Words by Dingus Dave
Wednesday's Hawthorn crits are now in full swing, and the warm weather for the third week of the season drew a big crowd of racers. TDR had a full compliment of riders, covering all the Grades. Mills, Watson and Hogan propped up D Grade, Duggan eased back into things in C Grade following his crash on the weekend, D'Alfonso was in B Grade, and new signing Gray rocked up to sign-on late to earn a place in A Grade.
The pace in D Grade was solid without being exceptional. A few gingerly attacks (Ed: Hah... ginger...) were made early, with none getting away as the TDR boys sat comfortably in the pack. Fixed dot org's Paulser made his presence known in his first crit, joinging fellow FOA-er McKenzie up the front to push the pace half way though the race. Hogan sat in around 6th-10th wheel, with Watson and Mills not far behind. With three laps to go it was McKenzie on the front and Hogan in 4th wheel. The pace hadn't exploded yet, with people reluctant to push too early.
Hogan got impatient, and with 1.5 laps to go attacked solo down the back straight. He passed the B Grade bunch as he crested the finish line with 1 lap to go, and hoped their presence may help slow the chasers, but his legs ran out on the back straight as a group of 5 chased him down. Fighting to hold a wheel around the final hairpin bend, his efforts to get amongst the final sprint were no good as the legs had had enough. 6th place.
Duggan was joined in C Grade on the day by HellKrew's Kent. Despite coming back from a nasty crash on Saturday, Duggan was his usual bullish self, and attacked off the front early in the race. After a few laps Kent brigded across bringing one other guy along, and the three then worked hard to consolidate their break. They were eventually brought back, but not before inflicting serious damage on the rest of the bunch. Kent and Duggan back in the fold of the bunch, recovered and rode out a fairly uneventful last half of the race. Duggan launched an attack on the back straight purely to enter the final corner safely, continuing up the hill to the line take third overall.
D'Alfonso was feeling good in the B Grade race until he was cannoned into on the back straight by another rider. Forced to unclip to stay upright, he lost contact with the bunch and pulled out with just a few laps to go. Disappointed, but relieved as it could have been much worse had he come off on the cheesegrater bitumen.
Gray, much like Duggan a little earlier, exhibited his usual penchant for self inflicted pain. There was an early breakaway of two riders in A Grade, who were soon joined by Gray as he worked hard to bridge the gap on his own. Mat rode well for the remainder of the race to finish with the bunch which included some big names like Drapac and Lovelock. Well done Mat.
Random visuals from last weeks race pinched from Digital Formula
|Mat Gray getting some training in before the European season|
|D'Alfonso looking comfortable in the B grade pack|