By Glen Marriott and DeMac
The first of the Full Steam Ahead Carpet Cleaning Bourke St criterium series, was held Sunday, in what some of the whinging A graders described as freezing conditions.
The A Grade race started in relatively innocuous fashion, with most riders using the opening laps to recon the poor state of the roads. Dodging cavernous potholes on Bourke St added to the challenge or the race.
With most riders having relatively fresh legs after a week of incessant morning drizzle, the number of attacks started to increase midway through the race with Kenny, Malacarne, Collins and Joustra getting in most of the breaks. Shane “Rupert” Stiles appeared to have got the dosage wrong and was doing his best yo-yo impersonation in recent times. Jayman Prestidge showed momentary signs of strength but they were brief, of little consequence and he should have spent more time “Focused” on the elapsed race time.
Each time up the hill there were more and more riders tailing off, but none lost touch, not even Jason “Turbo” Tubnor.
Malacarne and Big Jim were noted as putting in particularly strong efforts up King St but both failed to push on and were always caught. Rollinson, must have been taking notes though, and continued on where they left off, creating a substantial gap and was not seen again.
Many tried to get across to Brett, some with more tactical prowess than others. Collins showed why he was once a good rower, (strong but not very bright) and would have done well to sit up and wait for the pursuing Marriott and Big Jim who had got away clean from the bunch. But alas Collins persisted solo for half and lap, such that by the time the pursuants had caught they didn’t have much left to give and were soon swallowed up by the bunch.
With 2 laps to go and having offered little other than annoyance for most the race, Rupert Stiles thought his time had come to bridge across the gap to Rollinson. Monk provided an apt prediction, “Rupert is not as good as he thinks he is. He won’t make it” and in what was Monk’s only contribution to the race, he was right.
The race speed picked up after the bell, but it was all too little too late. While Kenny took out the bunch sprint, it was all in vain, with Rollinson unsighted when he crossed the line for an impressive solo victory, one I’m sure we have not heard the last of…
B and C Grades were combined, which saw a larger than usual field contesting the second tier race. Despite some nervousness, the pace was on from the outset, with Pete Whelan and Steve Muggeridge testing the riders out on the King Street hill, on every occasion. Young rider Jacob de Clerk sat in well, pacing himself up the climb and using the protection of the peloton to conserve energy. As the race wore on, both Danny Dilger and De Mac were dropped – one hill too many – and the group settled in to a rhythm, with some attacks being mounted by Leigh Jamieson, Pete Whelan, Dave Smith and Steve Muggeridge, respectively, however, it all came together for a bunch sprint in the end, with the much improved Leigh Jamieson showing the other riders a clean set of wheels, followed in by Pete Whelan, Peter Macdonald, Jacob de Klerk and David Smith.