Uphill finish tests legs in kermesse championship
Albany Cycle Club’s Kermesse Championship in Willyung saw tight contests across all grades and plenty of pain faces on the hillside start/finish.
Crosswinds around the bumpy 11km loop of Rocky Crossing, Menang, Chester Pass and Willyung Roads had riders searching for the most protected spot in the bunch.
In A-Grade the pressure was on in the first of five laps as Cornelis Le Grange brought back an early attack by Beau LeFort. A burst of speed from Stuart Passmore near the end of the first lap, matched by LeFort and Craig Wiggins, shook LeGrange, Lachlan Waldron and Mark Sobik loose. The leading trio worked together until the last lap when an attack by C. Wiggins was pulled back by Passmore. An early lead out by Passmore with 3km to go left him open to a final charge by the younger pair. An uphill kick from C. Wiggins powered him across the line first in 1h 32min 25s ahead of LeFort second and Passmore third.
Taking on four laps, B-Grade was the biggest bunch of the day. A solid pace from the start dropped a handful of riders off the back in the first lap as Emily Wiggins and Masters rider Blyth Andrews applied pressure along Menang Road. Lap two saw more surges in speed shake Michael Gardiner and Jessica Waldron loose leaving Spencer Tebbutt, Peter Wilshaw, Rick Eikelboom and Ande Powys to share the workload with E. Wiggins and Andrews. An attack on the hill heading into the final lap left Tebbutt hurting while young Powys and E. Wiggins looked comfortable. Andrews avoided an uphill sprint against youthful legs and hit out for the line early to take the win in 1h 25min 46s seconds, 10 seconds ahead of under-17s Powys and E. Wiggins.
Club legend Vic Gladish made a welcome return to racing to join C-Grade on three laps of the course. Gladish, Geoff Cass, Martin Anderson and Elizabeth Cooper shared the workload around the course while Raylene Sobik dug deep to hang on. The final uphill sprint was a battle of the over-70s with Gladish (1.14:39) taking a 2 second win from Cass, ahead of Cooper who edged R. Sobik out for third.
Under-13s Fay Wiggins and Ashton Sobik enjoyed one lap of the course with chaperones to finish in 34.17 and 34.32 respectively.