A stiff and gusty southerly wind made flying 200's a challenge, but that didn't stop Chris Dann, Chris Ray, Ben Schofield, Craig Towers, Julian Vince, Martin Lama, Pat Dougherty and Robbie Verkes from setting their best times so far this series.  We also welcomed back to racing Rob Tidey and John Lewis and had big Andrew Shannon as well as regulars Chris Ray and Gary Jackson to really push Barry 'The Wizard' Woods in A grade.

When the 200's were done the grading saw a few newcomers to A grade, notably the dramatically improving Martin Lama moving up by virtue of a very good 200 and also Robbie Verkes made the step up.  A, B and C grades were all seperated by less than 0.8 of a second across each grade, which made for some very close and exciting racing.  We also welcomed newcomer to match sprinting Penny Robinson from Carnegie-Caulfield, and despite a very slow flying 200 she rode well after warming up and enjoyed the day's racing. The Wizard was way off the pace in his flying 200, perhaps fatigued from the previous day's Blackburn Club championships where he won the kilo. How would A grade pan out?

The matchup of the day was between Gary Jackson and Andrew Shannon in A grade, the result a dead heat that even the camera couldn't split.  A number of other races were very hard to call, with Carl Brewer just edging out Rob Tidey in an early B grade round by the slimmest of margins and many other races nail-bitingly close.  B grade was almost all tied up at the end of the rounds, with only Chris Dann clear and undefeated on 15 points, with Carl, Peter and Rob all on 12, forcing a countback to flying 200's to determine who raced for what in the finals in that grade.

In D grade Karen Wiggins and Merv Tracey won through undefeated to the 1v2 final, with Karen taking the win in the end in a closely contested race, with Krissy Dundas taking 3rd from an improving Alex Vaughan.  C grade saw Pat Dougherty taking 3rd from training partner John Lewis and was won by Wayne Arazny over Ben Schofield, both riders improving dramatically. B grade was taken out by Rob Tidey after a slow start in the rounds, once he found his way around the track he was unstoppable, beating Chris Dann in a tightly contested sprint for 1st in grade, with 3rd going to Peter Vlahos with a well timed early attack dropping notorious short-sprinter Carl Brewer early in their race for 3rd in grade.

So it was down to A grade to end the day.  The race for 3rd place was between Gary Jackson and Chris Ray.  With points and pride on the line they took off but an error at the finish line with a bell ring missed meant the round was to be re-run after the 1st place final was run.  So it was The Wizard, still undefeated through the series, up against big Andrew Shannon, undefeated (but one dead heat) on the day.  Who would prevail?   To the sounds of Rocky, the Wizard held the lead in front of Big Andrew and ended up with the loot.  In the re-run of the 3rd place final Chris Ray prevailed and took the final prize for the day.

In the washup, Karen Wiggins beat The Wizard for the daily aggregate with a 0.08s lead after the grading scale was applied to her flying 200 time, as she and The Wizard were the two undefeated riders on the day.  The Wiz doesn't leave empty handed though, he's 13 points clear in the series aggregate and thus is guaranteed the major series prize of the Bontrager track wheels, but the race is on for 2nd place, the new Bontrager RXL race shoes are a very desireable 2nd prize and that is still very-much up for grabs.

Along the way we raised $683 for the Red Cross bushfire appeal thanks to the generosity of Gary Jackson (Riviera Cycles), Peter Holloway (Cycle Science Mitcham), Nathan Larkin (Rays Bicycles) and aboc Cycle Coaching, as well as a special thanks to Alex Vaughan and the Vlahos family.

Round 6 on the 5th of April promises to be a cracker.  Be there.

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