Ring reporter Glenn Te Raki reviews round 10 in the Ring. Photo credit ZW  Photography.

Perfect conditions welcomed the riders on Sunday morning to the 10th round of the Ring Summer Criterium Series in Gnangara, after what threatened to be hot and humid conditions, the day panned out perfect with light winds and a ‘spot on’ 30 degrees.

Again the numbers were strong and with this being the third last round in the 12 event series, it was going to be critical for any riders looking at contesting for ‘series points’ to put their best foot forward.

With the absence of U13 series leader Ashton Sime, the race would be a little more open and it wasn’t long until a small break of three riders were forging ahead. Isabella Commons, Jordan Williams and Thomas Alexander found themselves with a 100 metre gap on the rest of the U13 riders and when they received the final bell it was obvious they would battle out the final placings.

Commons was first to lead the trio out and soon had a clear lead, winning ahead Williams who took out second over Alexander. Joshua Trinne was next home in fourth clear of Keegan Dring.

Trinne now holds on to second spot on the points board, 210 points behind Sime, but only 30 points ahead of Jordan Williams.

The womens D grade was stacked full of new riders that have progressed through the ‘new racer’ program that is held every series and Pip Pienaar was just one of those new riders that showed she has made a good decision in taking up the sport. Pienaar was a clear winner of the event just clear of Sophie Coates and another new comer in just her second race, Jessi Alexander.

Heather Connan leads the D grade points series, 290 points clear of Hannah Waters with Emily Wiggins in third position.

The womens C grade event that followed really stood out and it’s obvious to see their improvement, not only in the level of skills these women are showing, but also in their abilities.

Raced over 20 minutes plus two extra laps the information we have been provided shows the average speed of the C grade event was in fact faster than their B grade counterparts. Skipping around the circuit in an average speed of little over 37 km’s per hour, slightly quicker than the 36 km’s of the B grade and just below the 39.7 average of the A grade females.

Dana Hedges showed a clean pair of heels winning the race just ahead of the constant performers, Olesya Badish and Sara Langridge, Diana Cameron finished in fourth position.

In the B grade, Bree Rogers was too quick taking the final sprint ahead of Stacey Thomas and Jacinta O’Connor.

Olesya Badish (425) leads the C grade points from Sara Langridge (415) and Kyla Gilberston (405) in third, only 20 points separates the top three riders in this grade.

Danica Wiggins (360) leads the B grade from Dharia Haines (320) and Laura Hodges (280).

After a successful showing in her first NRS series event, Veris team rider Sarah Duffield came into Sundays race as the favourite if it was to come down to a sprint finish. Duffield supported by her strong Veris team was prominent throughout the 40 minute event as her competitors struggled to create any opportunity to escape the main peloton.

First time Ring series rider, Lucy Harper was one rider to consistently show her form as she battled to try and escape the main field but Duffield’s team mates, Erin Nolan, Sabine Bird and Steff Van Amerongen were able to nullify and take control of any attempts made by the main peloton.

A late attempt to stretch the field from Rebecca Mackey and Margot Biggs was to be less than fruitful while Nolan showed her cards closing down any opportunities looking to be made.

As the bell rang for the final time it looked like the faster riders, Emily Mascaro and Melissa Robinson would be the ones who could spoil the day for Duffield but a controlled lead out had her delivered to the front perfectly with 100 metres left to race, Duffield held on to take a blistering win over a fast finishing Natalie Britz. Robinson held on to third position from Harper and Mascaro.

Melissa Robinson (535) extended her series points lead over Mascaro (470) with Jade Haines (355) looking like the only other rider in contention who could still mathematically win the womens A grade championship.

With only four competitors in the Mens E grade it was going to be a ‘strongest takes all’ style event. Mike Madsen was the rider with the most to gain from a points position and until the final 20 metres it looked like he would take the 100 points on offer, but a late screamer from Mark Dring had Madsen pushed back into second place with Chris Rouse back in third.

Madsen (460) does lead the points series over Tom Power (400) and Simon Stolton (285) back in third.

In what is shaping up as the most interesting contest in the series, the close competition is being played out in the D grade as Richard Reeves battles Ja-Yang Yen for top spot on the points series. Yen has the luxury of having a solid team of riders supporting him, and this played out in his favour in Sundays race.

While Yen had his Champion Lakes Development team of riders policing the front of the peloton, it was becoming obvious Reeves was going to have his work cut out if he was to try and find a way to escape the bunch. Each attempt to gap the field was quickly shut down as Yen was holding all his cards for the final sprint.

It was the young South West Cycling Club rider, Josh Commons who had other ideas about how to win this one as he timed his attack to perfection, quickly mounting a 30 second break on the otherwise controlled peloton.

Commons quickly settled into a tempo style ride and soon found himself solo and well in command. The peloton was so focused on the Reeves vs Yen battle that Commons was able to continue to establish a break that soon became obvious would end up in success. The youngster was able to solo to the finish line in what was without doubt the most aggressive ride of the day.

It was an all in sprint for second position and with the help of his team members, Yen showed his powerful sprinting ability to take the runner up place just ahead of Robert Commons with Reeves a close fourth.

Richard Reeves (525) still holds the top spot in the series over Yen (475) in what will looks like becoming a fight right down to the last two events in Tech Park and Pinjarra.

The C grade like the previous events to date was also to be decided in a final bunch sprint, early attacks by the constantly strong men, Wayne Deany, Brett Fowler and Mark Taylor looked solid early but the momentum of the peloton and the fast Gnangara circuit just wasn’t allowing for any breaks to come to fruition.

Attention would turn to the fast guys in the field and as the peloton rounded the final corner it was new comer E Min Loke who had the best legs to finish off the day on the top spot. Another new comer to the Ring Series, Kasey Smith powered into second spot just ahead of Simon Breheny and Dominic Da Silva.

Breheny (385) holds a comfortable lead over Jethro Nagle and Dominic Da Silva who are both tied in second place (240)

The B grade event was marred by an early ‘coming together’ by a few riders that ended up in a seven rider fall on the home straight. Most of the riders in the mishap were able to take advantage of the ‘lap out’ rule and re-joined into the race.

A break of up to eight riders was able to establish a small lead over the peloton which consisted of the series leader, Aron Barclay plus Will Main, Xavier Cooper and Ben Hastie. These guys were able to share the work load and as the laps past it looked like this race may go against the days trend and a break might just be able to pull off the win.

With ten minutes to race, the main peloton lead by the experienced Doug Stewart, Daniel Trinne and James McWatt knuckled down to chase the break, as the minutes ticked away, the gap was closing and with one final powerful turnone the front, all the riders were back together just in time to receive the final bell.

After falling earlier in the race strong man, Doug Stewart showed there was to be no ill effects as he opened up the final sprint, it fast became a two horse finish with Stewart just holding on from a super-quick finishing Daniel Trinne, winning by less than a tire width. Young 225 Racing rider, Ben Hastie finished with his best placing in third spot ahead of Darren Kinsella and Aron Barclay.

Barclay (500) still leads the B grade with a 140 point lead over Trinne (360) with Daniel Smith back in third (355).

With one of the strongest fields to start any previous A grade rounds, forty seven riders lined up for their fifty minute event. Young Australian team representatives, Jai Hindley and Michael Storer were amongst the peloton looking for a final hit out before they head to the ACT to represent Australia at the Oceania road championships.

It wasn’t long before we had Hindley stretching out the field that also consisted of the series leader, Stephen Hall, young Satalyst rider Bryce Lanigan and the previous round winner Leighton Cook.

The day was starting to heat up, in-turn heating the hot mix surface to a temperature that screamed out ‘speed’ and soon the average speeds were hitting 46 km’s per hour- plus consistently. It was going to be the Satalyst team riders that were there to dictate the race, continually firing a rider into any sign of a break away be it in a group or as a solo rider, first Tim Sellar, then Lanigan, then Lewis McCrea… one –two to ensure they could try and guide their rider Lanigan to a top three finish, in-turn protecting his second position on the points table.

It was always clear a break would soon form with the attacking style of riding and Satalyst had Lanigan clear in a break being driven by the in-form Guy Kalma plus Hindley, Leighton Cook, Michael Freiberg, Joseph Breheny, Stephen Hall and Richard Schroth, a formidable combination.

Lap after lap the break was building momentum until they had established a lead of over twenty seconds. Looking like a break that was going to receive the honours, no one had any idea of what… or who was going to ruin the day, huge turns on the front of the chasing peloton in the closing stages of the day came from Michael Storer.

Storer showed why he has been earmarked as future star as he almost single handily closed the gap to the break and with a little bit of additional help the peloton had bought the field back together.

Again it was going to be a bunch sprint finish, and with a field full of speedsters the result was going to be close fought. More than thirty riders rounded the final sweeping bend with Guy Kalma on the front holding the speed at a little over 55 km’s per hour, as he flicked off it was Michael Freiberg who hit the front heading toe to toe with young Lanigan and Hall, but with a final throw to the line Leighton Cook came from three lengths back to cross the line in a photo finish with Freiberg, Lanigan and Oral 7 rider Richard Schroth.

After what seemed minutes of official consultation the win was finally awarded to Cook from Freiberg and Lanigan, Schroth held on for forth over Stephen Hall and Matt Howlet.

Hall (555) still leads the series from Lanigan (430) with Theo Yates (285) in third and Cook (275) in forth.

It was an outstanding day of racing and with only two rounds remaining in the series the Ring is far from over, still hundreds of points on offer as we look forward to regrouping on the 12th of March for round 11 in Tech Park, Bentley.