The first round of the Nowra Velo Club’s 2019 Optus series drew a record field for Sunday’s criterium racing on the Albatross Aviation Tech Park circuit.
The racing was fast and aggressive and some of the new faces could be showing a changing of the guard for the year ahead.
Brooklyn Henry stepped up to A grade for the top event of the day and proved his worth by taking the win.
Henry attacked and escaped the field on three occasions. Twice he was chased down but the last move at three laps to go saw him hold on with a 20m margin over the sprinting bunch where Levi Johns was second ahead of Nathan Crump, Mark Williams, Scott Butler, Andrew McKensey, Richard Vitiello, Aaron Coghlan and Michael Berriman.
It was another breakaway move that took out the B grade event, also over 30 minutes plus the two extra laps of the Tech park circuit.
Josh Henry was hitting out and forced a gap on the field when both Colin Hunt and Dan Wells crossed over to him.
This trio combined well and were out to a 45-second lead on the chase group at the bell.
Wells displayed power that will soon see him in the A division as he raced to a 10m lead on Henry on the line with Hunt in third position.
Ben Wallis showed he was handling B grade since his grade promotion by taking fourth ahead of Gavin Nethery, Jason Spence, Godfrey Green, Brendan Sears and Steve Gendek. Then followed Adam Rourke, Rob Rix, Brendon Miller and Aaron Lauder.
C grade featured the biggest field of the day and it was a hectic race that was marred by a crash with a lap and a half to go.
However the crash did not interfere with the results as two riders went down at mid field as the pace was on at the front. Gary Bryce and Henry Wakeford crashed hard as Matt O’Hearn and Brad Oaten raced away with first and second over the line.
Geoff Lockhart was third ahead of Dave Gray, Bill Stahlhut, Mark Klein, Trent Wiseman, Rob Pickard, Adrian McMillan and others.
Both Bryce and Wakeford required ambulance transport to hospital for treatment.
The D grade race saw seven female riders on the start line and they showed their speed and skills as a record number of D riders were flagged off.
Lynne Vaughan displayed her recognised speed and power at the end of the race to score a four-length win over a fast finishing Amy Mottram with Mark Robbins in third position.
Fourth was Freya Robinson-Mills ahead of Grace Mahon, John Cullity, Hubert Driehuis, Bruce Jenkins, Barry Wells and Alice Lauder while both Mel Kilby and Mary Aughney were back in the bunch.
The team points at the end of racing had the defending champion team of Access Storage taking a narrow win over Hanlon Windows with the Allen Price and Scarratts team also very close in third position.
The Nowra Velo Club continues with road racing next Sunday on the Braidwood Road course, starting at 8.30am in Wugan Street. Access Storage are the duty officials.