Moonta Crit a Certified Hit!

October 16, 2020

Words by James Raison – Photography by Fame and Spear

Round 4 of the Super Series followed hot on the heels of the Wallaroo Road Race with the Moonta Criterium. For 2020 the course was extended another block to give a longer top and bottom straight. It’s a punchy course of geometric simplicity; four 90 degree corners with enough room on the exits to keep a spicy pace for the whole lap. Many a brake lever would go uninterrupted during the racing but the coarse road surface and occasional spoon drains would deflate the odd tyre.The longer straights turned the race back in favour of the pure sprinters who would have significantly more runway for final take-off. 

Bikes aside, Moonta is a popular destination for the Super Series with its beachside location, heritage architecture, and a healthy cafe density, and easy-going locals giving the race an ultra chilled vibe. Many a hungry racer will fill the nearby eateries before their track time, calculating the tipping point where the Big Breakfast and two coffees stop helping and begin hindering athletic performance. It’s also a rare opportunity for riders to immediately throw themselves into the ocean after a hard race.

HOW THE RACES WERE WON

Womens Cat 2 was first off the line and immediately the pace was hot. The larger teams pushed the field hard in the opening laps and dropped wheels were punished heavily. There was plenty of attrition by just 30% race distance as Keystone Cycling, Butterfields Racing, and Team Scyon used strength of numbers to stretch the race out. It set the tone for the day as all grades learned the difficulty of being deep in the pack and sprinting at every corner exit to stay in contact. Plenty attacks followed for the rest of the race once the field had reduced but none managed to stick as the teams nullified each other and the race came down to a sprint finish.

The final sprint was taken by Celia Cowan (Keystone Cycling) who made it a clean sweep of the Copper Coast weekend and remains undefeated in the entire series so far. Wrestling that Maxima/SCODY General Classification jersey off her will be difficult given her sprinting strength. Tia Slama (Team Scyon Racing) and Meg Marker (Butterfields Racing) filled the remaining podium spots meaning every step was occupied by young riders.

Maxima/SCODY GC Standings After Rd 4:

  1. Celia Cowan (Norwood CC) – 60 points
  2. Madeleine Steele (Butterfields Racing) 44 points
  3. Annoushka Sath (Norwood CC) – 38 points

Mens Masters 2 was next on-course for an aggressively run race. 

Attacks were constant but ultimately short-lived as the chasing pack closed each down. No individual team appeared to control the race, with each covering moves and counter-attacking to then be covered themselves. All teams were visible and active at the front though, ensuring the pace was hot throughout. 

The bunch was all together as USG Racing Team / SA Fabricators tried to take control at the front in the final stages but series leader Barnaby Grant (Port Adelaide CC) wouldn’t be denied another victory to further paint that Maxima/SCODY General Classification jersey onto his back. Tom Baxter (Norwood CC Blue) crossed second and Michael Davies (ROKiT Racing) took third. 

Maxima/SCODY GC Standings after Rd 4:

  1. Barnaby Grant (Port Adelaide CC) – 58 points
  2. Michael Davies (ROKiT Racing) – 46 points
  3. Alex Jarvis (Norwood CC Red) – 35 points

Category 2 Men were next to stomp the pedals in anger and the attack-heavy motif of the day continued. 

The front of the race was animated by a rotating roster of Norwood CC Red/Blue, Van D’am Racing Development, and LLCC Pedla p/b GCC riders. This is a grade stacked with sizeable teams and plenty of all-rounders so attacks need to be swiftly covered because a small breakaway can make it to the end if given enough tarmac. Maxima/SCODY General Classification jersey wearer Henry Sanders and his Adelaide University CC team were present at the head of the race, making sure no major attacks were given too much space.

The race was stretched thin with 2 laps remaining as teams kept up the relentless attacking. It was Tom Clarke (LLCC Pedla p/b GCC) who again out-sprinted everyone with the ex-trackie being both well-positioned and having a sprint kick that looks unmatched in the grade. Individual entrant Michael Wellman finished strongly in second ahead of Rocket Racing’s Nick Clarke in third.

Maxima/SCODY GC Standings after Rd 4:

  1. Michael Wellman (Individual) – 38 points
  2. Tom Clarke (LLCC Pedla p/b GCC) – 34 points
  3. Tom Rischmueller (Norwood CC Blue) – 34 points

Mens Masters 1 followed their Wallaroo Road Race with an equally close contest on the streets of Moonta. The early laps saw the field stretched out before the pace normalised and small-bunch attacks began. 

Almost every team got heavily involved in animating the race with ROKiT Racing, USG Racing Team / Coffylosophy, Tonsley Village, and individual entrant Gary Smith all sending it up the road multiple times. Again, none would be successful for more than a handful of laps as the spread of talent through each team meant they could nullify each others’ attempts. Series leader Matt Sparnon (USG Racing Team / Coffylosophy) took showed no intention of defensive riding and was involved in chasing down rival teams.

The race re-formed in the closing stages with ROKiT Racing and Team Prochem p/b Focus and Cervelo swarming around the front of the race for their sprinters. It would be a reversal from the Wallaroo sprint with Matt Sparnon strongly out-sprinting Graeme Moffet (Team Prochem p/b Focus and Cervelo) with a strong launch out of the bottom corner. Phil Dixon (Keystone Cycling) rewarded his team’s weekend of hard work by snagging the final podium place.

Tonsley Village took out the most team points across the weekend and were awarded the Copper COast CUp for Masters 1. 

Maxima/SCODY GC Standings after Rd 4:

  1. Matt Sparnon (USG Racing Team / Coffylosophy) – 58 points
  2. Graeme Moffett (Team Prochem p/b Focus and Cervelo) – 48 points
  3. Michael Ward (Tonsley Village) – 40 points

Elite Women ran an exciting race with a reduced Cycling Australia team presence making for a more open contest. That said, the remaining Cycling Australia riders still made their presence known with Annette Edmondson and Ashlee Ankudinoff repeatedly trying to escape off the front. Team Prochem p/b Focus and Cervelo, Roxsolt-Attaquer, and solo rider Nat Redmond worked hard to close down their attacks early.

Eventually Ankudinoff managed to gap the field with Chelsea Holmes (Team Prochem p/b Focus and Cervelo) and former Moonta criterium winner Jenny Macpherson (Butterfields Racing) forming a trio that worked well together. Team Prochem, Cycling Australia, and Butterfields Racing were all absolved of responsibility to chase with riders ahead so Roxsolt-Attaquer’s Carlee Taylor and Gabrielle Kiely worked hard to close the gap with Nat Redmond finally bridging and bringing the race together at the end. 

Team Prochem p/b Focus and Cervelo) were aggressive in the final stages to keep their sprinter Chloe Moran in a good position, but Nat Redmond surfed the wheels and exploded out of the final corner to take a convincing sprint win. Moran and Edmondson took second and third respectively.

Cycling Australia ended up taking the overall victory in the Copper Coast Cup with the most team points from the weekend.

Maxima/SCODY GC Standings after Rd 4: 

  1. Nicola MacDonald (Roxsolt-Attaquer) – 42 points
  2. Annette Edmonson (Cycling Australia) – 34 points
  3. Maeve Plougge (Cycling Australia) – 32 points

Ruthless is the only suitable word to describe the Elite Men’s race. On from the gun, the ACT Mens Track Endurance team put the pressure on the other teams with relentless attacks until a break formed featuring riders from a handful of teams. A chase group managed to bridge across as riders dropped from the break, until a group of 7 stretched their lead to half a lap over the bunch. 

With Leigh Howard (ACT Mens Track Endurance) soloing off the front of the break and the lap times averaging only about 1m 20s, the bunch needed to find some pace or risk being lapped by the solo rider! After several laps of the gap staying around 30s from Howard to the bunch, after 45 minutes of racing the race for the minor placings was ended with Cam Scott taking 8th in front of young Zac Marriage and Cam Ivory in 9th and 10th from the bunch kick. 

With a clear run at the finish, Howard began to take time off his former breakaway companions as the tried to save energy for the final sprint. Seeing an opportunity, Cooper Sayers attacked the now group of 6 with two laps to go and stayed away from them for second place, and Brendan Davids took a leaf out of the book of Sayers and attacked not long after to stay away for third place.Kell O’Brien rolled Tristan Saunders and Chirs Luxton for the minor places and Tom Chapman rolled across the line for 7th. 

Tonsley Village team took home the silverware with overall victory in the Copper Coast Cup contest in Elite Men.

Maxima/SCODY GC Standings after Rd 4:

  1. Leigh Howard (ACT Mens Track Endurance) – 38 points
  2. Cameron Scott (Cycling Australia Academy) – 36 points
  3. Brendan Davids (Olivers Real Food Racing) – 32 points

Full Results are available Here!

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