Lapping it up at Yamba Criterium as Baxter takes silver
CYCLISTS took to the Yamba Criterium full-pelt, charging around the 800m course like a well-oiled machine, but it was Grafton's Shaun Baxter who came away with a shiny silver in the Men's A Grade.
Beneath tinted shades and tilted visors, greasy eyeballs sussed out the competition in the first few minutes of the race, revealing what Baxter called an incredibly 'strong pack'.
With 10 minutes to go, he made a break away from the group in hope of crossing the finish line first.
"Then this Brisbane rider (Tim Dalgiesh) came across to me and once we were away we worked well together," he said.
"Craig Evers put in a good chase in those last few laps and nearly caught us.
"I probably led the sprint out a bit too early at the end there and was pipped by the Brisbane rider, but I am pretty happy with the result."
He may have finished fourth, but local lad Craig Evers took first place in all prime sprints across the A Grade category.
And while the cheering home crowd boosted the vibe, Evers said the home side advantage wasn't quite as such.
"It makes it a lot harder when you all know each other because it becomes a watching game - everyone starts to watch each other," Evers said.
"At one stage I did about three or four laps by myself and the others were watching and attacking me, but that's just racing."
Evers took up the controller's role during the race, trying to get the riders to work together, but without much luck.
"I was trying to get everyone on the same page and saying 'we can all race together if we work together, let's get that done, then we can race to the end'," he said.
"But everyone seems to have all this energy at the finish line, but not so much when you're trying to get them to work together."
Evers said his placing was the cherry on top of a celebratory birthday weekend where the "goal was to come back, have fun and enjoy my birthday".
Winner of the Men's A Grade was Tim Dalgiesh from Moreton Bay.
Commissaire, and secretary of the Grafton Cycle Club, Nigel Blake said the event was a credit to all who competed.
"It was a really great day," he said.
"We had people from as far as Moreton Bay, down to Coffs.
"In every grade it was flat-out the whole time. The lead changed numerous times in each grade, we had breakaways going early and late and it was just incredible efforts from all; as you get with criterium racing."
And it wasn't just a weekend for the seasoned pros.
"It was exciting to see the large number of juniors competing," he said.
"We had some local kids having their first race ever and Yamba's Alexa Leary came second in her junior race."