Ring reporter Glenn Te Raki reviews round 9. photo credit, ZW Photography.

Weather conditions were quickly brushed aside on Sunday morning as we all fronted for Round 9 of the Ring Summer Criterium Series on Smeaton Way in Rockingham. With early warnings of rain, we were greeted with blustery but dry conditions.

Raced over the popular 1.6 km circuit, the Peel Districts Cycling Club, like always ran a smooth and structured event.

First under way as always was the U13 15 minute event and as per all his previous starts, Ashton Sime was quick to make the early move, but this time Sime was to have company as Thomas Alexander and Jordan Williams were both able to hold his wheel in the early stages.

As the minutes ticked away, Williams was the first to fall away leaving both Alexander and Sime to share the pace, but in the end the finishing speed of Sime was the telling factor as he sprinted for the line and take the win over Alexander. Williams comfortably held on to third place ahead of Joshua Trinne and Luka Woods.

The wind was going to be a factor as we looked towards the start of the combined D and E grade mens following event. Twenty riders face the starter and again it wasn’t long until early breaks started to form. The team tactics of the Champion Lakes riders became evident early as they were not allowing any of the attacks to become substantial, closing each attempt down. Their protected rider, Ja-Yang Yen is sitting in second place on the championship points ladder so it was important for him to secure some solid points.

The final lap saw a last ditch attempt to break the field up from the youngster, Ben Walkerton but as they rounded the final corner, series leader Richard Reeves looked to have the race in the bag. A final burst of top end speed from Yen was just enough for him to close down the gap to Reeves to take the win. Reeves finished second with Yaroslav Volkov back in third ahead of Callum Hunter.

Mike Madsen continued his form to take out the E grade section over Chris Rouse.

Like the guys race, the womens B and C/D combined event was to be tested by the blustery conditions. A solid solo ride from Margot Biggs had her in an early commanding position in the B grade event and she was just too strong for her rivals winning the 30 minute event comfortably over Bree Rogers and Megan Gammie.

The womens C/D combined was too be a different story where one of the ‘rides of the day’ would come from the D grade combination of Dana Hedges and Anna Heitz. These guys were strong enough to lap together and put time not only into their own grade competitors, but also into the C grade riders as well.

Hedges lead home Heitz to win the race with a gap back to Heather Connan.

The Trio of Megan Stalker, Sara Langridge and Olesya Badish were the stronger riders in the C grade womens race, and with the D and C riders coming together on their last lap, Stalker was the rider to best read the situation to take the win in a close fought battle over Langride and Badish.

Another large field lined up for the mens C grade raced over 30 minutes plus two laps, and like the previous events, the pace was on from the outset. The Midland Cycling Club had a plan to keep their riders on the front and it was evident with the likes of Wayne Deany, Jay Lindorff and Kurt Harmer pushing the early pace. Splits would continuously form in the peloton but nothing was going to stick as all the riders were intact as they received the bell.

Simon Breheny and Jethro Nagle had the most to race for as they were highly placed on the over points ladder, but an outstanding final 200 meters would see Dominic Da Silva steal the victory over Chaice Kelly-Wilson, with Breheny and Nagle filling the minor placings.

The most aggressive award of the day would have to go to Emily Mascaro as she attacked off the front early into the womens A grade event. Mascaro went into the event with a 20 point deficit behind Melissa Robinson, so her intentions were clear… she wanted to win.

Ten minutes into the forty minute event, Mascaro found herself alone with a thirty second gap back to the chasing peloton. The reduced Veris team of Sarah Duffield and Erin Nolan were sitting on the front of the main group swapping turns to eliminate that time deficit, but to Mascaros’ delight she was holding her position on the chasers.

As the laps disappeared it looked like she may have been able to maintain her lead, but the chasers were starting to work strong together and in the favour of Robinson the gap started to reduce.

Five minutes to go and they were all back together and regrouped, solo attempts from Kylie Anticich and Erin Nolan were quickly brought under control and the bunch entered the final lap as one.

Mascaro was the first to round the final corner and looked like her early solo effort had taken little effect has she was head down heading towards the finish line, but she just run out of legs and with 100 meters to go, Sarah Duffield was able to close the gap to take the win. Melissa Robinson crossed in second a length ahead of Mascaro with Corrie Fillmore rounding out fourth place.

Like most of the Ring Series to date, the B grade guys race again attracted a large field for their forty minute event. Young Midland Club rider Aron Barclay entered the event holding a commanding125 point lead over Daniel Smith with Simon Winston a further 50 points back so these guys were going to be the ones to watch.

There were early attempts to escape from the strong men, Michael Hosken, Doug Stewart and the younger Xavier Cooper as they started the animation for the day and like some of the earlier events, gaps were starting to form, but the power of Alastair Milne just keep these early attempts at bay.

It was going to come down again to a bunch sprint, Barclay and Smith were well and truly marked men and while the attention was focus on these two riders,  it was the experienced Daniel Trinne who attacked the field and found himself with a 70 meter gap on the peloton, rounding the last corning it became evident he wasn’t going to be caught and Trinne went on claim a long-time coming, overdue victory. Will Main was the fastest of the rest and claimed second ahead of Daniel Smith, Barclay finished further back in seventh place, but stills holds on to his overall lead.

The A grade final event was full of local talent with the overall series leader Stephen Hall up against the previous weeks round 8 winner, Theo Yates. This week also saw the return of ex world Omnium track champion, Michael Freiberg to the series and it wasn’t long before Freiberg was doing what he does best… attack.

Joining Freiberg on the attack was Jackson Mawby and these guys set out to open a commanding break, soon to join these guys was the combination of Hall and Yates plus a hand full of other strong men including Mathew Peterson, Cade Wass and Timothy Sellar.

It looked like this break of 12 riders would be too classy to be brought back, but Logan Calder had other ideas. He set out to pull the remaining peloton back into contention and with 10 minutes of racing to go, the bunch had reformed.

Freiberg wasn’t going to lie down that easy as he launched himself again into another stinging attack, this time dragging Leighton Cook away with him and when the final bell rang, this duo held a 20 second lead. That lead proved to be enough with Cook the first to lead-out, Freiberg was quick to surrender the lead and Cook went on to take his first Ring Series win ahead of Freiberg.

Theo Yates was too fast taking third spot on the podium ahead of Sellar, Peterson and Hall.

We now have a two week break until the Ring takes us back to the fast Gnangara circuit on Feb 26th.