Grafton’s Dion Wilkes dominated the A Grade Jacaranda Criterion last Saturday to win the Barry Thew Medal as well as a healthy portion of the cash on offer.
A somewhat disappointing field faced the stiff southerly breeze and the jacaranda -strewn, Prince Street course for almost a solid hour. Wilkes employed his full range of skills and tactical know-how to finish ahead of Shaun Cameron (Coffs Harbour) and Bryan Crispin (Grafton), who finished second and third respectively.
Wilkes seemed content enough to allow the race to come down to a final sprint to the finish line, and he was able to take the sprint comfortably.
Rhonda Thew presented the medal, in recognition of the passion for cycling that her late husband, Barry Thew, held for many years.
The B Grade event was won by Matthew Everett from Coffs Harbour Club. Matthew was able to slip away from the rest of the field early in the race and at one point even rode past the A Grade riders who were sharing the course. From very early in this race it was clear that the rest of the field were racing for second, eventually taken by Nick Stevens of the Grafton Club, with Kieran Healy from Coffs Harbour, third.
The C Grade event was won by Ben Cross from Murwillumbah, Greg Allen from Grafton was second and Michael Cross from Murwillumbah was third. This was a solid race run in oppressively warm and humid conditions, where Ben and Greg skipped clear of the remainder of the field, who just could not get their heads together to mount a chase. It might have been the presence of mostly Grafton Club mates that prevented the organisation of the chase, or it might simply have been the strength of the two up front. Ben had to chase down a gap of three hundred metres or so, in the early stage of the race to get up to his dad, Michael, and the powerful Greg Allen, so his eventual win had plenty of merit.
In D Grade Ms Portia Rennie from Manning River Club comfortably defeated Jeff Finnigan from Murwillumbah.
Earlier, in the Juniors/Novice race it was Bridie White who beat Shaun Marsh in a slug-it-out affair over four tough laps. Both juniors showed plenty of tenacity of spirit with Bridie’s experience racing her mountain bike at the Bom Bom circuit probably the difference at the finish.