The Inaugural JM Homes Torquay Criterium, race 4 in the Summer Criterium Series was raced in ideal conditions on Saturday evening. Large fields in all grades and an abundance enthusiastic supporter on the sidelines made for a wonderful event with some aggressive and spectacular racing.
The GCC juniors got first look at the new course, enjoying the wide-open roads. Fraser Clarke taking the win just ahead of Xavier Starling.
A large D Grade field hit the start line, including a few first timers racing with GCC. It also great to the three female starters in the race, Madeleine Starling, Emma Keogh & Georgie Mervin for her first race. As has been the pattern in D grade of late, racing was aggressive from the start. The field constantly splitting, then reforming again as the race pace constantly changed. The JM Homes Surf Coast sprints were keenly contested. Kane Bridger using some of his speed developed on the track to take the win with newcomer Darren Brayshaw taking the second. Things settled in the bunch as the laps ticked by, but young Kellen Harper hit out with just over a lap to go, the bunch were unable to close the gap taking the win. Darren Brayshaw closed to with ½ a second on the line for 2nd and the improving Curtis Pilcher 3rd Place. Average race speed over 36kphh.
There was no messing around in C grade, with an unrelenting pace throughout the race. Riders were willing to share the load, which saw a number of riders lose contact as the racing continued. Any breaks off the front were very short lived. Harry Clark made the best of his opportunity taking both the JM Homes Surf coast sprints, but paid for the effort as he was dropped from the front bunch late in the race. In the end it came down to 6 riders with Adrien Limsowtin proving the quickest and taking the win by a clear margin from new comer Steve Whitford. The ever consistent Steven Douglas getting home in 3rd place. Another cracking race for those on hand.
Another large field for B grade which saw the return of past club crit champion Tom Bastian. Not long into the race Hawthorn CC rider Corey Basaraba broke away solo from the field, however the large bunch were not prepared to let him go that easily and slowly reeled him in after some solid turns from a few riders. In the battle for the sprint primes Pat Kelly and Corey won the 1st & 2nd sprint primes respectively by comfortable margins. In the closing stages Connor Flett was hoping to, as he did last week sneak away with only a few laps to go. The move saw him joined by Adam Cullen but the bunch were having none of it. With the bell ringing for the last lap it was still anyone’s race. Coming out of the last corner and insight of the line, it was Ash Leone off the back of big summer of training that took the win & raising a fist in triumph after he crossed the line. Nick Lanham after stepping up from C grade only a couple of weeks ago took 2nd with Troy Baker a close 3rd place. The first 13 riders finishing within 4 seconds of the winner showing just how close the race was.
The crowd that was on hand to watch the racing were again treated to a cracking race in A Grade to round out the evening. After the initial neutral lap, it did not take long before for the wick to be lit and a number of searing lap times put down at around 45kph. After a frenetic opening the moment the speed dropped below 40, someone would attack. Travis Edwards one of the main players driving the bunch with relentless intent. Coming into the first of the sprint primes, Peter Arch went hard to take the spoils in the first sprint prime after crossing to a couple of riders off the front just ahead of Jason Marsh. Jarrod Bailey claiming the second. James Goodall was active throughout, trying his luck escaping off the front or pulling back a dangerous break. With 5 minutes of racing left, Nick Rhodes took off solo. In an incredible ride he held the bunch at bay for a total of 6 laps. With 3 laps to go he looked a winner but a couple of big turns from some riders got him back within sight and rounding the second last bend with 300m to go Nick was caught. A brave ride so agonisingly close to the finish. The sprint was always going to be a tight on, Jarrod Bailey timing his run through the second to last corner to find the front and hold on for the win, just 0.062 ahead of Tim Bennett. Travis Edwards rounding out the podium. As was the case last week, the average speed was very high at over 42kph. Jarrod doing the last lap at over 53kph. A great race too round out the evenings racing.
Big thanks to everyone that got along to support the event, which created such a great atmosphere along the road and the riders who put on a great show. A special thanks to JM Homes Surf Coast for their assistance and support of the event. Also Furphy Beer for their contributions to the evening.
In addition, over $60 was raised for a local charity through sausage and drinks sales, which is a great result.
Full race results can be found here; https://results.sporthive.com/events/PC1494049