Before this week’s Easter weekend race, club officials were wondering whether anyone would turn up – they must have been forgetting that the bike always comes first! Forget long weekends with your family, chocolate egg hunts for your kids – this weekend it was all about Paris Roubaix and MWCC West Head. Every man who is king of his castle got out of bed and got on his bike – and upon return the kennel may well have been his new castle.

We wanted this race to be tough like the Paris Roubaix and so we now have a single pot hole on our 22 kilometre loop – such was the excitement with the addition of a piece of cobble that we even mentioned it in the pre race briefing.

The Grades were split into groups to comply with regulations – we had 2 A grades, 3 B grades, 2 C grades and a full D grade. With so many turning up, once again I got to hold a clip board and count money as opposed to pinning on a number. I didn’t do a very good job of counting the money because I seemed to return most of it back to the riders. After 8 grades of racing we paid out just over $1300 and gave away some chocolate bunnies and eggs to those on the podium.

After each race there seemed to be a lot of riders heading straight home (perhaps realising the gravity of their situation when they couldn’t justify their disappearance with a podium).

Great to have so many of the Carrots come up from the coast, including the return of the flying tandem – Matt Formston this time being piloted by powerhouse Mick Curran. It certainly adds an extra dimension to the B grade races that they enter. Turbo Studio are making their presence felt in A Grade and they are also being challenged by the increasing number of Manly riders who are riding in the top grade. Some of the Manly boys may need to start working together to try and counterattack the strength of Turbo Studio, Waki Lexus and GPM Wilson – although easy to say when you are standing in a car park watching them roll past at 60km/hr.

Nick Yallouris (Waki Lexus/CCCC) took the prime and the overall in A1 and he looked pretty comfortable when doing it. I wonder whether Nick and Mick Curran will look to bring their other strong sprinter in Dane Crawford along to the next race to see if they can crack the domination of GPM and Drapac in the other A race. Sam Rutherford of GPM Wilson snatched the prime in the other A race but it was Caleb Jones (GPM Wilson/MWCC), who has had a pretty strong early season, who picked up the win ahead of James Swadling of NSCC.

Really great to see the development of the young riders from the Northern Suburbs Cycling Academy. Jacob Jones earned more coming second in B Grade than a month of mowing lawns would have paid. Young Laura Jones took on D grade – only weighing as much as 2 full bidons and with no big chain ring and restricted gears, she was always going to find it tough keeping in the mix on the downhills but she was there until the end. As we saw in B2, not having a big chain ring won’t stop you getting on the podium, with Jacob Jones and Vernon Connor both under 16 coming second and third. Only Michael Smith was able to stop them – I think he also took their chocolates off them at the end as well. Well done to Cat Haynes who was making her racing debut and Rebecca Snell for returning for a second attempt.

Chris Miller and Tim LaForest both MWCC again found themselves at the pointy end of the field in C2, with Chris Miller able to sit up and enjoy the victory from about 50 metres out. It will be interesting to see how cruisy these boys find it up in B Grade next month.

Duke Millington of CCCC took a comfortable victory again in D Grade and as a result the young Carrot will now find his dad signing him into C Grade.

Overall, even with a rolling course and a testing finish berg, we are generally seeing groups stay together, so the grades appear to be well sorted at the moment. Well done to all riders and place getters.

Thanks to all the marshals who came out and stood around while others raced, making the racing possible.

We thank all riders for coming out and making each race successful and safe. We may be trialling a few different options in the coming months as we attempt to cater for the numbers and ensure that we maximise the quality of racing. We are taking onboard the feedback that we are getting and will endeavour to work within our approvals to get the best race possible. This may mean a few changes in the coming months, so make sure you keep checking the website and thanks in advance for your patience.

Grades were split by the order that riders signed in.

1. Nick Yallouris
2. Tom Patton
3. Leonard Antsfeld
Prime – Nick Yallouris

1. Caleb Jones
2. James Swadling
3. Nathan Page
Prime – Sam Rutherford

B1. 1. Patrick Jones
2. Steve McMahon
3. Gareth Paton
Prime Patrick Jones

B2. 1. Michael Smith
2. Jacob Jones (Restricted Gearing)
3. Vernon Connor (Restricted Gearing)
Prime Andy Hellmichael

B3. 1. Glen Thornton
2. Adam Kimberley
3. James Bernard
Prime Darren Byres

C1 1. Paul Edolstein
2. Ben Copeland
3. Chris Taylot
Prime Eugen Schilton

C2 1. Chris Miller (Now B Grade)
2. Tim LaForest (Now B Grade)
3. Dean Rance
Prime Michael Chidgey

D Grade
1. Duke Millington (Now C Grade)
2. Chris Harmer
3. Michael Kater
No prime – single lap