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Mel Davies

Mel’s Race Report

Motorplex criteriums, 5 December

by Mel Davies

News of the day was that only two A Graders turned out on a bright and sunny day for their 40 minutes of racing joy. 

Leading that race was PointsLeader Clint Thompson, the other Kelana Saleh. 

Folk will be surprised to know Clint retained his jersey just by finishing the event, which was combined with that of the 21 riders representing B Grade’s finest.

The race itself went off with a bang as Ben Khaw punctured less than 50 metres after the start.  

However, it wasn’t his best of days, for after taking a lap out and settling into the comfort of the peleton he had a fall that saw him suffer gravel rash. 

Meanwhile his comrades had taken flight, with Gavin Wark, Ben Phillips, Phillip Craven and Clint Thompson opening up a gap of about 40 metres. After a hard chase Josh Weidman had joined them the second time they passed the start line. 

Never more than 10 seconds ahead of the chasers, they remained out front for three laps before they were absorbed. 

This was the signal for Ben Phillips to have another go, this time in the company of Barry Ryan, the duo staying off the front for 11 more laps.

Meanwhile Philip Craven chased from a place in no-man’s land and caught the leaders with four laps to go. 

With three laps to go, as the sign went up, Barry Ryan went back to the peleton, while Phillip Craven and Ben Phillips put down their heads to extend their lead to 33 seconds when the bell signalled the final lap. With a last lunge, Phil Craven crossed the line first, while Ben Phillips finished some 25 seconds behind, having escaped the remainder of the chasers on the final lap. Darren Dunstan, Mark Shellard and Con Antonas led in the rest.

With a breeze hitting the field of 19 riders in C Grade on two of the three legs of the triangular circuit, it was obvious that something had to give in the peleton. 

Following 15 minutes of steady riding the split occurred, and apart from a few unsuccessful attacks around the 25-minute mark, the much-reduced leading bunch left the result to the sprint. 

This followed an attack at the beginning of the final lap by Peter Morris, but this was quickly closed. 

In a closely-contested sprint, victory went to Saeed Hussein, by a length ahead of Dean Buchanan, who was closely followed by John Liso, Neil Vroomans, Tim James, Mat Myers and Brett Fowler.

D Grade’s race of 30 minutes and two laps was very much a one-man race, being dominated by Craig Bartlett who slipped away half-way through the race. 

Riding strongly, he built up an unbeatable lead that had reached 25 seconds with 2 laps to go. 

While the lead had dropped to 15 seconds at the bell, the chasers had left it too late to bring him back, with the result that he enjoyed a well-deserved victory. 

The chasers, Chris Howard, Rebecca Wheadon, Tim Payne, James Carter, and Mark Leaker, finished in  that order. Alex Brisk who  had worked hard to close the gap, finished four seconds behind the winner.

E Grade had a comfortable field of nine riders, though most of the field soon went into the discomfort zone as Theresa Smith and Bob Stephens attacked and broke away at the end of the second lap. However, the break didn’t last and a lap or two later they were replaced by Tony Clews, Shaun Grein and Cathy Bush. 

After another couple of laps the trio found themselves back in the company of the chasers, but hey then pulled away again while the chasers disintegrated into one’s and two’s. 

Steadily increasing their lead, it looked as if the final result would be decided by  the breakaway group, but this observation was thwarted  when Theresa Smith surprised them  by bridging the gap with two laps to go. 

In a hard-fought sprint was Shaun Grein who took the laurels, while Cathy Bush was second, Tony Clews third, and Theresa Smith fourth.

The Grade Leader jersey points tables have been updated:

A Grade

B Grade

C Grade

D Grade

E Grade