As the Mercury rose on an already warm Sunday morning, the first round of races in the 2013/14 Smashfest Criterium series, got into full swing. Four races over the holiday season, grades for everyone, active club competitive riding, the scene is set for high thrills and spills over the Crit season. All that is required is:
1. A bike (no problem, check)
2. A number (too easy, $15 and you are off, check)
3. Legs like pistons forged from pure steel (er, well maybe, ish)
4. Lungs like V8’s (Prius maybe?)
5. Nerves like a Tibetan Monk (that NBCC marquee is looking lonely, Ill be over there)
In all seriousness, if you are looking for an introduction in to club racing and fancy testing your metal, you can not go wrong by entering into an event like this. Wonderfully hosted by Roues Chaudes CC, the rider can enter in grade E to A with E starting off doing 15 minutes of laps followed by two more laps.
The circuit is opposite Curtin University on the Technology Park circuit. Laps are only about 1km long with next to no gradient. An ideal safe environment to forge any NBCC newbie from casual Sunday rider to Nitro powered Tour de France contender (maybe).
A selection of adult club members attended the first meet with Connor Beardsmore, David Self, Zac French, Neil Foster and the ever popular with the ladies, cavalier, Jimmy Wolfe pulling on the Green for eternal glory.
Youth were very well represented with, Shawn Wright, Mathew Lewis, Nathan Venter, Jacob Wood, and Curtis Atkinson. E grade was split in to a senior junior and junior junior and staggered at the start. All put in solid performance with Curtis Atkinson the stand out, staying on the drops, not backing off even when left behind. Even the commentators marveled at his dogged head down style. One to watch in the future. Shawn Wright notably performed well in his group finishing 4th despite mechanical issues.
D grade saw David self, Jimmy Wolfe and the young Jacob Wood cut his teeth in his first ever event. If there were any reservations or doubt or worries by Jacob, they were firmly put to bed by a solid performance. Finishing 5th with a pack of more experienced PIH seniors behind him it was a performance that will only improve.
Second place was claimed by Wolfe, who wound it on at the last minute to take second by a wheel. When interviewed by the world press later, he could only explain his watery eyes as A) dust off the hot circuit or B) pride at Jacob’s efforts. Self, finished with the leaders and will be out for a podium next week I’m sure.
C grade is where it all got serious. With many solo B graders bumped down to C, 40 plus riders made for a fast and exciting race. The pace from the off was intense, with both Foster and French contending with the leaders. Foster’s experience showed, as he seemed at ease throughout, moving with the lead group. French performed ahead of his young years and demonstrated that he has plenty yet to give in the near future. Both finished well, with NBCC clearly making an impression on the day.
Connor Beardsmore although representing GTD Flanders in B grade had not forgotten where he came from. NBCC support was huge for what looked a daunting race. Due to the now spiraling heat, 5 mins was taken off the race time (much to the delight of the riders). Connor put in maximum effort throughout the race, which averaged 40 plus km/h the whole race! Once you are lapped you are out and Connor was one of the last of GDT Flanders to be eliminated after 25mins of frighteningly fast paced riding.
All riders surpassed themselves that day with members shouting support from the route. Riders were overheard to say that it was a huge lift to hear NBCC shouting at the sidelines. A big thank you to the parents/wives/girlfriends etc. who braved a hot day to cheer the Green shirted (and Red Connor) riders on that day. Although it might seem daunting, racing and testing your legs against others, can be the summit of amatuer riding. If you have been thinking about it, go on, have a go, it won’t hurt, much.
Next round is on Sunday 22nd December at Technology Park. Bring money, balls of steel and spare lungs.