North Queensland Winter is Actually Pretty Good For Bike Racing.
A clear and crisp morning greeted more than 40 riders at this morning’s Webb Estate Criterium sponsored by Pace Farming.
There was barely a cloud in the sky and generous 20˚C (68˚F, 293 Kelvin) to send C Grade off first this week – with Sienna Monteith and Henry Goodwill the two new additions to the bunch after impressive wins in D Grade a few weeks ago at Corporate Crescent.
With a couple of new faces, and some riders moving up grades, the bunch raced with a level of caution as they familiarised themselves with some new opportunities.
It all came down to a bunch sprint finish as Amanda Doolan was the first woman across the line and was joined on the podium by two gentlemen for their first podiums of the year in Richard Forster and James Healy in third and second respectively.
But it was Jake Kerswell who, after younger brother Euan got the monkey off the back last start at Corporate Crescent, got his first win for the season.
The juniors followed C Grade with a three-lap race as another epic showdown was added to the history books in the Hedgers vs Smith rivalry.
Jack Hedger was seen smashing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a whole banana to fuel himself up for the ultra-endurance event.
But nothing could have prepared him for the watt-bomb dropped by Jye Smith as soon as that whistle blew and their race got underway.
Jack and younger brother Henry were left to chase the remaining of the race as Jye added another win to the resume with Jack and Henry coming in second and third respectively.
Mikayla Gibbs is starting to show the same promise as older brother, Kyle (aka the gunshow), as she won the D Grade women’s criterium ahead of Harry Potter fanatic Imogen Kerswell in second and the ever-consistent Vicki Ockenden in third.
Darren Lee put in a strong showing to win D Grade men ahead of cornering ace, Nicholas Ellis in second and short price favourite Jon Kerswell in third.
It was only as recent as the Mackay Open earlier this year on May 1-2 that Jarrod Fife and Kyle Gibbs were carving it up in C Grade.
Now the inseparable duo is looking to take a stranglehold in the B Grade division after claiming first and second respectively this morning. Dan Ellis rounded out the podium in third place, eyeing a potential move to A Grade perhaps?
Caitlin Corset was the first placed woman.
Ben Lawes was out to break some legs this morning after sending lethal attack after lethal attack which eventually saw the split of the A Grade bunch.
After reeling in a bold solo breakaway from Ruth Corset, it was Corset, Lawes, Marvin Baumeister-Schoenian, Shane Marcus, and Jonathan Entriken in the front split.
Lawes went for one last roll of the dice with a surprise last lap flyer, but ultimately Shane Marcus with a swift return to the top step of the podium in just his second race back from an unfortunate crash which sidelined him for the better part of a month, including the Tour of the North.
Ruth Corset and Ben Lawes rounded out second and third place respectively, leaving Stephanie Corset and Briana McDonald to sprint it out for first unplaced woman honours.
In a very close contest it was Corset pipping McDonald to the line by a short margin.
Congratulations to all competitors this morning and thank you to Pace Farming for providing the fruit for podium prizes.