Stiles Unstoppable


It is time someone beat Shane Stiles in an A grade race. Stiles made it four wins from the last 4 races on Saturday. He has not lost a WCC race this year. It is time the A graders started to conspire against him.

Stiles beat the largest A grade field of the year. As usual he quietly waited in the first half of the race while the bit players had their time on the front. Yeatman and Keeble dangled off the front before being dropped and lapped later in the race. Baxter was allowed to ride away from the bunch with Stiles just watching and letting it happen. Eventually Baxter was joined by Kane Walker, Chris Joustra and Stiles. The four strong men up the front spelt danger for the remainder of the field. Chris Beales returning from a cold European winter dragged many of the bunch back in contact with the breakaway but only Geoff Thomson had conserved enough energy to jump over to them. This meant a bunch of five were up the road and the race for the chasers was over. Special mention must be made of the efforts of Jayman Prestidge to aid the chase by dropping off the back of the bunch and being lapped by the leaders. He was no help at all. Unless the big man finds some form, B grade beckons. At the bell Kane took on the role of pacemaker and towed the bunch into the main straight. Stiles was all over his back wheel and with 300 meters to the finish he hit the afterburners and the race was over. Thommo, despite some mechanical issues with his gears ground on to take second from Simon Baxter in third. Then followed Joustra and Walker.

A field of ten riders contested the B grade race. Thomas Sander and Gary Olsson were prominent at the front of the bunch in the early laps with Col Brown also participating regularly in pace making. Rob Monk spent a lap off the front but no one seemed that keen to join in a short handed breakaway attempt with a reasonable even chasing field behind. At the bell Jason Dastey took a fly at the field and established a small break on the King St hill. Olsson would not let him go too far and passed him at speed. Olsson headed for home and quickly established a 100 meter break on the field. Col Brown was the only rider prepared to chase him down while the other sat on and hoped he would do the job. Rounding the second last corner it was clear that Olsson would be very hard to catch. Rob Monk jumped from the bunch before the final turn and started to close the gap. Olsson was starting to struggle with 400 meters to go and Monk was going to catch him. Unfortunately for Rob, Jarrod Jones had worked onto his wheel and had a perfect sit for the final sprint. Monk and Jones flew past Ollie with 100 meters to go and Jarrod came off Rob’s wheel to time his sprint perfectly and take the win. Rob was second with Ollie holding on for third. Then followed Joe Patrick, Thomas Sander, Jason Dastey and Col Brown.

An evenly matched field of five riders contested C grade. The bunch shared the workload for the first 5 laps with Paul Kennedy looking particularly strong. Chris Henne decided to pick up the pace but experienced riders Neil Walker and Steve Muggeridge were happy to let him dangle. They were content with a sprint finish and that is exactly what eventuated. Henne was caught with 2 laps to go. Matt Williamson showed his inexperience by leading the boys out in the sprint. Paul Kennedy was nowhere to be seen. Muggeridge was the first to jump for home but Walker, on the new bike, proved too quick in the run to the line; Neil first, Steve second. Then followed Chris, Matt and Keno allowed the other to have the glory.

The D grade race started with 7 riders. Greg Horbowicz pushed hard from the start which caused Nick Anderson to fall off the back. The race then settled down for a few laps before Rupert Baillie and Greg tried to get off the front a few times but were chased down by Cyrus Monk. While the pace was high Tammy Patrick made a big move off the front which caused a split in the group. Cy then did a hard turn on the front which created a big gap between Cy, Rupert, and Tammy to Wayne Tunks, Mario Suban and Nick Anderson. The leading three stayed away for a sprint finish with Rupert winning from Cy and Tammy coming in for third place.

Racing returns is at 3:30pm timeslot next Saturday.

Photos from the criterium here.

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