Written by Nick Cowie 

The Ring Criterium Series hit the Village of Wellard on the weekend.

With most of the circuit on brick paving, including the uphill finish isn the middle of the shopping strip and some tight technical corners, it was going to be challenging afternoon of racing.

First away were the under 13s, with Rusty Wisewould attacking on the first lap and getting a gap.

A chasing trio formed behind, however the trio did not work together and relied on the strength of Lachlan O’Brien to chase. While O’Brien was fast, Wisewould was faster and took the solo win, well clear of the chasers. Samuel Castle sprinted for second and Lachlan Marshall was third. In the women’s Cassandara Glorie had a poor start, put slowly chased done the other riders. Racheal Yeo David when passed, hung on to Glorie’s wheel. In the two up sprint, Yeo David was stronger and took the honours of best under 13 girl, ahead of Glorie.

D and E grade men were on the course at the same time, with E grade starting behind D and finishing 5 minutes earlier.

The E grade race started fairly steadily, but after a couple of laps, Lyndon Harper attacked and the race was strung out chasing.

The chasing pack split in two, then the front group lost riders in pursuit.

When Harper was caught and passed, only three riders remained. Tom Power was strongest in the run to the line to take victory, with Oliver Schurmann second and Ashley Brown third.

D grade men was fast from the start. While the bunch did not split, riders were being dropped almost every lap.

In the end it was a bunch sprint won by Nicholas Tan, with Lachlan Loveridge second and Chris Coote third.

C grade men was also fast from the start with riders always strung out and small groups forming throughout the race.

However, these were always closed down.

A well timed sprint by Callum Hunter saw him take the win, with Luke Bartlett second and Matt Connan third.

With smaller numbers in the women’s fields, women’s B, C and D raced on the circuit at the same.

While C and D grade started together, the bunch quickly split and while the fastest C grade riders starting working together and rode away, Sam Bolton and Jasmyn Quick established themselves as the leading D graders and worked together to lap their competitors who were riding individually.

 In the race to the line it was Bolton first, Quick second and Debbie Bertolatti third.

After splitting from D grade and a few of their own riders. Six women’s C grade riders proceeded to ride a steady pace, fast enough so nobody attacked and none of the stragglers could get back on.

In the race to the line Jessica Lawler attacked early only to be chased down Emily Wiggins, who has not lost a race so far in the series.

Isabella Commons was second and Lawler finished in third.

With only four riders, women’s B grade was going to be either an easy race or a brutal race.

It was brutal, with an early attack by Sarrah Burrows, putting Catherine Zainudin into difficulties and gapping Danica Wiggins and Jenine Leppard. 

The pair chased working together, until Leppard started struggling and Wiggins bridged the gap to catch Burrows.

 A couple of laps later Wiggins attacked and Burrows chased hard for a few laps. The pair were together for the final couple of laps before Wiggins sprinted away on the finishing straight for the win, Burrows was second and Zainudin third.

The B grade mens race was fast and frantic as the other races, as riders tried to establish a break and were quickly brought back.

It was all about position on the tight  circuit with those on the front of the bunch at the bell, contesting the sprint after a very fast lap.

Veteran Eddy Hollands took the win, Craig Denham second and Mark Matear third.

Children of all ages, on all variety of bicycles took to the circuit for Little Critters, two laps of riding on a closed road circuit, aimed at participation more than speed.

Women’s A grade saw Emily Mascaro constantly trying to get a break and the other six riders dragging her back.

In the end it was a bunch sprint, which saw Natalie Britz power away from the field in the uphill finish to take the win. Mascaro was second and Liz Burrows third.

Scott Sunderland of the Bennelong Swisswellness team was hot favourite for the men’s A race with two wins and a second in his past three races. He was joined in the race by teammates Michael Freiberg and Anthony Giacoppo. 

After six aggressive laps, it was Freiberg who got a break.

Conor Leahy saw the danger and quickly jumped across to Freiberg and the pair worked on establishing a lead.

Bennelong Swisswellness decided they wanted two riders in the break and attempted to launch Giacoppo across the break.

It failed the first time as three riders covered his attempt, but he tried again and after four laps, bridged the gap.

It would of been more, except Freiberg saw his team mater catching and eased up. The trio worked well and established a lead of more than half a lap over a disorganised peleton.  Then Giacoppo and Freiberg started attacking Leahy.

First, Giacoppo attacked and forced Leahy to chase, and then Freiberg would counter. The process was repeated until the pair just rode away from an exhausted Leahy.

The pair then kept the work rate high to increase the gap over Leahy and the bunch.

Giacoppo attacked with a lap to go, and managed to catch the bunch as the crossed the line for the bell. Freiberg was not far behind second and Leahy held on for third. The biggest surprise was Bryce Lanigan coming off Sunderland’s wheel to take fourth place from the favourite.