Nowra Velo Club: Mark Astley named 2016 overall Australian Defence Cycling Champion

Defence champion: Mark Astley in the lead during the Australian Defence Cycling Championships in the ACT.
Defence champion: Mark Astley in the lead during the Australian Defence Cycling Championships in the ACT.

Mark Astley has capped off a huge week of cycle racing with a bronze medal in the Nowra Velo Club’s 2016 individual time trial championship.

But prior to this in this past week Astley had raced five events in the Australian Defence Cycling Championships in the ACT to secure four wins and a second position.

Astley raced in mountain bike events along with road races including individual time trials and criteriums.

His first event of the week was a 25-kilometre cross-country mountain bike race at the Stromlo Forrest Park and a win by almost three minutes.

Mark’s second off-road event was a criterium for mountain bikes on a 700-metre unpaved circuit and another win was registered here.

Then onto the road events and a 45-second margin over his closest challenger to win the 17-kilometre elite individual time trial. Mark registered a second placing in the elite defence criterium championship but he was not finished with his winning ways at this race.

The elite Defence road championship was run as part of the ACT open road championship and there was a hard road ahead against the Canberra A elite riders along with the leading Defence riders.

Astley was able to stay in contact with the open race big hitters while the other Defence riders dropped away and he went on to claim another 2016 Defence championship.

 This fourth win and a second placing makes Mark Astley the 2016 overall Australian Defence Cycling Champion. Mark is a CPO at the HMAS Albatross Naval Air Station.

Mark will now end his year of racing in the Nowra Velo Club’s elite road championship and criterium championship.

Meantime, Tristan Ward returned to Nowra on the weekend to win the Nowra Velo Club’s 2016 Individual Time Trial Championship.

Ward went over the 14-kilometre Braidwood Road course in 19 minutes 28.80 seconds to take the first of the NVC’s 2016 title races by 33 seconds from Levi Johns and was over a minute ahead of third placed rider, Mark Astley.

Ward has been racing in different venues around the country throughout this year with just a couple of visits to his home club, the Nowra Velo.

In his cross-country jaunts, Tristan has raced and won mountain bike races, criteriums and raced National Road Series events to register a busy year. He now lives at Waterfall and works in the metropolitan area.

Johns rode his personal best time to finish second in this NVC championship and his first race on a time trial rig. Rather than use his usual road bike, Levi tried out a tt bike 30 minutes before the race start and took it to the start line and into the silver medal position.

Aaron Coghlan was fourth in this NVC championship ahead of Adam Rourke, Mitch Cunningham, Jade Colligan, JP Brando Carre and Steve Crossman with Richard Vitiello in 10th position and the fastest B grade rider.

Vitiello rode a pb of 22:28.16 to take B grade from Aaron Lauder and Steve Gendek.

Phil Rice returned to consistent racing towards the end of the season and rode into 11th position in the ITT and was the C grade winner. Phil’s time was 22:31.12.

Rice won C grade from Ian Kielly by 21 seconds while Robert Pickard was third.

Brendon Miller and Frank Neri were the next best C grade men but Annette Sampson was just 27 seconds behind Neri and smashed D grade to win that grade.

Sampson finished ahead of eight higher rated C grade riders and showed great talent against the clock. Annette’s time was 24:07.70.

Jo Chalain was second placed D grade rider ahead of Greg Showell and Tony McGowan.

The Nowra Velo Club returns to criterium racing at the Albatross Aviation Tech Park next Sunday where the Optus Nowra team are the rostered officials for a race start at 8 am.