A grade - three laps of the Lancefield circuit with four sprints per lap. Points were rewarded 5, 2, 1 for the top three places in each sprint. Points were also paid in dollars, so there was an incentive to reclaim some entry money there too. Double points for the 12th and final sprint.
7-8 riders in A grade rolled off the line with Daniel Nelms (Italo) and Jacob Sutherland (Brunswick) quickly on the front and forcing a face pace of turns. The entire bunch joined in rolling through like clockwork on the dead roads towards Cobaw. Before the first sprint Nelms had pulled out of the rotation and was sitting on the back. He is a strong rider so I sat out a few turns to keep my eye him. I had a few pre-race plans up my sleeve, one of which ended just as fast as it took place - I was up the back when the first sprint lead out launched, Nelms a few lengths behind me. I let the bunch fight it out, Samual Rix (St Kilda) took the 5 points. Nelms then powered through them and I jumped on - I guessed this was his tactic and I was happy to be involved. We're clear, he drives for 50m, swings the elbow and I come through.. then he sits up....!!!? He drifts back to the bunch so I sit up and wait for them to come through. Harry Hanley (Hawthorn) had made the jump into A grade for the first time and was contributing well on the flat roads.
Into the left hand corner heading towards Newham Sutherland and Gary Mueller (Brunswick) had kept the power on and put a few riders in trouble, I bridged across with Dominik Dudkiewicz (Melton) in tow and was surprised to see we had opened a gap. 50m turned into 100m, as soon as the four of us spotted the gap we kept the power on. Rix and Nelms(?) were chasing and closing in. I didn't contest the Newham sprint and quickly jumped on the front to keep driving our group along. Smooth turns with a tail wind meant the gap back to Rix was growing. The break was now: Dudkiewicz, Miller, Mueller, and Sutherland .
By the Roachford KOM sprint we all agreed to share the sprint points around between the four of us and all bets were off on the last lap. Lap 2 was smooth turns from the four of us sweeping up the points along the way.
I was still happy to be with the break on the final lap and had reset my goals to contesting the final sprint. I didn't contest the Cobaw or Newham sprints but rolled through after each of them and kept the pace up to ensure Rix and any other chasers wouldn't catch us napping. The pace gently increased leading up to the Roachford KOM, no out of the saddle attacks, just a slow bump in pace until all four of us were chewing bar tape. I didn't want to overcook myself and get spat out the back only a few kms from home, but I still managed to roll through for 2 points.
Down the hill and the fast run into Lancefield I felt like I had something left in the legs to catch the other three out, but before I could work my timing point for my flying attack, Sutherland beat me to it. He was off and I was spending my attack energy pulling him back. I let the other two get on his wheel and we rounded the final left hand bend. 300m to go Jake was on the front, Mueller and Dudkiewicz were still watching him, so I jumped to the middle of the road. My attack was both heard and seen and the sprint opened up. Sutherland was out the back and I was kept wide into the wind. I took 3rd in the final sprint and 4th overall on points. One tough race and even tougher on those who didn't make the break!