The first race of the season in perfect January conditions ensured that all grades except D Grade rolled out at maximum capacity. It was a sign that pre entry is the only way to guarantee a start at the popular Akuna West Head Classic. Richie Lang completed the rare feat of back to back victories at West Head in A Grade.
It was a beautiful morning down at the Marina and there were certainly plenty of riders milling around and waiting for the lung tester of the race course. The demand for spaces in each grade was at a premium, with B Prestige already filled with pre entries prior to Sunday and both C grades at 70% prior to opening entries on Sunday morning. By the time the racing started, all grades except D Grade had sold out. Each grade is restricted in numbers to ensure we meet our National Park requirements.
So for any rider that missed a start on Sunday – next month make sure you take advantage of our pre entry system, which opens a week prior to race day.
One had expected the A Grade numbers to be a little down due to Nationals being on the same day, however it meant that many riders saw this as an opportunity to bring glory to themselves and take a shot at the title, it ensured that we had one of our biggest fields in months. Leading the charge was a large turnout from the Subaru Albion team, who have yet to snag the elusive victory at West Head despite a concerted effort. They were always present at the front of the pack, setting the early pace on the climb and also maintaining a presence at the back with the team car, which gave the race that true professional feel.
While a few breakaways were launched throughout the race, nothing managed to stick with all riders remaining very attentive, particularly to the actions of pre race favourite Michael Jaeger. It came down to a sprint and that allowed Richard Lang to go back to back, a very rare feat in any grade at West Head. He rolled Jaeger-bomb who had to settle for second and Daniel Brickell had a fast finish to edge out Cam Peterson from the podium. Once again Subaru Albion were off the podium and left with a ride back over the Harbour Bridge to assess what it will take to bring glory at West Head?
A Grade Podium – L-R Jaeger 2, Lang 1, Brickell 3
B Prestige set a blistering pace from the start and it ensured that the field shed a few riders early. This was always going to be an elite standard race, with riders selling out this grade prior to early bird cut off. The tempo remained high throughout and in the end it was Jonothan Herb using his sprinting prowess to roll Nathan Crump and also edge out Peter O’Connor from Easts who has found himself on podiums all over Sydney of late.
B Prestige Podium L-R Crump 2, Herb 1, O’Connor 3
B Hubbard Report – Phillip Gray is a new member to MWCC and while he doesn’t have a lot of race experience, he is quickly racking up some results at both HART and West Head. He took this win fairly comfortably and he was able to enjoy his roll across the finish line. He was a few bike lengths ahead of the NSCC duo of Michael Ong and Gabriel Raubenheimer.
B Hubbard L-R Gabriel Raubenheimer 3,Phillip Gray 1 ,Michael Ong 2
C Prestige – This podium reflected a true generational battle, the winner was up and coming rider Shaun Falzarano who continues the move up the grades, he managed to outsprint the more senior and experienced Chris Taylor, while the hardworking but still relatively new to riding Mark Greenwood rounded out the podium. Chris Taylor made the move coming into the final berg before the turn around when he attacked out of the bunch, only Shaun Falzarano was willing to go with him and these two managed to get up and over both sides with a small gap.
Chris Taylor attacks and makes the decisive move at the berg before the turn around
While Falzarano looks back at the damage on the otherside of the berg as they head for home having now gapped the field
They managed to stay away and when it came to the sprint Shaun Falzarano showed the track training has paid off when he launched from about 50 metres out, to quickly break the spirit of Chris Taylor. Mark Greenwood got a much deserved third place when he lead home the bunch only a short distance behind.
C Prestige L-R – Mark Greenwood 3, Shaun Flazarano 1, Chris Taylor 2
C Hubbard Not too sure what happened in this race, but there were a few riders who I expected to feature on the podium that weren’t there at the end, so racing must have been a little tougher than expected. No breaks managed to get away and it was a large group who managed to still be together at the end. In the end it came down to a bunch sprint of a fairly large selection with Adam Hartard who rather suspiciously has a EPO producer as a sponsor on his jersey just getting the edge over Shilland.
C Hubbard L-R: Ed Shilland 2, Adam Hartard 1, Brent Goddard 3
D Grade The only grade to not sell out and so if you are looking to give a road race a try this is a great grade to start in. There is a neutral climb up the Akuna Hill and then riders complete just a single lap of West Head. The average speed for yestersdays race was just under 30 kilometres an hour.
In this race, Michael Long was actually the first rider over the line, however he was relegated to third place after he was found to have unneccessarily crossed over the double white lines when attacking going up a hill. With racing occurring on open roads, all riders must obey the road rules.
D Grade L-R Michael Long 3, Jeremy Peacock 1, Ella Falzarano 2
We hope all riders had a great morning of racing. As usual no crashes to report. We will ensure we get some additional water bottles for the finish line next month. Next race is February 9, it will be another big race on the calendar.
Looking for more Sydney racing this weekend? Friday Night we are hosting The Fixed Wheel Cup at HART Driver Training Centre, St Ives. Racing starts 6:15pm. Great fast racing on a super smooth circuit and completely car free.
Saturday, Randwick Botany have their weekly crit races at Heffron Park for grades A-D wth racing from 3pm. $20 entry on the day.
Sunday, riders have a choice of crit racing with Northern Sydney CC at Beaumont Road, Mt Kuring-gai racing starts just after 8am $15 entry or you could head along to SUVelo racing at Heffron Park Maroubra. Grades C & D 7:30am and a Womens ONLY Handicap 8:30am is Mens A & B Grade. $10 entry. Waratahs Masters is on at Eastern creek for graded scratch from 7am grades A-F
An increasing number of women and juniors are entering our road races. The Womens Only Grades and Race Series will return later in the year