The Helivac Winter Criterium Series took place on Sunday morning at Melrose Arch. On the tight street circuit Willie Smit & his RoadCover teammates started with intent to stretch the field.
Willie Smit was the first to forge ahead, eventually going clear on his own to win ahead of a three man group.
Images of the race from Stuart Pickering of CyclingDirect. - Gallery
It started to unfold on the first lap as Brendon Davids and Willie Smit opened up the taps quickly. "Knowing that the corners would make positioning important. We decided to stretch the race from the start. Hopefully making it safer, but strategically giving us an advantage as well." Says Smit.
The duo were soon joined by Nolan Hoffman, Reynard Butler (Team BCX) & Clint Hendricks (RoadCover). This five man group kept the pressure on until Smit & Hoffman forged further ahead.
Hoffman, the favorite for a fast race like a lap criterium such as this, was happy to stay calm & wait for his team riders Butler & Van Heerden who were just behind. However Smit preferred a hard race and attacked out of the hairpin corners until Hoffman could take it no longer & fell off the pace. Smit kept his rhythm up and went on to win alone.
Smit keeps the pressure on.
In the meantime, Hendricks and Davids tried to escape from the two BCX riders, Butler & Van Heerden. Butler pushed too hard into one of the sharp corners and crashed out. Leaving his team mate at the mercy of the RoadCover Duo.
Hoffman abandoned the race leaving his BCX team mate Van Heerden to contend with the RoadCover riders. Van Heerden eventually finishing fourth to Hendricks & Davids.
The first junior to finish was Brendan Havenga of the OfficeGuru.co.za team.
Havenga leads his team mate in the junior category, Alex Worsdale.
This was the flagship event of the 6 event Winter Criterium Series. These short lap races are sharp and intense and allow the public to witness the emotion and speed of road cycling up close.
There were events for many categories, from kiddies to 50+ veterans.
The final results, 45min +1Lap :
- Willie Smit (RoadCover)
- Brendon Davids (RoadCover)
- Clint Hendricks (RoadCover)
- Steven Van Heerden (Team BCX)
- Ryan Harris (RoadCover)
- James Barnes (Complete Cyclist)
- Richard Damant
- Michael Pretorius (Luso)
- Alwyn Steenkamp (AKATA)
- Jarryd Else