Nash Kent snatches Cycle Nation season opener
After last weeks wash out Tuesday night summer racing returned to Heffron Park with the biggest turnout and fanfare the race has experienced in it’s celebrated 26 year history. The newly landscaped finishing area and grass bank provides spectators a far more user friendly environment to watch racing which is again proudly supported by Cycle Nation and Real Insurance.
Some things never change at Heffron Park and the 50kph NE wind was a rude welcome for the 116 riders lining up to compete in the graded 30kph handicap around one of the most challenging 2km circuits in the country. The big influx of riders unfortunately caught ESHPOC (Eastern Suburbs Heffron Park Organising Committee) off guard and a cap on grade numbers was suddenly announced at 5.50pm – bit of a let down when you’ve rushed out of work at 5pm, ridden from the other side of town only to discover you can’t race. Might be time for an online entry system.
So with 44 in C grade, 41 in B grade and 31 in A grade racing got underway with some new faces, lots of old faces, some coming off good form but most just happy to be racing and hoping the form would come. Lots of family connections, with 3 Father/Son entries with the Lang’s (Roland and Ritchie), Aitchison’s (Tony and Keegan) and Hamill’s (Chris and Julian) along with the Williams, Cridland and Malhorta bros and bro/sista Jay and Brie Dutton. Luckily there was only one Conceicao.
B and C grade were off to enthusiastic starts, but the power of A grade was always going to put them in the box seat in the closing 5 laps. The Bike Bug train of Sam Rutherford, Ed White, Andrew Crawley and Julian Hamill were doing a fine job for their designated sprinter Phil Grenfell but there was still a 30 strong C grade bunch to catch on the bell lap. East’s junior Brad Fraser went for the do or die escape from C grade but 2.5km is a long way on you own in a 50kph headwind.
Liam Kelly continues to draw the attention of the commissaries/officials, this time by deciding to jump back into the race on the bell lap after puncturing inside 3 laps to go. Clearly too sexy for the rule book. After negotiating a path through C grade on the last pimple it came down to a mano mano sprint between local Club speedster Nash Kent and neo pro Ritchie Lang. Not for the first time recently it was Kent who won the battle from the more fancied full time rider Lang.
Luke Cridland has been sharpening up his racing over the past few weeks at Sutherland’s Waratah Park crits and showed his good form with third in front of wily Masters rider Warren Doyle. James McDulling got some prizemoney and reward for the Bike Bug contingent with 5th place.
Experience counts for a lot to score a result at Heffron Park on a Tuesday night and perhaps some of the newer riders might watch and learn before throwing their inconsiderable inexperience around.
Even if there’s no financial reward for the lower grade placings, there’s still plenty of glory and it’s the familiar faces that will be basking in it over the next week. Nathan Bonarius and John Peppard continue to benefit from the Handicapper’s failing eyesight and easily filled the B grade places – same tune as last year.
Fabio Petro is another grade hopper, this week benefiting from a start in C grade and easily distancing himself from Chris Green and Keegan Aitchison in the last lap scramble.
Real Insurance Summer Series Results
1. Nash Kent
2. Richard Lang
3. Luke Cridland
4. Warren Doyle
5. James McDulling
B Grade first over the line: Nathan Bonarius
C Grade first over the line: Fabio Petro
The Real Insurance Summer Series consists of 6 rounds with the final Trophy Race on Tuesday 20th December. Although there are no official Series competition at this point, CycleNation will be doing a ranking for the Summer Series with the best 3 results out of 6 to count.
Registrations open from 5pm, racing starts at 6pm.