The Hanlon Windows and BaiMed Physio teams hit the road at speed as they challenged the Access Storage team’s overall lead in the eighth round of the Optus series at the Tech Park circuit on Sunday.
With Access holding a healthy lead, Hanlon riders Levi Johns and Gavin Nethery won their respective grades in the Nowra Velo Club’s criterium races on the 800 metres circuit to throw out the challenge.
While team Hanlon won two grades BaiMed Physio won the day with Michael Berriman and Henry Wakeford placing first and second from the biggest field on the day.
Berriman was five lengths clear over the line to win C grade ahead of Wakeford, Dave Gray (Access), Geoff Lockhart (BVH/Coffeeliscious) and another BaiMed rider, Frank Neri.
BaiMed also placed Jo Chalain second in D grade and Brendon Miller was fifth in B grade and that was enough to give this team a narrow win over Hanlon Windows with Access in third position. The Access winner on this program was John Cullity in D grade.
The A field was missing some of that grades leading riders with Aaron Coghlan on the sidelines with crash injuries and Steve Crossman suffering from a mid winter virus.
Despite this the A events was fast and aggressive and as Johns, Mark Astley (Access) and Jade Colligan (BVH/Coffeeliscious) attacked throughout the race and they were covered by the speed of Merrick Law (Illawarra CC) and JP Brando Carre (Access).
The race came to a sprint finish and Johns took it by half a length from Law and Brando Carre with Colligan up close ahead of Astley and Godfrey Green.
B grade had a similar sprint finish where Nethery was a clear winner ahead of Steve Gendek and Mark Williams (both Bomaderry Vet Hospital/Coffeeliscious) Nick Johns and Miller.
With 13 riders on the start line the C grade was going to be an interesting and fast event. Patrick Wright (BaiMed) attacked out of the start and led the field for five laps as his team mates allowed others to chase. As Wright came back through the bunch the pace went up and a dozen riders went into the final lap with the bell ringing.
Berriman scooted away out of the final bend for the win. Others in this finish included Gary Bryce (BVH), Adrian McMillan (Illawarra CC), Tony Kuipers (Access), Rob Pickard (BVH), Bill Stahlhut (Hanlon) and BVH pair, Ian Kielly and Mick Thompson
D grade was the first race on the program to finish after a cold start. Hubert Driehuis (Access) attached into the final lap to set up a win for team mate Cullity who took it out by two lengths ahead of Jo Chalain (BaiMed), Rod Pierce (Hanlon), Driehuis, Greg Showell (Hanlon) and Kate Darke (Access).
BaiMed now moves into second position in the team standings behind Access while Hanlon Windows is very close in third position. Last years winning team BVH/Coffeeliscious is not enjoying a gathering of high points this season and some of their prominent riders are missing for various reasons.
Levi Johns has moved into the individual overall lead following his win in this round and with previous leader Richard Vitiello missing the start with an injury.
Vitiello dropped to third overall behind Johns and Brando Carre with the series early leader Mark Williams moving into fourth spot.
Next Sunday the Nowra Velo Club will hold the annual Jones Memorial road race on the Braidwood Road short course starting from the Albatross Aviation Tech Park at 8.30am with the BVH/Coffeeliscious team as the race officials.