By John Sunde (Photos CycleNation)
2011 Point Score Series got underway on Tuesday night at Heffron Park under the new sponsorship banner of Real Insurance and some very stormy skies which kept numbers down a little but the enthusiasm from the 65 starters for the new series was very high. Well at least until everyone realised the race entry fee was now a whopping $20 - apparently it's all going back to the riders as increased prizemoney....
With a number of riders still recovering from Bay Crits and Nationals it was left to the masters riders to make the race and former world masters games criterium champ Liam Kelly came up trumps with a well timed move on the last lap. The Bike Bug squad were doing their best to set the win up for Julian Hamill, but when you snooze, you lose and Kelly was no match when he jumped the field before the straight - what made his win even more impressive is that Kelly had mistakenly sprinted on the bell lap.
Kelly's investment in sophisticated training techniques is certainly paying off when according to his own race report he claimed "The first race of the year is always a hard one to figureout who is hot and who is not... Many have been on training camps (especially the concycrew), others have taken the Xmas break to train like daemons while others in A grade have been racing with the pros in the Bay Series or MTB races. But mostof us have done ... diddle squat."
Brad Mills has genuinely been doing 'diddle squat' but that was because he was recovering from a fractured leg but still managed to finish his first race back. 1980's NSW Road Champ Steve Griffith has obviously been doing more than 'diddle squat' as he snatched 5th place to get himself on the season pointscore, with Sam Rutherford, Nash Kent and Brock Roberts getting the other points. John McKenzie got the money for first C grader which was more than John Peppard got for finishing as 1st B grader outside the top 5.
With another 11 rounds to go there'll be many more dramas to unfold.
1. Liam Kelly (Caravello)
2. Sam Rutherford (Sydney)
3. Nash Kent (Nth Sydney)
4. Brock Roberts (Nth Sydney)
5. Steven Griffiths (St George)
Steve Griffiths (St George)
John McKenzie (Easts)
Real Insurance Series Pointscore
1 Liam Kelly 7
2 Sam Rutherford 5
3 Nash Kent 3
4 Brock Roberts 2
5 Steven Griffiths 1
Bubbles all round for the podium - from left John McKenzie, Steve Griffith, SamRutherford, Liam Kelly, Nash Kent, Brock Roberts