Round 3 of the Club Champs was always going to be a fast and furious affair, as riders headed over to Heffron Park to partake in the Criterium Round of the 2012 MWCC Club Championships. The riders were gate crashing the SUVelo series and with so many riders in the sky blue, it ensured that MWCC not only dominated their races, but also had some very interesting internal battles within the races as the top 5 riders of each grade would score points in the club champs.
It was a round that saw select riders guarantee their victory in the series – with both Jake Kauffman, Cat Haines, Jarrod Crosby and Henry Baird building insurmountable leads in their categories. They will now head off to the tailors to be measured up for their club champion jerseys as they have been victorious in each round so far. Of course for Jake and Henry this brings back memories of 2011 where they were victorious. Once again these riders will see their names etched onto the Club Trophies, where are those trophies???
It was a little chilly at the start line, however unlike the previous round that was rained out, this time Sydney treated us to nice clear blue skies and it was C & D Grade who would get the racing underway first. In D Grade it was going to be a tussle with all of the main contenders showing up and wanting their piece of glory. While a number of riders trying surging off the front and getting a break going, it would always come back together. The end result was some final lap heroics – sitting in third place in the series was Mitch Dixon and desperate for maximum points he launched out of the hair pin and quickly built a sizeable lead coming into the finishing straight, James Briggs launched next in an effort to collect win number two and he was followed by Ed Shilland hot on his heels.
Mitch Dixon probably regrets going so early, because he started to fade with about 100 metres remaining and he was soon dragged in by Briggs and Shilland who were drag racing up the strip. Briggs was on the right and Shilland was on the left as they were almost level as the line drew closer – they both lunged for the line and it was Briggs who would be able to throw up the victory salute by getting the win by a wheel length. They were followed over the line by Mitch Dixon and then Craig Bryant, John Ward and Chris Hedley.
Briggs now leads the series by 4 points over Ed Shilland and Mitch Dixon in third, however the best Mitch can hope for is a third in the series. Who will he side with in the final round?
In C Grade, pre-race favourites would have to be Jonathan KFC Herb and JJ Hazelton who have the builds of sprinters compared to Greg ‘The Boss’ Reynolds. However it isn’t just power but race smarts that you need racing Heffron. While KFC picked up the points in the early sprint prime, it was The Boss who managed to get himself in a 5 man breakaway with Tick Tock Shackleton shortly after, while JJ and KFC patrolled the bunch and i think they were betting on the break being brought back. However as the laps ticked down, the lead of the breakaway wasn’t being diminished as they continued to work well and roll around, while the main bunch looked at each other and no riders were willing to sacrifice themselves to bring back the bunch.
Tick Tock thought it was 1920, as he had suddenly starting thinking about victory again and The Boss was calculating the points out on the road. The bell lap came and it became clear that the bunch wasn’t going to bring back the escapees. In the end Greg Reynolds would take second in the sprint but more importantly was first over the line for MWCC and Tick Tock snapped up the second place points.
JJ Hazelton and KFC lead the peloton home, however with Tick Tock picking up the valuable second place points, it meant a gap of 4 points to The Boss. The Boss now has a strong lead into the final round, KFC is still looking in with a shot – and JJ will need a victory and the other riders to gain minimal points to have a chance of overall victory.
A massive turn out in B Grade had the whole race looking like a sea of blue. All of the main players had ensured that they would be at the start line and riders where very attentive to who was who. The pace was on from the start as Mr Secretary attacked as soon as the riders rolled out, to collect the first lap points that were secretly up for grabs to snatch another 10 points. There were a few half attacks after that, it wasn’t until the sprint prime that two escapees managed to get away from the group. This select group included Alan ‘Sydney Brick’ Kelly who was also using the laps to do a quick quote for the local Council on getting the course repaved. These riders were quickly out of sight and it looked like they would stay away.
The bunch was a little surprised to suddenly find that they were getting the bell with most expecting another lap ory two before the bell was rung. The escapees still had a solid lead and it looked like they would have the victory wrapped up. They must have been hit by a sniper, because all of a sudden with 500 metres to go they were being brought back into the group. They must have left some massive craters out on course with their explosion on the last lap. Their implosion lead to about 10 MWCC riders swarming to the front as the riders hit the straight. Dean Gale was on the front and he would hold this position all the way to the line, while Billy Sykes challenged close to the line, Deano was able to give him ‘the look’ as they crossed the line. More importantly Sykes was able to finish a bike length in front of Chris Miller and snare the additional points. The Dave Ruben finished in fourth and Garett Paton rounded out the top 5.
We now have an intriguing final round with Billy Sykes holding a two point lead over Chris Miller – will Sykes have the edge over the Balmain hipster in the final round? Other riders will be battling for third overall. Both riders will now be busy recruiting riders for the final round showdown.
The womens race had Cat Sagan Haines and Rebecca Snell roll out, Lynne Clarke was a non starter and unfortunately for her that will be a costly error. Rebecca Snell seemed to have a mechanical and still isn’t over a chest infection and as a result was a DNF in the womens race. Cat Haines and a SUVelo rider quickly shredded the field and it was a two way battle. Cat Sagan was happy to give up victory in the race to the SUVelo rider, knowing that she was collecting maximum points in MWCC race. Cat Sagan now has an insurmountable lead and even though she can’t make the final round, she can not be mathematically beaten.
Jake Kauffman appears to have been given a free ride to the MWCC Club Championship, with another small turn out from our A Grade riders, meaning that consistency alone will give Jake the title. It was a big A bunch made up of a number of other clubs, a two man break away established themselves and would take the ride. Back within the main bunch – Andy Crawley and Dan Bonello were hoping to take some points off Jake and give themselves a chance coming into the final round. However Kauffman managed to over power Crawley who admits that his sprint wouldn’t win a under 12 girls sprint race, with Dan Bonello taking third and Buzz rounding out the fourth place. I don’t think we had 5 entries? Happy to be corrected.
With that victory, Kauffman goes back to back titles and Jarrod Buzz Crosby wraps up the Masters category. So will have to send those trophies off to the engraver. Henry Baird lined up in the B Grade race and with no Danny Scheiner, Henry also gets himself a repeat on the trophy front and has saved his dad the expense of a club jersey by winning one.
Hope everyone had fun and enjoyed a very different style of race compared to our road races. If you want to check out the quality photos that feature in this report – there is a massive gallery over at www.sweatandgears.com of all the races.
See you all at the final round of the series at West Head 12 August.