The 2018 Super Series is the biggest ever. Forty Teams and 300 riders all spread out over the six categories will no doubt provide some exciting battles over the series, and all grades provided us with some exceptional performances over the day.
Masters Cat 2
Masters Cat 2 started the day off. This series had seen by far the biggest growth since the 2018 series. With 9 teams and some individual entries on the start line, this will be the biggest category for the 2018 series. The race had 56 starters and the early morning conditions meant that the racing was likely bound for a bunch sprint. The 2017 series winner Todd Rolton was not on the start line, after graduating to Cat One Masters, leaving the sprints open to another taker. Port Adelaide Cycling Club’s Kristian Didyk took the lead in the intermediate sprint classification, but this effort had cost him, as he was in no position to tackle the finish. In the end, it was Port Adelaide’s Major rival who would take the stage ascendancy through Tom Baxter, who held of mountain Biker Gareth Davies (Team Envirosport – FIIG) and ADX Depot’s Phill Crick.
Women’s Cat 2
The Women’s Cat 2 is continuing to be a major growth category for the series. Despite some conflicting events, there were still 37 starters on the line. With several newcomers to the series, it was always going to be difficult to pick a winner. ADX depots self-confessed climber Emily Vaninetti surprised in taking both the intermediate sprints, but it would be Port Adelaide Cycling Clubs Bronwyn Dolman who would steal the show. Dolman put in a very late attack, breaking clear and just managed to hold off the bunch. Former CSA board member Heather Barclay (Team Envirosport – Titan Performance) showed that she is equally as talented on the bike as she is on the boardroom to take a top 10 and take the lead in the Master’s 50+ category.
Men’s Cat 2
Cat 2 men was another open field. The top two riders from the 2017 series had graduated to Elite Men, and there were several new riders on the start line. Team Tempo-Titan perhaps represented the biggest unknown of the series. Made up of some of South Australia’s best triathletes, it was unclear how well their strength would convert to bike racing. Matt Hutchinson quickly set about breaking down any stigmas about triathletes’ abilities to race bikes, being the main protagonist of the race taking out both intermediate sprints. He may of payed for this effort though as he would ultimately come up short in the final sprint, with Frank Smith (Norwood Cycling Club) taking out the win, the Norwood CC Club President Andrew taking the third podium spot.
Masters Cat 1
Masters Cat one had also grown and looks to have taken a step up with several long-standing racers from Elite Men taking the step back to Masters One. Many of these had found themselves joining defending champion Tim Deckers new team; Prochem. Decker’s old Team, Lightsview Cycling showed that they weren’t a one trick pony, taking out the lead in the sprint classification through Matt Dorian, and second on the stage with Steve Kavanagh. It was Decker who continued his winning ways, taking the inaugural leaders jersey of the 2018 season. Matt Goddard took third in ADX Depots Cat One debut to round out the podium.
The Elite Women’s Racing has been very open over the past few years. Pleasingly, the series has seen an increase in numbers and is up to 6 teams for the first time. Trying to pick a winner was always going to be difficult. Macey Stewart was making her series debut, and alongside her teammate, Georgia Baker would be the most marked riders in the race. Young gun Sophie Edwards (SASI) was another rider to watch, returning to the series after recently setting the Australian Record in the U19 Individual Pursuit.
In the end, four riders broke free of the chasing pack. An aggressive Plouffe (SASI) took both intermediate sprints to claim the lead in the competition as part of this lead group. She was joined by Eloise Vaughan (USG Cycling), Jenny MacPherson (Butterflieds p/b Van D’am Racing) and eventual stage winner Baker. Vaughan was the unlucky rider who missed the podium from the quartet – but still set her up for an assault on the overall series, especially with Plouffe and Baker likely to miss several rounds for track commitments.
The wind had slowly been picking up all day, and as the Elite Women’s Race demonstrated – the opportunities for a break to escape were increasing. It was apparent early, that the race was going to be an aggressive one. With 2017 series winner, and fast man Sam Welsford (Australian Cycling Team) on the start line – riders were clearly keen to make a very hard race. Despite an early break looking very threatening, it took most of the race for a move to get away. Judging from the explosion that happened in the race behind, it was not tactical nous but sheer strength that saw the break get away.
Represented was an aggressive Chris Harper, Welsford and his team-mate O’Brien, 2017 Cat 2 winner Harry Askew (Chesser Chemicals Cycling Team), Jack Sutton (Oilver’s Real Food Racing) and an aggressive Chris Harper (Pon.Bike). The finish would come down to two riders, with Justin Gassner (Lightsview Cycling) taking a flyer with a lap and a half to go. Unfortunately for Gassner, he was overhauled in the dying meters by SASI’s young gun Jarrad Drizners, who has been a standout rider on the domestic calendar, with Sutton rounding out the podium.
The racing heads to the Wallaroo and Moonta for the Copper Coast Cup, on the 6th and 7th of October.