B grade start the Series with a win
New Year, new Series, new team kits, even some new faces, but still the same old grading and handicap issues and after how many years?
90 riders on the start line for Round 1 of the 2012 Real Insurance Pointscore Series and the Handicapper decides to throw the form book out the window. Stewart Campbell lining up in B grade was the biggest surprise. Barely 4 weeks ago he almost lapped the field in the Masters support race at the Cronulla International Criterium. And just to rub it in true ‘Computer’ style, Campbell’s new club jersey sports green and gold sleeve bands to signify a masters national title win on the track. Don’t remember 30 times National Track Champion Gary Sutton ever turning up to a club criterium with national sleeve bands.
Duncan Houston is a young rider making his way through the grades and he was handed out a start in A grade. Not surprising he ended up watching much of the race from the sidelines. With only a smallish field of 20 riders in A grade, many still recovering from a punishing race at the National Titles 2 days earlier, it was inevitable the 40 strong B grade bunch were going to take first round points and prizemoney, especially with Stewart Campbell doing regular 1 lap turns.
Sitting pretty in their distinctive white and black kit amongst all the grading and handicap mayhem was the most successful team at Heffron this summer, the Hed Wheels quartet of Warren Doyle, Brent Dawson, Matt Loupis and Nick Wood. With A grade effectively out of the race Warren Doyle was an easy winner to pick something commentator Paul Craft called with still a 2 laps to go. Stewart Campbell held on for second while Jack Bennett’s 3rd place overall proved he’s certainly outgrown his comeback in C grade. John Peppard, another A grade rider stuck in B grade clothing came fourth in front of a solid ride by up and coming youngster Patrick Sharpe.
By the time A grade got to the line, the race was well and truly over but Phill Grenfell still managed to show Liam Kelly who the $50 A grade envelope belonged to.
If the Eastern Suburbs grading policy to leave riders in the grade they begin the Series in prevails, Warren Doyle looks set to continue his winning ways (four B grade wins and a second from five starts). Stewart Campbell will continue to drive the pace in B grade to maintain the Hed Wheels team supremacy over the more highly ranked GPM team. Jack Bennett will continue to enjoy easy pickings in C grade. Easts riders will be able to start in any grade they want because it appears the lack of a ranking system allows them to, while everyone else will just hope they don’t get on the wrong side of the handicapper.
Eleven races to go in the Series which concludes on 27th March. Riders are required to have a 2012 CA license and must have approved club clothing.
Real Insurance Series (2012) - Round 1
1. Warren Doyle (Manly)
2. Stewart Campbell (Bicisport)
3. Jack Bennett (Lidcombe Auburn)
4. John Peppard (Easts)
5. Patrick Sharpe (Randwick Botany)
1. Jack Bennett (Lidcombe Auburn)
2. Jason Young (Bicisport)
3. Chris Tune (Randwick Botany)
1. Phil Grenfell (GPM Racing)
2. Liam Kelly (Caravello)
3. Ritchie Lang (Rapha Condor)
1 Warren Doyle 7
2 Stewart Campbell 5
3 Jack Bennett 3
4 John Peppard 2
5 Patrick Sharpe 1