Whilst gale force winds and heavy rain battered much of Adelaide on Saturday night, Sunday morning saw a determined sun peeking through the clouds at Finniss as the riders were signing on. By the 9am start time the wind had dropped down a notch or two, with BOM reporting 30-35km, temperature 10C, and no rain.
Multiple grades were run to accommodate the diversity of the riders, which included U15 through to senior Masters. Junior Women U15/U17B raced an out and back course on the Finniss Milang road, whilst U17A raced one loop of the (41km) senior course. Grades B, C & D grouped together for a mass start 1 lap circuit and the Elite/A Grade lined up for a mass start with both grades scheduled for 2 laps (82km).
Despite the windy conditions, the out and back short course saw U15 rider Tia Slama owning the road, with Mia Brown finishing strongly behind her, with U17B rider Heather May rounding out the group.
Junior U17A rider Olivia Wheeler dominated her race from the very beginning, with Staci McCudden and Hannah Seeliger quickly realising they needed to work together to minimise the damage that Wheeler had done,Olivia Wheeler 1st, Hannah Seeliger 2nd, Staci McCuddden 3rd.
A sense of cooperation was present in B, C & D Grades as they held their race together for the initial km's until the high speeds achieved with the tail wind on the run into Clayton started to pop riders off the back.
A solid alliance was formed between some B & C Grade riders with B Grade coming down to a tight sprint finish, Tracy Johnson 1st, Vicki-Lynne Birks 2nd, Emma Seeliger 3rd.
C Grade winner Sharee Faulkner came in closely behind this trio who had broken away from Christine Meijborg 2nd, with Jane-Marie Evans rounding out 3rd.
The first-year racer Simone Niejalke used the opportunity afforded by the mass start format, of racing up, with the other grades and successfully remained with the leading B Grade riders. Niejalke 1st, Sarah Marling hot on her heels was 2nd, with Helen Luu rounding out 3rd.
Elite/A split quickly with two A grade and three Elite forming the lead group, a further group of six then single/pairs of riders formed. Chief Commissaire Susan Mitchell had briefed the riders on the start line that due to the conditions if time gaps were too great riders would be pulled after 1 lap or the race could be shortened. Because of this, the decision was made to cut A Grade to 1 lap, all riders were advised on the road by Mitchell prior to Milang.
Coming into the completion of lap 1 the front Elite women sat back to give Brianna Hargrave and Rhiannon Hughes, the leading A Grade riders, a clear road on the downhill run into the finishing line. Both women had been riding strongly with Hargraves experience as a track sprinter coming through to give her the win.
The remaining three Elite women Jenny McPherson, Victoria Veitch and Michelle Devine buried themselves even further on the 2nd lap with speeds ever increasing. The trio shared the workload, taking every chance to hide and recover when not on the front. In the closing km Devine tried to shake the other two however McPherson and Veitch were quickly back on her wheel. Only fractions of a second split the trio as they crossed the finish line McPherson 1st, Veitch 2nd, Devine 3rd.
Huge Thanks to who gave of their time today to ensure safe, fun and competitive racing for all.
Susan Mitchel Chief Commissaire, David Birks, Graeme Zucker, Rob Faulkner, John Kelly, Michael Wheeler, Dave Slama, Scott McCudden, Davin Harding, Chris May, Catronia Good, Nat Johnstone, Bruce Wilson, Judi Irland, Dani Schmidt, Allison Cranwell, Carol Morgan, Lynette Collins, photos James Caracoussis, medical Geoff Mitchel & Denis Crispe
Shout out to the Finniss General Store, for providing a great warm base for the riders, food and coffee a real treat!
Elite Placegetters A Grade Placegetters
B Grade Placegetters C Grade Placegetters
D Grade Placegetters CSA Women's Winter Series Leader
U17 A Placegetters U15 & U17B Placegetters