Australia Day Crits
FFi Racing and Orange Cycle Club had a strong presence at the Bathurst Cycle Club's Australia Day Criteriums.
Raced on top of Mount Panorama, with graded races for all ages plus the crit format made for good spectator watching and a good atmosphere.
Orange was represented strongly across many of the grades, with the strong duo of Mason Manwaring and Dugald Parsons in C grade, Mick Cain and Andrew Foxall in B and then with the most Orange riders A grade had Dave Van Schaik and FFi Racing's Rodney Farrell and Mick Troy.
Team tactics came into play early in the morning in C grade where Dugald had a strong race, taking several laps off the front, relieving pressure on Manwaring allowing him to sit in. Along with a few other attacks from other riders through the race, no one was strong enough to get off the front and stay and there was too much vested interest in having a bunch sprint. So coming into the last lap, it was more team tactics with a stella leadout from Parsons, delivering powerhouse Manwaring to the front of the race, where he stayed, with no one having the legs to get around him in the finish.
Parson leading Manwaring and stringing out the bunch.
In B grade a similar scenario ensured, with no one having the legs to get away, it was to come down to another bunch sprint. Mick Cain found the going tough with about 5 laps to go, but in typical Mick Cain style stuck it out and went the distance, on top of riding down to Bathurst that morning and riding back to Orange that afternoon.
In the bunch sprint, Jarrah Deans had himself a clean set of wheels taking the win, with OCC rider Andrew Foxall taking home fourth in a hotly contested sprint against some more fancied riders.
The blue ribboned event of the day was another tough fought affair with plenty of riders having a crack at the race. Craig Hutton (BCC) was his typically aggressive self regularly trying to sneak away, either by himself or with some company. At the ten minute mark, both Hutton and Mick Troy tried to do a flyer on the bunch down the back of the circuit quickly getting a small gap but the bunch was not going to have these two strong riders get away from them.
At the 15min mark Mick had another dig at getting away and went off solo for two and a half laps before getting reeled in by the pursuing pack. Later in the race, again Hutton went away this time with a Dubbo rider and had themselves an 8 sec gap for several laps before some strong turns by Farrell, Schaik and Troy brought them back into the fold.
Coming into the last lap, Dubbo had the pace strung out as the riders heard the bell, before some creative cornering further back in the bunch by some of the younger riders created the decisive split, leaving the front five to fight it out for line honours. With 200m to go Harrison Jones made the first move on the right. Quickly Troy was on his wheel before starting to make his push on the left, which Harry closed down by drifting his sprint left, closing the door on Troy. With the final results being Jones by half a wheel over Troy then Hutton taking the final podium place.
Once again, always some good hard racing when you travel down to Bathurst, which you can take as training or all out racing. Remember there is no training like racing!