By Simon Winston

Round two at Tech Park featured some more exciting racing on the weekend. It was a weekend dominated by the Wiggins family with Craig, Danica and Emily all taking wins.

Weather conditions were the main talking point prior to the start of the event today, with winds up to 40km/h, it was always going to be a day for the strongest riders in the bunch to show their worth.

That didn’t stop several Little Critters riders wearing their reindeer ears and getting into the festive spirit.

The U13’s was the first race of at the Tech Park Circuit. Sam Castle was proving to be strong early on as he set a high pace in the group. Cooper Hiscox and Keegan Dring looked calm responding to Castle’s big turns.

With two laps to go, the Midland boys got into formation and in a photo finish, Jordan Williams took the win from Rusty Wisewould with Samuel Castle taking third.

The E grade men’s race was exciting in the final 5 minutes as we saw a move from Jack Wheeler split the pack.

Three riders chased hard and managed to bring Wheeler back just before the final 2 laps. In the final sprint Hayden Ivins took the win from Jack Wheeler with Roger De Pontes sprinting in to third position.

The first big group of the day was D Grade Men, with 16 riders taking to the start line. With the wind picking up, Mark Castle and Tristan Nash tried to inflict pain on the rest of the peloton, eventually splitting the pack up. 

Shane French looked to be a serious contender to win, with multiple attacks in the final few minutes. French was marked heavily and in the sprint finish Samuel Tennent won comfortably from Paul Malatzky and Brian Johnson.

Next up was quite possibly the most exciting race of the day, the women’s C/D race with both groups providing attacking racing.

In D grade, Jessie Alexander attacked early, only to be caught with two laps to go by Belinda Evans who rode away to take the win, Harriet Newson took the third spot.

C Grade women was fast from the start with Emily Wiggins splitting the group with Caroline Crow and Isabella Commons. Wiggins and Crow continued to put the pressure on and dropped Commons with five minutes to go.

Rose Sellar did a great effort pulling the remainder of the group along, keeping the gap under 20 seconds from the leaders. With four laps to go Jenny Sammons attacked the second group and was in pursuit of Commons and her third position, eventually catching her on the final lap.

At the finish, Emily Wiggins took the win with Caroline Crow second. A heroic effort from Jenny Sammons gave her third place.

In the B Grade Women’s Race, Jade Chow and Danica Wiggins were active at the front of the group, eventually splitting the peloton . With two laps to go, we had a group of five riders left, Vanessa Johnson attacked but was closed down before the sprint.

Danica Wiggins was first across the line ahead of Claudia Dohr and Olesya Alutina, Danica makes that two wins from two races, showing great form thus far.

Another large field lined up for the Mens C Grade race, with a 30 minute race plus two laps. Saxon Adams and Dylan White attacked multiple times in to the head wind early on in an attempt to split the group, managing to reduce the numbers in the main bunch.

With three minutes to go, Christian Halliley made a big move only to be counter attacked by Matthew Connan the following lap. Connan timed the move to perfection and held the pace high all the way to the finish, a classy win from the young Veris rider. Luke Alsford won the bunch sprint with Ivan Vella and Callum Hunter third and fourth.

Men’s B grade started with 39 riders, but it was reduced to 17 within the first half of the race. Henry Hunter and Julian Lowes were the main pace setters early on.

After a difficult first half, the race eased up causing a few nerves in the bunch. Hunter looked to control the pack throughout the whole race chasing down every move.

With two to go, Andrew Matthews moved up and tried to make a late attack only to be shut down quickly. The race came down to a sprint finish again with Joshua Commons taking the win from Jay Lindorff and Courtland Wood in a photo finish.

The penultimate race of the day was the women’s A grade. All eyes had to be on Australian Criterium champion, Jessica Allen, after taking the first win of the series last week.

The first real move came from Sarah Tucknott 10 minutes in, but was closed down by Emily Mascaro. Jess Allen then countered the move but was closed down again, by Mascaro. 

Nobody could get away from Mascaro as we saw multiple attacks from Jess Allen, Erin Nolan and Sarah Tucknott throughout the whole race.

Eventually, the experience and class from Allen paid off with a move eventually sticking, riding clear to take a comfortable win. Jess is showing she’s in fine form heading towards the Australian Nationals. Emily Mascaro won the sprint for second after a strong performance and Erin Nolan rounded off the top 3.

The final race of the day was Men’s A grade. Fast and furious from the beginning with plenty of attacking, a group of 9 strong riders had broken clear within the first 15 minutes. Michael Freiberg lined up after earlier on in the day completing a 20km time trial as part of a team triathlon in Hillarys.

What was remaining of the peloton at this point chased hard to get back in to the race, most notably a courageous effort from in form Tyler Lindorff trying to bridge the gap to the leading 9. Eventually the whole field was lapped by the front group and pulled out.

In the final 10 minutes, the leading group started to fragment with Stephen Hall and Freiberg going clear. Ben O’Connor, Jackson Mawby, Craig Wiggins and Reece Tucknott worked hard to bring it all back together with two laps to go.

A total of 37 riders started the Men’s A grade and six riders were left in contention. The riders re-composed themselves and in the final lap Craig Wiggins lead out the bunch sprint, holding on until the finish line to beat Stephen Hall with Jackson Mawby in third. The third Wiggins to win today.

The Ring returns in the New Year, back at Tech Park again on 26 January.