The Vets Criterium Championships is always an interesting affair with riders pitted against others by age groupings and not grades. This results in some races seeing E graders up against A graders and sometimes the odd upset with a lower grade rider able to out manoeuvre their higher graded opponent. Regardless, it’s great experience for everyone competing as you get to race against riders who you wouldn’t normally ride against.

Photos for W, M5 & M6 courtesy Tim Minehan:

Women Div 1 (30-39)

2 riders to contest the youngest age group of the day. Newcomer to the club Tess McLachlan who only started racing just before xmas up against Gill Lugg. The two were in amongst more seasoned riders from other age groups and rode very strong through the entire race. It came down to a final sprint with Gill just edging out Tess for the win.

Women Div 2 (40-49)

Another battle for the history books. Both Ally Roche and Kirsty Cummin swapping the lead throughout the race amongst Div 1 and Div 3 riders. The sprint finish was the closest of the day in any race with Ally edging out Kirsty by about 1 tyre tread.

Women Div 3 (50-59)

4 riders began the race. Terry Moore, Sally Thomson and Elizabeth Lowe rode a cracking pace with the Div 2 and Div 1 riders. Terry attacked a few times to try to break the rhythm of the other riders, but each time they fought back and got her wheel. Once again a sprint finish with thankfully several pairs of eyes on the finish line to help me with Terry Moore taking the win ahead of Sally Thomson and Elizabeth Lowe in 3rd.

Men Div 9 (Age 75+)

The most experienced riders of Bruce Jones, Bernie Crowe and Lindsay Graham lined up like they have many times before. Each knew how to run their own race and after 5 mins Lindsay and Bernie had dropped Bruce and were setting a solid pace keeping up with those young “whipper snapper” riders the 70-74 & 65-69 age groupers. With enough time on the clock, Lindsay put some hurt into the race and finally managed to drop Bernie off his wheel. At one stage it looked like Bruce was going to reel in Bernie but it was not to be with Lindsay taking out 2017 honours ahead of Bernie in 2nd and Bruce in 3rd.

Men Div 8 (Age 70-74)

We were looking at a rumble in the jungle matchup between Paul Robey and Graham Hendrie in this age group but all the pre-match hype amounted to nothing with Graham a no-show leaving Paul to set his own pace for 30 mins. Personally it would have been interesting to see a 30min lap from Paul with several track stands, a kip down the southern end, and maybe a pitstop for a coffee in a single lap, but Paul rode like a demon for 30 mins at times tacking onto the back wheel of other riders which I allowed in the instance as it didn’t disadvantage anyone. Paul Robey-1st

Men Div 7 (65-69)

An interesting race this one with Mark Taylor, Rico Fitch amongst the hot favourites. 2 laps into the race and Mark showing the red hot form he is in this season rode away from the pack and proceeded to Time Trial the next 25 mins of the race. Everyone else was going to have to work for 2nd and 3rd place as with 5 mins to go, Mark had their back wheels in sight and was planning the ultimate in cycling which was to lap the chase group. 1st Place- Mark Taylor, 2nd- Rico Fitch, 3rd-John Ignatius

Men Div 6 (60-64)

5 riders started the race but this was quickly whittled down to 4 as one rider found the pace too quick into the stiff southerly breeze. Tony Beasley and Steve Simms tried a mini break but were reeled back in after 1 lap. Then Tony Beasley who is a much stronger rider now after a season of track racing under his belt, put on another attack and held a 100mtr break with 2 laps to go. This proved a distance too great to chase for the other riders as Tony went on to record the win ahead of Steve Simms in 2nd and Owain Tilley in 3rd. Ed note: Steve I have your silver medal and you’ll get this posted out to you.

Men Div 5 (55-59)

The biggest field of the day with 14 riders starting. This division contained everything from supremely fit A graders, B graders who always finish in the top few each week right through to E graders who were intent to show their more fancied rivals how it’s done in E. 7 mins into the race, a not unexpected surge by Mark Harris split the group with only Dave Mullins able to tag onto Mark. The two then worked together to build a big lead over the chase group. Discussion was held in the crowd on how good Dave Mullins was riding being able to hold onto Mark as each lap counted down. But with 5 mins to go, Mark surged again and finally scooted away. Mark then set his sights onto lapping the chase group showing a style and speed that the others could only look to as he cruised past them effortlessly. With Mark Harris assured of 1st place and Dave Mullins riding out an excellent race for 2nd place, the battle for 3rd was where it was at with Nick Boylan, Chris Nolan and Rob Langridge all pushing hard over the last 2 laps, but it came down to a sprint finish with Mark Stevenson showing who’s the boss pumping out more wattage than the entire South Australian electricity grid combined to take 3rd place.

Men Div 4 (50-54)

5 riders signed on for Div 4. Several attacks during the early phase of the race sorted out the pecking order for the rest of the race. In the end Sean Ifland showed the experience of A grade racing taking the win ahead of a sprint between Chris Short and Roger Northcote with Chris edging out Roger. 1st- Sean Ifland, 2nd- Chris Short, 3rd- Roger Northcote

Men Div 3 (45-49)

A good field of 12 riders and it was a field of quality with A & B grades well represented. This was probably the most wide open race for the men’s divisions as at least half of the field could have shone on the day to take the win. And the racing did not disappoint with an early attack by Nathan Spillane with a chase led by Tim Minehan. Counter attacks were led by Marc Vroomans and Paul Connor and Stephen Blackburn. The lead see-sawed many times over the latter half of the race. On the final lap, Marc Vroomans was at the head of a group containing Paul Connor, Stephen Blackburn before Christophe Barbaret and Seymour Saville-Boss caught their wheels. A tactician might have thought Marc was not going to survive such a long lead out, but coming around the final bend, he was holding everyone else’s wheel at bay to take the sprint win ahead of Paul Connor and Stephen Blackburn in 3rd.

Men Div 2 (40-44)

Strategic plays by most of the riders regarding the sign-on caught yours truly by surprise as when I signed on with 15 to go there was only 1 other rider and here I was thinking I had a chance only to be confronted by a cream of the crop at the start line. A & B riders a plenty and 3 out of the 8 riders called Ben, so surely I would have placed a bet on someone starting with Ben taking the win? Luckily I’m not Tim Simona and didn’t back myself as my 250 mtr warm up showed 10 mins into the race where I took up the more familiar surrounds of the sidelines to watch the rest of the race. It was a final lap shootout between several A graders with Ben Carmody taking the win ahead of Andrew Murrell and Peter Young in 3rd.

Men Div 1 (35-39)

The young guns, born to fly and fly they did. 3 riders started with Adam Potts facing the prospect of having to work out how to defeat the two other team Quon riders. Alas any strategy would have been futile with team Quon clearing out early and it was little surprise with both Quon riders coming out of A grade. In the end they lapped Adam several times and also caught Div 2 and went past them like they were standing still. Ben Morrison showed his killer form from this season by winning the sprint ahead of Peter Kitchen and Adam Potts in 3rd.

Thanks to the great number of helpers on the day:
Stjepan Hirsler who is showing great recovery from his heart scare
John Paul De-Souza who volunteered early in the week
Rob Langridge who put in some commentary after his race
Paul Connor who covered me whilst I put in my abysmal performance
And of course Tom Roberts our ever reliable sports med who would rather a calm day at vets racing than the rough and tumble of BMX racing.

Ben Davis
Race Referee


Photos for W, M5 & M6 courtesy Tim Minehan: