Written by Simon Winston

Round five of the Ring Summer Criterium series headed back to Gnangara on 11 February.

Gnangara is known to be a fast course and for the most part, will play in to the hands of the sprinters amongst the group.

First up was the U13s race, Rusty Wisewould made an early move and began to put more time into the group each lap. Sam Castle and Lachlan O’Brien chased hard but Wisewould proved to be too strong on the day.

In the end Wisewould won by over a minute, showing that he is currently going from strength to strength.

E Grade mixed was a fair contest among all athletes with everybody sharing the work load in the front. In a sprint finish Jordan Williams won from Ryley Collett with Peter Lander making up the podium.

D Grade men’s was more aggressive with a few new faces taking part. Ryan Blesing and Jaimie Perry spent most of the race on front, driving the pace. It won’t be long until we see Perry being a success in D grade but it wasn’t meant to be in the sprint as Paul Malatzky timed his sprint to perfection to take the win, Aaron Lee second and Brian Johnson third.

Lucy Baptist made the first move of the day in C grade women’s which livened proceedings up. As always, Emily Wiggins was hot on the heels of any move as she attempted to control the race. With two laps to go Hwai Yee Wong made a move which was brought back by Rose Sellar who led the group round on the final lap. In a sprint finish again, Emily Wiggins sprinted to first with Isabella Commons and Jessica Lawler close behind.

D grade Women’s was won by Jasmyn Quick, Debbie Bertolatti, second and Judy Gibson third.

B Grade women’s saw a number of early moves from both Danica Wiggins and Dharlia Haines. Sarah Burrows chased down and controlled the race for the most part. In the final few minutes there were a number of moves that once again were brought back after a strong performance from Kate Bonner.  In a sprint finish Danica Wiggins comfortably won from Dharlia Haines and Catherine Zainudin in third.

Men’s C grade saw a strong performance from Ben Walkerden with him putting the group in pain from the beginning.

After a relentless first few minutes the group slowed up which was met with a big counter attack from Wayne Deany and Matthew Gardiner. This move was brought back and we saw another move from Matthew Connan.

We could have fully expected a break to stay away in this race after the aggressive start but due to the fast flowing conditions, we were once again treated to a sprint. Ben McRobb, Ben Walkerden in second and Matthew Connan in third who is showing he’s made a full recovery after a nasty crash last weekend in Bunbury.

All eyes were once again on in form James Derrick in men’s B grade after a strong to this seasons ring series.

From early on, Derrick got himself involved in the action and was part of a five-man breakaway that lasted for six or seven laps. After the breakaway was brought back the bunch relaxed and headed towards a sprint finish once again. The ever classy Daniel Trinne sprinted to victory closely followed by Derrick and Eddy Hollands in third.

Wanda Jansen was active early on in the women’s A grade race and had a few laps out front before being counter attacked. The Veris girls controlled the pace for the majority of the race but we saw a few other attacks from the likes of Rebecca Mackey and Emily Mascaro. With one lap to go everything had come back together and in the sprint finish Natalie Britz took the win from Rebecca Mackey with Amanda Nabi in third.

The most aggressive race of the day was the Men’s A grade. The pace was on from the beginning with Scott Sunderland stringing the field out. After a fast beginning, there was a slight lull in pace which meant an eight-man breakaway formed with Tim Sellar, Lewis McCrea, Theo Yates and Henry Morley all present. The break had a gap of around 20 seconds before Brett Stapleton and Scott Sunderland started to bring it back.

The break showed real potential which forced a number of attacks meaning another 4 riders bridged the gap to the leaders. With such a big leading group up the road, the pace of the peleton really started to increase. Giacoppo single handedly brought back the break away within the final 10 minutes.

As the riders took a quick breather, Brett Stapleton and Henry Morley attacked again and had a 14 second gap on the chasing group with two laps to go. Veris started to close the gap but heading in to the final lap, a final attack from Stapleton looked like it could go all the way.

As we eagerly waited for the riders to come back in to sight, we could see it was all back together and for the final time of the day we were in for a fast sprint finish. Scott Sunderland sprinted home into first with Theo Yates and Bryce Lanigan close behind.