Focus CXtwiLITE (2012) - Round 3
With the temperature forecast to be 39Degrees C today it was a very nervous wait for the PACC CX Crew to see if we would run the full distance for tonight’s events with most events likely to be shortened to reduce the risk of riders and officials being affected by the heat. But with a cool(ish) change hitting the city at 4pm, with a few drops of rain were were back in business with overcast conditions and a temperature of ‘only’ 31C by sign-on at 5pm. Special thanks to Marky ‘Sheepstations’ Gregory, Carly ‘Barky’ Light, Tim ‘T Mac’ McEvoy and Gemma ‘G-Train’ Kernich who set up the course from 3pm in the hottest part of the day – a little understaffed in the volunteer side of things today but who would want to walk around in the blazing heat knocking in stakes and tangling with tape? T Mac had come up with a devilishly technical course that took riders twice up (and down) MULCH HELL, through a sand pit, deep mulch corners, and a barrier section with a sandy remount – it was
going to be a course for the skilled tonight and it didn’t disappoint the good crowd of hecklers who lined Mulch Hill.
The first race of the night was the Little Crossers children heading out at their scheduled time of 5:55pm which caught a few other kids out who were a bit late for sign-on. The kids with regular bicycles undertook two laps of a modified course which took off some distance but didn’t remove any of the technical sections so Oliver W (10yo), Jack B (7), Jessica L(11) and Gabriel W (8) headed out for two laps on normal bicycles, while Cohen (4) and Owen (5) tacked one lap on trainer bikes. Oliver was making his return to racing after breaking his arm in November and he was keen to return on good form. Four trips up Mulch Hill didn’t slow him down and he finished just ahead of new PACC rider Jack with Jessica and Oliver’s younger brother Gabriel not very far behind. Cohen found the mulch hill ‘steep’ on the strider bike and finished in style with another new rider Owen cruising in not far behind. Some excellent finish-line skids were executed by some of the juniors in order t
o receive the customary lolly hand ups.
The Open (non-cx) race was next event off, with a much depleted field of only 16 riders lining up including only two women. Sadly the Open race also had the worst race number placement and pinning quality of any race this season, with several riders’ numbers simply impossible to read being not pinned at all on several corners, or positioned so they folded in half as their jerseys rode-up, while other riders took the incorrect numbers at sign-on creating havoc with the lap scoring system. So the results aren’t a great reflection of Port Adelaide CC’s Shaun Lewis’ absolute dominance as he rode away from the rest of the field, while second place rider Nigel Willoughby’s number was not recorded at all until after he had finished, just ahead of interstate visitor Geoffrey Schling (Albury Wodonga) in third. The women’s division was a bit of a scrap between the Port Adelaide CC women at the rear of the field, with rider Lee-Anne ‘Wanahuckalugie’ Fleming calling for a puffer mid ra
ce but still lapping consistently faster than second place Virginia Riches. (ASADA are after you Lee-Anne ;-)
The Womens CX/B-Grade Mens CX combined grade marked the first Express Cargo Preme of the night, with Port Adelaide CC’s Treasurer Alex ‘The Man in the Suit” Bates instructing the Chief Commissaire Catherine Braithwaite to inform the gridded riders that judging the first person over the barriers won the beer Preme. With the CX Women lined up on the front two rows they had a slight advantage over the men behind but it wasn’t to be. Although Tim ‘T-Mac’ McEvoy fell on the grassy corner just prior to the first run up Mulch Hill, discovering a flat rear tyre in the process he recovered by running the top of the hill and riding the sand section to somehow claim the beer Preme before retiring grabbing a spare wheeel and circulating at the rear of the field for the rest of the race. Eventual CX-B winner Sean ‘Sit up’ McKay tangled with Gemma ‘G-Train’ on the mulch section, and then again with Carly ‘Barky’ and several others on the first run up Mulch Hill but made up time well wi
th a blistering (dare we say A-grade) third lap of 3:19 to finish a comfortable 30sec or so ahead of Mark ‘Sheepstations’ Gregory. Kristian Didyk had looked comfortable in second place early, then faded behind Sheepstations in third, but he was caught out on the last lap with David ‘Gunnar’ Filcoff and Tim Bowman on a charge resulting in a great three-way sprint for third with Bowman victorious. Also of note was Ed Westrich, of ‘going over the bars at the barriers’ fame this time trying to improve his reputation by going over the bars on the steepest downhill section of mulch hill.
The women’s CX race saw the return of first CXtwiLITE victor Margaret ‘The American’ Shanafield lining up against last round’s winner Gemma ‘G-Train’ Kernich and the fast improving Carly ‘Barky’ Light, Tara Ross and Sarah ‘Chopper’ Allen, with the field also bolstered with new CX rider and former Masters World Track Champion Vicki Birks on a brand spanking new carbon Focus CX machine thanks to the Bike Station and the return of Debbie Goss keen to try out skills she picked up at Jorg Arenz’s session on the weekend. G-Train, Barky and Ross were locked together at the end of lap 1, but former Canadian CX professional Ross still has the skills from her former career – nailing the hill, the sand and the barrier sections to gap Kernich at every feature as the mistakes crept in and Light faded. The elastic was broken between Ross and Kernich on Lap 3 when G-train derailed a chain on the Mulch Hill with the gap too big to close and Ross powering to the finish line to finish 30sec
clear in her first CX race victory since ‘retirement’. After a slow start Margaret ‘The American’ appeared to work with Sarah ‘Chopper’ Allen to mow down Barky Light on Lap 5 of 7, although it is rumoured that Barky may have taken on ‘medicinal’ Cooper’s refreshments during the race on Mulch Hill. The womens CX category is shaping up to be a great international contest in the final round, with three different women from three different countries winning so far this season.
The A-grade Men’s CX was again a quality field of 20 riders despite the absence of Mark ‘Muddy’ Chadwick who was saving his legs for tomorrow’s Rendition Homes Teams race where he sits in GC contention. This left Jade ‘El Leanio’ Lean as red-hot favourite who entered late with the penalty being called up at the back well behind Josh Smith who was wearing #1. The Express Cargo Preme must have a curse on it, as Josh Smith took full advantage of pole position #1 and grabbed the beer Preme, only to roll a tubular at the bottom of Mulch Hill on Lap 2 and DNF soon after. James ‘Shorty’ Hanus was in good form and he kept Lean within striking distance until Lap 6 where he lost another 15 seconds with Bendigo CC rider Tim Hucker, Jarrod Beare, Aron Huysmans and Evan James all riding with about 10secs gap between each of them. Huysmans must have had an incident on Lap 6, losing about a minute to the leader, but fought back being visibly the fastest rider on the course over the last
half of the race to finish fifth behind winner Lean, 2nd Hanus, 3rd Hucker and 4th a rapidly improving Beare.
Thanks again to everyone that can make this race possible in difficult conditions. The set-up crew, Commissaire Catherine Braithwaite (and the Commissaire clan of Tony and Renee), Paula Hollamby for lap and race timing, David Miller for sign-on, Dennis for sports trainer/first aid services (again untroubled despite the heat) , the peeps from Trott Park Fencing club for the BBQ, Rachel from Cafe2U for the brews, and the Bike Station for Neutral Service and pits. Can’t forget the great sponsors, Focus Bikes, Knog, Champion System, Express Cargo Service and Select Physiotherapy. Thanks also for the great crowd heckling and cheering at various parts of the course!