Number 2 - Done And Dusted
Race day, the weather was perfect, warm with the occasional cloud, this was to be the second Fixed Crit organised by Melbourne Cycling League and HBC. The course was decidedly more technical, two hairpins and four 90 degree turns, the field was larger than last time with a noticeable increase in calibre.
The race started with a neutral lap. Once the race began the pace immediately ramped up. Jensen Plowright, a part of the recent Australian u19 team pursuit gold medal and record setting team and the winner of the previous two Fixed Crits, attacked early, running 98 gear inches he was able to lay down the pace on the straights. The main group strung out, and for the next 5 minutes successive attacks from Jensen, Harry Scott, Derek Rebel and Lucas Pittaway slowly whittled away the bunch. At the same time the women’s division with Carina, Yvette, and Emma were fighting out for podium places.
The corners really separated the bunch, with Flynn Pervan clipping a pedal and crashing, and Ferg Brown also clipping a pedal, having to veer off the course, re-joining the race off the back.
Around 10 minutes in the front bunch was down to just 7 riders. The bunch settled into a rhythm of a consistent pace interrupted with repeat attacks. Despite the attacks the front group remained intact. While this was happening Carina and Yvette were working together, putting down the pace, and creating a gap in the women's field.
With just 4 minutes left Hal Hunter made what proved to be the pivotal attack of the race, coming around the first hairpin in the lead he attacked, Jensen in second misjudged the corner, slowing himself and the bunch down. That, coupled with Jensen’s large gear ratio (most likely too large) allowed Hal to get a decent lead.
The group was hesitant to follow Hal's attack, and once a proper counter attack occurred, it was already too late. Hal had put major inroads into the bunch and once the bell lap came around he was uncatchable.
The bunch then prepared to sprint for second place. With half a lap to go 4 of the 6 were all together with Ray Hunter sitting 5 - 10 metres off the back. Coming into the final hairpin, Jensen lead the bunch with Derek, Harry and Charlie following. Entering the hairpin Ray came through on the inside advancing from fifth to second, a move which proved decisive.
In the Women’s Carina showed her fixed crit experience, coming over the line in first position followed by Yvette and Emma. A great race by all three women, especially considering it was Yvette and Emma’s first ever fixed crit.
Jensen lead Ray into the final corner and outlasted him in the final sprint. Charlie, Harry and Derek following in behind.
A good and exciting race, showcasing the excitement and action Fixed Crit racing has to offer in Melbourne.
This was a good stepping stone for Hal, Ray, Harry and Fergus who are all travelling to the US racing the Mission Crit and Red Hook Crit for Hunter Bros Cycling.
Thanks for all the support from Melbourne Cycling League, Cycling Victoria and Skin Grows Back. See you at the next race!
Photo above by @ogram