A quick blast in Open C grade

Tint A Car Criterium
Open C grade
Kwinana Motorplex
21 November 2013

You read it right, I was racing C grade in open com­pet­i­tion. My res­ults in D grade in open com­pet­i­tion have not been that good. So in the­ory tonight was a step up, but with only 3 grades to choose from, it was C grade or noth­ing, and me being a race junkie, decided to give it a go.

The cir­cuit was not the car park cir­cuit used by PDCC, but a com­pletely dif­fer­ent cir­cuit incor­por­at­ing part of the drag strip, the ser­vice road that runs along­side and the com­pet­it­ors car park. From the start line on the ser­vice road, through the con­crete burnout pit, through a kink under the bridge, a quick S in the car park, fol­lowed by two 90 degree turns, that you needed to treat as single turn. Unfor­tu­nately, with my poor night vis­ion, choice of eye­wear and light­ing, I had dif­fi­culty with the exit of the final corner. Which meant I would drop a couple of bike lengths mid corner, to make sure I did not over­shoot the exit and end up on the grass. Back down the ser­vice road, keep­ing right, which was an inter­est­ing chal­lenge. A quick S through the con­crete bar­rier, down the end of drag strip for 400m or so, a wide 180 degree turn, then back up the ser­vice road for 500m or so to the fin­ish for a 2.5km lap.

The first lap was a neut­ral lap behind a car, then the race was on. Not know­ing what to expect, I settled in as my usual pos­i­tion of ticket col­lector (last rider). The first real lap was at a frantic pace, and I had prob­lems with both 180 degree turns at the top and bot­tom of the course. Still I had enough to get back on. I was won­der­ing how long I would last at this pace. The next lap, the pack would drive out of a corner then slow and this was repeated. I settled down to try­ing to improve my cor­ner­ing, it did not really mat­ter if I got it wrong and lost a few lengths, as I could stay seated and drive out of a corner and catch the bunch within a couple of hun­dred metres. At one stage the bunch slow so much com­ing onto to the drag strip, I ended up fir­ing off the front of the bunch. My adven­ture was short lived as I made my worst attempt at the bot­tom corner and went from the lead to the back of the bunch quickly.

The dis­ad­vant­age of rid­ing under lights was I could not read my garmin and my choice of eye­wear meant I could not read the track­side clock, so I could not tell the time. I could see a few riders in trouble, so com­ing into what I hoped was the bell lap, I attacked after the bot­tom corner, got a gap and forced a reac­tion, I was on the front over the start fin­ish line for the bell, through the S I was mid pack and dropped right back for the top corner. As usual dropped a couple of lengths and was strug­gling but nobody put the pres­sure on. So I stayed in con­tact, down the ser­vice road, onto the drag strip, a rider attacked but was eas­ily countered by every­body. Round­ing the bot­tom corner for the final time in last spot, I decided I was not going to fin­ish last and would get past a couple of tir­ing riders in front of me. Off the final corner and riders attacked, but not every­one reacted. I star­ted chas­ing down riders, I ended up passing most of the bunch on the way to the line, in fact only four riders crossed the fin­ish line ahead of me. So fifth from 18 riders in my first attempt at open C, I was ecstatic.

The race on Strava

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