Champion dominates criterium
By DAVE BROWN
Grafton Cycle Club
CURRENT Australian Under-17 road champion Angus Morton turned in an imperious display at the annual Grafton Jacaranda Criterium on Saturday.
The star Port Macquarie cyclist completely dominated the very strong A grade section with a fine exhibition of speed and power to such an extent he won every intermediate sprint he contested as well as the final sprint.
More than 80 riders from Sydney to Mount Isa took part in the event staged on Prince Street, Grafton.
Morton's stunning ride even had an admiring crowd clapping him during the race every time he rode past.
A clear second was Tim Davis of Lismore, who rode for much of the race in partnership with Morton, but could not match the power of the winner when it mattered. They were clearly ahead of the main bunch.
Sydney rider Brendan Jones took third.
Grafton's three representatives, Garry Reardon, Fraser Chapman and Howard Avery struggled to keep in touch in such fierce competition.
Avery, however, made a huge effort in the last prime to snatch third place in the sprint. Yamba rider Morgan Pilley managed a prime placing.
B grade, containing more than 30 riders, was closely contested.
The winner was Scott Graham from Manning Valley with Grafton's Mark Gilmore second, Alstonville's Josh McHugh third and Tablelands rider Lloyd Newell, fourth.
Reardon, Gary Cropper, Paul McCann, Murray Eno, Paul O'Connor and Greg Robertson rode hard in the main bunch without winning any prizes. Reardon made several breaks, but found the size and speed of the bunch well able to reel him in.
A very large C grade field featured a number of Grafton riders who have only recently taken up cycling. They soon learned how tough it can be in a large field on a tight course.
Inverell rider Nathan Jeffrey was an easy winner in C grade ahead of Gulmarrad rider Matthew Thompson, who competes in Grafton Club frequently, third, Rod Bailey of Northern Rivers and Maclean rider Bill Fernance of Grafton club were fourth.
Three junior events were held concurrently with a total of seventeen riders on the course together.
The Under-15 boys rode with the Under-17s, but for different prizes while the Under-17 girls started half a minute behind.
The Under-15 event was won by Inverell's Ethan Kimmince with local rider Shaun Baxter second. Baxter won two sprints with Kimmince second.
The Under-17 girls had a field of six with Inverell rider Katie Jones causing an upset win over a strong representation from the North Coast Academy of Sport. Amber Bennett, of Coffs Harbour, was second and Anthea Clarke, of Byron Bay, third.
Shane Russell from Lismore won the Under-17 boys ahead of clubmate, Tim Harris.
Matthew Christensen of Grafton won in the second prime from Damian Baxter also of Grafton.
Baxter also won the final sprint with Grafton's Mitchell Monkhouse second and Tim Harris, just ahead of Christensen in third place.
Several riders including Morton praised the course and have promised to return next year.
NOOSA. ? Bike shop worker Jaaron Poad caused a boilover by claiming some of the biggest scalps in Australian cycling to win the Noosa Criterium on Saturday.
Poad, a New Zealander who's spent much of his adult life living in Brisbane, just edged out Henk Vogels in a sprint finish.