A new venue was on show for Renae’s Race this year, and the Midvale Speed Dome course is sensational, having been used for the Mid-Week Madness series this year. Renae’s Race is run in memory of the late Renae Baker, and is and always has been supported by Renae’s family – brother Craig again attended for the prize presentation. It does make for slightly different and more thoughtful day out racing. It’s also The Women’s Day. The blokes get a token support run and nothing more, and it makes for a great event that way. Perhaps another one each year…..?
Renae’s Race was a late burner, and with a big push late in and a recce session offered by Davina Summers (and a generous race entry extension too!) SPR has filled over 50% of the race entries on the day. BOOM!
Men’s Support was a mixed bag of D though A grade racers, with the Dome Boys dropping watts and pain for 30 mins on the also rans. Unfortunately Bernie Swart ran off on the final corner, and left all his left knuckles behind on the track. Be aware if eating and perusing the Dome Racing FaceBook page. Andrew Ballam picked up 2nd and Race@SPR pipped a Steven Bradbury 3rd. Men’s A grade was a belter. Only 6 finished and 3 were clear for nearly the whole race and Steve Hall took the win.
But the reason we were there – Chicks racing Chicks. What. A. Day. Some of the best, most exciting, unpredictable, animated, tightly contested racing we’ve seen locally. And this was a group of less regular cycle racers! Ladies – it was a genuine pleasure to watch your contests. All we needed to do was bring the cowbells.
Women’s D grade. Just 5 seconds separated 1st from 5th in a race that was shadowed and coached on-the-fly by Davina Summers. Live race coaching on attacks, moves, counter moves. The feedback on Davina’s was really positive, and some of those legs now BELIEVE they can punch and attack, though some of us already suspected…. From SPR, Debbie Bertolatti (hot off her first ToMR in 2017) took 2nd and Audrey Xie 3rd, with barely a breath back to Bree (don’t tell Mum) and Belinda.
Women’s C grade (vested interest statement) saw some solid racing. Sam, seemingly not knowing when to stop attacking, had enough punch in the tank and took a 3rd, Rebecca 4th. From 1st to 4th places, there was barely a second in it. But again the win went to young Emily Wiggins with a text book race. As Bec’s other half, watching the intensity of the group hitting the ramp into the Speed Dome was awesome and inspiring. And a little scary. Main 1 – watch out….. They’re coming to get you.
Women’s B grade. And so it was that another Wiggins set the pace and remained the wheel to watch. Following in Green were Vanessa Johnson, Olesya Alutina and without fail, the newly engaged Laurensia Rosana (Congrats Jay…….and Polly!) giving one of the BEST pain faces in cycling. This group of Chicks absolutely hammered this race out, with a best lap time of over 40km/hr, and barely behind A grade Women!!!! Ferocious. Truly like wild animals. Vanessa seemed to be pace setting for ever over the final 6 or so laps, leading the front three in full Hammer-Time mode. As was the theme of the day, the first wheel through the final corner was to take the prize with Danica Wiggins winning, Olesya 2nd and a 3rd to Vanessa. Quite possibly the race of the day.
Women’s A grade displayed some of the best racers WA has to show. And with this being the Premier race in memory of Renae, these Chicks came to fight. The race was fierce (not Beyonce fierce – proper Viking Warrior FIERCE!) with a number of attacks going off, but getting reeled in steadily, noone allowing the wheels to get clear. The race saw the debut of the Dome Womens Racing Team, sadly meaning Amanda, Corrie and Michelle were no longer racing in the green. What a race to introduce yourselves in. The attrition rate was lower than in the Mens A Grade, but some late surging from the front saw a gap form with Robinson, Fillmore, Nabi, Mascaro, Mackey and the visting Ehler break the elastic to the rest of the peloton. And then it got faster. Several laps later the elastic broke again as Bec Mackey, Emily Mascaro and Desiree Erhler broke clear. The final lap saw some foxing start approaching the Speed Dome ramp, and the now 2 chasers Corrie and Amanda came within a sniff, but into the final corner, Erhler jumped and just stayed away from and fast closing Mackey and Mascaro, and Corrie hitting home to 4th just a further second back.
There was a special Thank You made at the presentations from Dan O’Donoghue for the SPR support on the day, given the impressive turnout we managed. Race@SPR thinks this is a pretty bloody good result. We saw new-to-crit-racing Debbie and returning-to-racing Audrey knock out a podium each, all of the SPR girls punching hard, pedalling their guts out. If anything, it proved that SPR Chicks are here to race and ready to rumble. Faye Dalglish-Jones has captured some awesome pics of the day, and they are upon FaceBook and some pilfered for here as well. Race@SPR do doth our caps to you, Chicks. You rock. The full results are available HERE.
Craig Baker, a man of few words, and this year no words, shows us that whilst we really like riding and racing bikes, there are bigger and more important things in life. We should support our local events that support local people and activities. Renae was part of our extended cycling family, and although most of us weren’t to meet her, this event is a reminder of how family-like we are.