Race Report for Round 3

Race Report for Round 3 of the 2016 Aggregate Series, Sunday 15th May 2016

Round Three of the 2016 Aggregate Series found us on the ragtag single track of Merbein and the running of the first of two events this year on this tight, twisty and faintly frustrating circuit.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the Merbein events to date is their recent talent for attracting rain. This event proved to be little different but in this case the Rain Gods were kind and they saw fit to deliver their tears early enough for the track to mostly dry out. The added benefit was that this helped firm the sandier and dustier surfaces…otherwise we’d have all choked on the dust whilst going OTB.

One of the benefits of the Merbein events is that they often bring in new riders because the track is closer to Mildura and more accessible midweek for a recreational or training ride. This event was no different with a small fleet of new people across all age groups plus a trio of fit looking nutters on cyclocross bikes. So the start was crowded and diverse…and very well dressed.

After the foibles of the timing system were conquered, the pack was hooted away and they blasted over the start line with a most impressive sound. And it was on…

Stories were told afterwards of numerous first lap incidents and moments of grandeur but the story of the race was written early with most riders spreading out quite quickly within their grades. The Merbein track tends not to take prisoners so mistakes (and varying fitness levels) were punished with time gaps that were difficult to make up.

In A grade Men, Tyler Beruldsen did the usual thing by blasting away and Tim Klein again couldn’t reel him in. Damo made the most of his comeback event by chasing down third. However, it was far from close racing. Merbein just doesn’t seem to allow it.

The A grade Women crew was near full strength but again the finishing gaps were large. Bobbie Pappin finished well in front whilst (as usual) taunting the pointy end of B Grade Men with Genelle Balwin and Sarah Mott filling out the podium.

B Grade Men continues the annual tradition of identifying imminent A graders with David Siladi demonstrating that when potential is combined with training, success is inevitable. Mo Baldock has also been working out and despite being unable to get away from Bobbie in this event…at least has more than one reason to keep trying to go faster!! Third was taken out by our special guest paramedic who, despite not racing for seemingly forever; claiming to be ‘unfit’ AND crashing to near last place on the first lap, managed to coax his flash new bike to quite impressive lap times.

B Grade Women was a sparser affair with Lauren Harriss taking the points over Nadine Sadler.

A grade Junior is also a division with a quiet pack. Flynn Williams (who has shifted up to A grade) was on his own for this race but the still ungraded Zane Cocks also fronted up again to put up a very respectable challenge – time to sign up Zane!!.

As always, B Grade Juniors was well stocked for their three laps. It also proved to probably be the tightest grade on the day with less than three minute separating the lot of them. Zac Furey led the mob home with Jake Harriss chasing close behind followed by Josh Furey.

The bonus CX crew should be well content with their showing. Despite being familiar with the Merbein tracks they were not quite at home on this layout. Even so, clearly none of them are slouches in the saddle since they managed to finish up with lap times that put them up with the A grade men riders! Ben Chatfield dominated the trio (even doing an extra lap!) with Richard Hale and Ashley Dawson finishing a few minutes further back after their six laps

The next event is back out at Coomealla on June 5th with the Short Track being the target loop. There have been a few changes on this track since it was last raced. A few new features have appeared and there has been the odd line change too so it’ll be worth your while to have a look before the day.

Till then…

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