The penultimate criterium race of the season resulted in a case of dejavu in A grade with Fraser Ashford taking the win ahead of Steve Roberts and Mick Sherwood.
It was a race of attrition with Roberts making things tough again in the early part of the race. He was very ably assisted by Ashford who took over as soon as the pace slackened off. With riders dropping off the back it was soon down to Ashford and Mick Sherwood who were left out the front.
Sherwood managed to hang on for a few laps before finally heading the way of the rest of the mob as Ashford claimed a third straight win.
Thirty-six riders plus a swag of come and try riders took to the starting line in what were fine conditions except for a breeze up the main straight to slow the sprinters down.
The junior race of five laps saw Josh Deasey and Sophie Johnston make their mark on the rest of the bunch early. They swapped turns regularly until the final lap with Johnston eventually taking the win from Deasey. Isobel O'Connor was third and Chelsea Ashford fourth.
The D Grade racers continue to impress with good sportsmanship shining through in a way that has to be admired.
Steph Balla and Justin Roberts could not have been in better hands for their first ever crit race. Eventually though the pleasantries were set aside and things got down to business. Conor Noonan and Roberts got on the gas and made things difficult in the later stages of the race. Roberts took the win in his first ever race with Noonan second and Greg Johnstone third. Pip Ash has made a comeback to racing after having some time off and was rewarded with fourth place.
C Grade was a very tough race with some very hard hitting by numerous riders who tried to mix things up. The highlight though had to be Greg Clark and his companion Hawkeye on the Tandem. After spending their first few races getting the feel for things they finally let loose with all four legs to show how it should be done.
They managed to put over half a lap on the bunch to take a comfortable win. This left the rest of the crew to fight it out for the minor placings. Jeremy Deasey has obviously spent some time chasing son Luke around and found some fitness along the way, and stepping up from D grade was second.
Balla was third and Sim Church fourth.
The wind had picked up a little for the start of the B Grade race, which knocked the wind out of the sails and dampened any hopes of trying to get away.
Mick Allen did make things tough though doing some strong turns and a few little efforts that lifted the tempo. On the whole though the bunch stayed together trying to hide from the wind.
Joe Kelly, who had lost track of the time, took off with just over two laps to go. This provided the perfect lead out for sprint master Dave Menzies to take the win. Luke O'Connor was a close second with Barry Stockman third and Zane Tapp fourth.
There will be no racing next week due to Armidale Autumn festival with quite a few riders heading north to represent the club. The club also has a few riders heading down to HEZ in the Hunter Valley to race as well.
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