On a day that didn’t really get close to four seasons but definitely felt like at least two, almost 340 riders took to the criterium circuit at Pakapakanthi for the first round of the 2021 MetroMap Super Series, the Round 1 HOYTS Criterium!
The day began with clear skies, almost no wind and fireworks in the Junior grades, as Austen Decker, Isabel Cranage, Liam Underwood, Elisabeth Green, Andrew Tidswell, Summer Nordmeyer and Wil Holmes all took to the top step of the podium in their respective Junior grades.
Then, it was on to the MetroMap Super Series racing for the day, with the first of the Categories to take to the course and our newest additions to Teams racing at the Super Series, Cat 3 Men and Women. In the Men’s race it was tough going for teams to race the way they wanted to with an abundance of privateers entering the race as individuals – the most individual entries we have ever had in a Teams grade at a Super Series race. When the finish rolled around, though, it was the Teams who flourished – the sight of multiple separate leadout trains charging down the back straight for position to set their teams up in a Cat 3 race is not one I’ll forget in a hurry! It was Ben Johncock from young guns JKT Centurion who would take the win from a charging Phil Crick (Team ADX – SOB) and Daniel Morcombe from the newcomers with an aspirational name, CAT1 Racing. The women’s race saw the number of riders double from most rounds of last year’s Super Series in the same grade, with three teams to battle it out for the points in this our first year of Teams racing in Cat 3 Women. It was a dominant performance from the Port Adelaide CC team featuring Vicki-Lynne Birks, who took out both the Mischief Brew Sprint Classification lead and the final kick to take the win, the leader’s jersey and a strong start to the Series competition for the team. Carly Bryant rode well without team support to second, and Jane Beare (Port Adelaide CC) rounded out the podium in third.
In our Category 2 competitions there was some serious racing going on, with Cat 2 Masters equalling Cat 3 Men for most populous race of the day with 53 starters. It was another good showing from the ADX tent with Todd Rolton from Team ADX – FOB taking the win from last year’s Series winner Barnaby Grant (now racing for ROKiT Racing) and Norwood’s Stephen Maney with teammate Tom Baxter just off the podium in 4th. No question on the Mischief Brew Sprint Classification with Nicholas Steel (ROKit Racing) taking both intermediate sprints and full points into the next round. The Cat 2 Women’s race again had three teams take to the line – Butterfields Racing Team, Team Scyon Racing and Norwood Cycling Club – and it would be Norwood who got in the first blow with two riders in a three-woman breakaway that stuck. Emma Mardon (Norwood CC) took line honours from break companions Liz Schoen (Team Sycon) and Norwood’s Ella Simpson with Maddie Steel rolling her chase group for fourth and Butterfields’ highest placing. Mardon and Schoen lead the Sprint class into next week’s racing at Wallaroo. The Cat 2 Men had a nailbiting last few laps, as the will-they-won’t-they of a late solo break had everyone on the sidelines cheering for Aston Freeth from Butterfields to hold off a charging bunch led by Norwood’s Frank Smith and Tom Rischmueller. Unfortunately, a rider down on the penultimate lap meant that the final lap of the race had to be neutralised halfway through, with no recourse for a restart. Results show the order of placings over the line at the Bell Lap, but no SCODY GC points have been awarded this round. We’ll have to wait until Wallaroo to crown our first GC leader in Cat 2 Men!
After a quick lunch break and some paella from Victoria Park Social Club, it was on to the Cat 1 Masters race and the two Elite races to close out the day’s racing. With wind picking up and the fastest racers of the day still to come, it was game on.
The Cat 1 Masters race was dominated by a strong breakaway featuring all 5 teams, with Craig Ingram (Team Cervelo), Michael Ward (Villawood), Mat Franks (Keystone), Karl Evans (Team Bicycle Express) and Jarrod Currie (ROKiT Racing) all riding strong to keep their advantage over the bunch steady for the majority of the race. It turned out to be the Jarrod Currie show though at the end of the day, with the Mischief Brew Sprint Classification sewn up as well as a storming sprint to take the W from Ingram and Ward. One thing’s for sure, this Team Classification race in this grade is going to be tough to pick, with riders from all teams mixed in the top 10 and in the points.
The Elite Women’s race was our first in recent years without a Team Entry from the Australian Cycling Team, normally packed with the current crop of Podium Track Endurance Athletes. There was no shortage of Olympians in the field though, with both Maeve Plouffe (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) and Ash Ankudinoff (KOM – TACTIC p/b Cervelo) both lining up, this time as rivals rather than teammates. Plouffe had a full team of ARA riders to back her up with the Academy riders and the next crop of Olympic hopefuls behind her, while Ankudinoff is supported by a well-established team of riders (previously Teams Cervelo and Prochem) who know what it takes to deliver a rider to the overall Super Series win. A fast and furious race punctuated by a solo move from Carlee Taylor (riding as an individual) that looked like it might just stick at about 10 minutes to go, but it was decisively brought back in what felt like seconds by a massive kick from Ankudinoff to bring it all back together. Rounding the final corner, it was Plouffe who was able to hold off a charging Ruby Roseman-Gannon (ARA) by the merest of margins, and an impressive finish from SASI rider Amber Pate for third spot, just centimetres behind Plouffe and RRG. Ash Ankudinoff will have to make do with the Mischief Brew Sprint lead for now, but I’m sure she’ll be chasing down Plouffe’s SCODY GC lead and that Leader’s Jersey in no time.
An absolutely stacked Men’s Elite field was the final race of the day, with strong teams put up by several teams and one Individual rider on everyone’s minds – Cameron Scott who has proven he’s one of the best bike racers in the country time and again. It would once again by an elite breakaway that formed by about halfway through the race, after an aggressive early race. It would be Scott, along with the likes of Olympic Bronze Medallist Sam Welsford (ROKiT Racing), two teammates from the Australian Cycling Team Academy in Conor Leahy and Pat Eddy, and Zac Marriage from the Butterfields – IA p/b VDR team. The break worked smoothly together, all of them knowing they’d have to work to hold off the likes off Olivers Real Food Racing, Team Sunset, Focus Pedla and Villawood all who were left without a rider in the break. They would just manage to hold them off though, with Cam Scott outshining his breakaway companions to take the win from Welsford and Eddy. It would be ACT Academy teammate Josh Duffy who took the bunch kick just 9 seconds behind from a hungry Tristan Saunders (Butterfields – IA p/b VDR) and Ollie Anderson (Villawood).
A massive day of racing yesterday and a huge, huge, huge thankyou to those who volunteered. From our commissaires to set up crew, sign on desk and corner marshals, we really couldn’t be racing without them.
Congratulations to all who won HOYTS movie ticket vouchers on their podium places yesterday, it’s time to put those feet up and catch a flick in one of the massive, comfy recliners that HOYTS now have in all cinemas across all locations. It’s a far cry from the crammed together, plastic chairs of cinemas past! If you didn’t win, why not check out what’s showing at your nearest HOYTS and take the family to the movies – perfect for this weather!
All photos courstesy of Series Partner, Fame & Spear Photography.
These results files will be hosted on a dedicated RESULTS page of the website, along with GC and points classifications and a results query form later this week.