Williamson take his first Criterium Win


Hot conditions on Saturday meant only the strongest riders turned out to race. In A and B grade the races ended in bunch sprints. The only successful breakaway of the day was in the C and D grade race where Matt Williamson took his first win in a criterium race.

A grade young guns Kane Walker (2XU/Aussie Crates) and Brenton Jones (Torq) were joined by the third member of the all star trio James Henry (Apollo Bicycles) for his first race of the season. Henry is headed to race in Europe in the next few weeks so he was looking for some speed work to aid his preparation. Walker and Jones appeared to heed last week’s advice and decided to keep the race together for much of the time. The first (very short lived) attack was launched by Paul Yeatman over the hill along the back straight on lap two. Henry went hard up the main hill on nearly every lap but did not split the field. Chris Joustra made a serious attack with about 20 minutes to go and hung off the front for 3/4 of a lap before being brought back. Simon Baxter, in a bright red skin suit, launched the most dangerous looking attack of the race with 10 minutes to go. He managed a lap and a half off the front on his own but one solid turn each from Walker, Jones and Henry saw him reeled in with no problems. Walker took on the role of lead-out man and kept the speed high in the main straight. As soon as he pulled off with 300 meters to go, Henry jumped hard and established a handy break. Walker managed to baulk Jones when he was finished his lead-out so Jones looked to be too far back to catch Henry with 100 meters to go. He had to put it into overdrive to make up the lost ground. Jones flashed home to take the win by half a wheel on the line. Henry second with Brett Rollinson finishing well to take third. Then followed Baxter and Yeatman.

B grade started with nine riders. The pace in the early laps was fairly pedestrian and the field remained largely intact. Visiting rider Scott Walkerden and youngster Joe Patrick were allowed to roll off the front after 30 minutes of racing. Seeing this as their chance to influence the race they worked hard to establish a 400 meter gap on the field. Zander Hitchcock tried to Jump over to the pair on the King Street hill and Rob Monk and Jarryd Jones immediately sensed this was a chance to split the field Monk worked over the Gap with Jones sat on then took over on the descent. By the time the breakaway duo was caught there were five riders in the lead bunch and only 4 chasers. For Neil Walker, James Lalor, Dean McIntosh and Jason Dasty the race was all but over. The five leaders worked well together for three laps and establish a big break. The leaders stayed together till the finish. Wakerden led out the sprint but Monk was the first to jump for home. He raced up the inside and established a small break. Joe Patrick followed his wheel with Jones on Joe’s wheel looking like the rider most likely to come from behind and win. In the long grinding finish Monk just held off a fast finishing Jones with Joe Patrick in third. Then followed Hitchcock and Walkerden.

In the combined C and D grade race the youngster were again keen to get off the front. Jayden Manintveld, Sam Wilson and Brad Venables tried repeatedly to break away. Paul Kennedy tired of this quickly and decided watching the race would be more enjoyable that riding in it. Matt Williamson and Chris Henne remained patient and let the young fellows tire themselves out. They brought the race back together and with 2 laps to go Williamson had conserved enough energy to put the winning move on the field. He attacked up the King St hill and no-one could go with him. He established a winning break and held it for two laps, taking a tough win. In the sprint for second Henne was too quick for Venables with Jayden Manintveld in forth and Tammy Patrick in fifth.

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