Thanks to Peel District Cycling Club’s Nick Cowie and CycleSport WA’s Toby Hodgson.

Round 8 was back at hot mix heaven Gnagara. The super smooth surface and big sweeping corner has produced some super lap times. The Sou- easter helped the final sprint and tested the field on the cross wind.

At Gnangara the wind made the timing of the sprint important, with a big sweeping corner before a downwind sprint. If you attempted to launch your sprint early, your energy would be quickly sapped by the wind and you would be swamped by the riders behind who had saved their energy for the final hundred and fifty metres.

Peel’s Ashton Sime, did not need to worry about the timing of his sprint as he rode away from the others to continue his domination of the under 13’s series. With Thomas Alexander second and Cooper Hiscox third.

Men’s E grade was a case of a well timed sprint securing the victory for Ryan Walpole, with Mark Dring second and Mike Madsen third.

Men’s D grade, saw a rider attack on the first lap, a couple laps later there was three riders off the front, next lap there was six and for the first time in the Ring Series, it looked like a break would stick in D grade. A few laps later and some hard work from a couple of riders who missed the break, it was all together. With only a few minutes to go, there was an attack, a couple of riders bridged, a quick counter attack, a short lull with three riders off the front, before more riders attempted to bridge and the bunch exploded.  In the charge to the line it was Ja yang Yen first, Jordan Giacoppo second and series leader Richard Reeves third.

With Women’s B, C and D grades starting shortly after one another, there was very different and styles of racing and tactics on display in each grade. In B grade the attacks started on the first lap and continued throughout the race, until with a little over 5 minutes to go Emma Lendrum launched a solo attack and time trialled her way to victory.  Danica Wiggins took out the bunch sprint for second with Laura Hodges third.

After a couple of tentative early attacks in C grade, it was a fairly conservative race. A couple of late attack which were quickly shut down by, resulting in a  bunch sprint won by Emily Wiggins with Kyla Gilbertson second and Megan Stalker third.

D grade was a far more cooperative race, with the small bunch working together to keep C grade insight. With a lap to go, it looked like Anna Heitz might ride away with the race, she punctured. A spectator quickly loaned Heitz a bike to finish the race. Kirsty Augustson took the opportunity to attack and secure the win. Heather Connan was second and Heitz third.

The under 11’s then took to the track for the Little Critters race.  The course was shorten so they did not have to race into the exposed windy section, which I am sure some riders in other grades would of appreciated. With the emphasis on fun, there are no results, the success of the race is measured by the smiles of the racers, which was 100%, unlike some of the other grades.

Men’s C grade was the typical aggressive racing, even with or because of the punishing wind, riders attempted to get off the front of the bunch. The most successful was Peel’s Dylan White who lasted a little over two laps, before being chased down. In the sprint it was Barry Ryan first. Mark Chapman second and Alan Kearney third.

Last season, you would of been very lucky to have 10 women racing in A grade, and while that number has been growing steadily this season. Twenty five riders exceeded all expectations and the quality of the field was outstanding with Australia National Criterium Champion, Orica Scott’s Jess Allen and two Dutch professionals from the Maaslandster Veris CCN International Cycling Team.  While the first half of the race was fast, there was very little attacking, though the speed of racing would of discouraged attacks. The second half of the races was punctuated by attacks by Allen. Allen was joined by other riders, but they were unable or unwilling to assist Allen and the break would be chased down by the bunch after a lap or two. In the end it was a bunch sprint. Peel member and national under 19 individual pursuit champion, Jade Haines was exceptionally in reading the race and conditions. Her sprint was so well timed she was the clear winner, with Dutch visitor Desiree Ehler second and Allen third.

Men’s B grade was almost identical to C grade, aggressive attacking racing with nobody allowed to get off the front for any distance. In the bunch sprint it was Daniel Smith first, Daniel Trinne second and  Doug Stewart third.

The difference between Men’s A grade and the other men’s racing today, the attacks were more aggressive, the breaks stayed off the front longer, the chases were more intense and more riders were dropped in the process. In the bunch sprint it was two of the state’s best sprinters fighting it out. With a photo finish Peel’s Theo Yates narrowly taking the honours from Stephen Hall. With Peel’s club champion and no slouch in the sprint, Matt Peterson third.

The partnership of Roues Chaudes, Northen Districts and Northerm Beaches Cycle Club brought this great racing. Their teamwork and passion has made Gnagara a great race day.

The point score for the championship is looking interesting with multiple riders getting points in the top 10 at every finish. We are seeing some clear leaders but the 3rd and 4th places are still up for grabs and wont be decided till round 12.

Be ready for Rocking ham this Sunday 12 February as we go into Round 9.