Sandown Twilight Criteriums
Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011

It was another typically windy night at Sandown which saw the A Grade bunch stick together for the first part of the race. A number of small attacks took place after the first 15 minutes with two or three riders making their move but not being able to stay away for long. The bunch was strung out down the front straight due to a strong cross wind and this was where most of the attacks took place. A strong group of four escaped almost unnoticed containing world class MTBer Paul Van der Ploeg (Search2Retain), Alan Iacuone (O2 Racing), Leigh De Luca (BMC Australia) and Vaughan Bowman (Eltham Cycles). Andrew Stalder (John West Cycling) and Amir Rusi (Drapac Porsche) made a number of attempts to chase across but were unable to keep away from the bunch for long.

A chase group finally went clear with around 8 riders with 20 minutes to go. There were a number of attempts from the main bunch to bridge this gap, but none that were successful. The bunch finally caught the chase group with only two corners to go to see a bunch sprint across the line, but finished well behind the leading four.

Bowman tried to get away on the final climb, but was chased down on the run home. De Luca led the sprint out, but couldn’t match the strength of man mountain Van der Ploeg, with Iacuone third. Rusli won the bunch sprint for fifth ahead of Nick Walker (Fly V Australia)

With the biggest field of the night the 71 riders in B Grade set off at a cracking pace. The pack seemed to be unsettled with many riders attempting to make the break. Zander Hitchcock (Sealys Cycles) produced a strong early attack, but the pack was proving to be very eager to reel him back. Eventually as break of 8 riders took control of the race forcing a uncatchable lead. At the final corner Scott Walkerden (Kelly Cycle Coaching) used his powerful sprint to consolidate his second win at Sandown this season and earning him a ride in A Grade next week. This left the remaining breakaway riders sprinting Mitchell Barry (QuickCycle Coaching) second, Jordan Stannus (Jones Cycles) third, Andrew Heraud (O’Mara Cycles) fourth while Kyle Thompson (CCCC) rounding off the placings well before the rain came down.

The chilly evening air dictated a relatively easy start to the C grade race allowing most riders a lap or two to warm up and a few to join in late after getting stuck tackling race entry cues. It wasn’t long however, before the inevitable attacks came in the form of riders attempting to take advantage of the tail wind on the climb up the back straight. A pair at first and later a group of five managed to get a small gap for no more than half a lap before the attentive bunch reeled them in with further smaller attacks coming to no avail.

With the bunch together in the final laps, it was the sprinters that came to the fore to position themselves for the final push. His eyes set firmly on the prize, Jarrod Jones (Warragul) took the left side of the track to the line for a solid win, followed by two strong men of the bunch, MFB firefighters Daniel Gunn (Mornington) timing his sprint perfectly to get second ahead of Mark Hudson (Lead Out Cycling) in third followed by Kurt Santagada (Blackburn) rounding out the top four places.

D grade began with large numbers and many unfamiliar faces. After two comfortable laps, we were still being joined by late comers, but that didn’t stop Michael Allen (trailmix) taking off down the front straight for a breakaway attempt. However the group was quick enough to react, not allowing any riders to get away so early in the race. Allen put in a solid effort, towing the the grade around for the best part of 3 laps.

The race maintained good pace, with majority of riders still in the main bunch until the unexpected ringing of the bell. This is where the fun began. Final lap, rounding corner one, things got a little close with a few riders eager to finish the race. This soon changed as we all headed up the back straight for the final time with a much appreciated tail wind. An attack from Brendan Clearly (O’Mara) caused the field to work hard up the hill. But even this didn’t separate the main bunch. The race came down to a sprint finish with riders spread across the track. Well done to Sean McIvor who took out the win followed by Nick Dubois in 2nd and Rob Storey in 3rd. Nonie Carr was the first lady home in a strong field of eight women.

A Grade 60 mins 64 starters

1 Paul Van Der Ploeg Mt Beauty
2 Leigh De Luca CCCC
3 Alan Iacuone St Klda
4 Vaughan Bowman CCCC
5 Amir Rusli Malaysia
6 Nick Walker CCCC

B Grade 60 mins 71 starters

1 Scott Walkerden CCCC
2 Mitchell Barry Blackburn
3 Jordan Stannus CCCC
4 Andrew Heraud St Kilda
5 Kyle Thompson CCCC

C Grade 50 mins 68 starters

1 Jarryd Jones Warragul
2 Daniel Gunn Mornington
3 Mark Hudson CCCC
4 Kurt Santagada Blackburn

Women

1 Karin Coles CCCC
2 Emma Lyall CCCC
3 Sonia Throssell CCCC

D Grade 45 mins 62 starters

1 Sean McIvor Brunswick
2 Nick Dubois CCCC
3 Rob Storey St Kilda
4 Ricky Bolmers CCCC

Women

1 Nonie Carr Brunswick
2 Anna Collins CCCC
3 Amber Saunders CCCC

E Grade 30 mins 16 starters

1 Tom Snibson CCCC
2 Liam Jeffries Casey Cardinia
3 Ben Walkerden MTBA
4 Mietta Greig-Hurtig CCCC
5 Georgia Cummings CCCC
6 Alana Field CCCC
7 Jack Throssell CCCC
8 Mitchell Jones Warragul
9 Krista Imberger CCCC
10 Angus Mennen CCCC
11 Abbie Owen CCCC

Next race at Glenvale Crescent, Sunday October 16