Fresh from his silver medal in last weekend’s Vantage Criterium National Championships in Takapuna, Campbell Stewart went one better in round 3 of the Grassroots Trust Team Championship presented by Dynamo Events.  Stewart took the win in Ngaruawahia ahead of breakaway companions Xander White and Frank Sutton.

Plenty of anticipation greeted the third round of this season’s Grassroots Trust Team Championship as Ngaruawahia played host to a round of the series for the first time.  Categories 1 & 2 had 110km of challenge ahead of them, while for categories 3-5 and the women’s races an 87km course would lie in wait.

For the category 1 & 2 fields the race would work its way north toward Te Kauwhata before heading west and then south through Naike Pepepe and Waingaro.  From there the course would wind its way through Glen Massey before returning to Ngaruawahia for the finish.

A breakaway would decide matters in category 1 as three riders gapped the bunch that strongly featured Team Crediflex Cycling.  One of their own was up the road though as Frank Sutton joined Campbell Stewart of WBOP Performance Hub and Xander White of GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles at the head of the race.  They held a gap of more than a minute over the chasing peloton by the time the race reached its end, but it was here that Stewart’s track prowess won out as he took the sprint ahead of White after 2.39.38 hours.

Gapping the field behind him, Ryan Christensen crossed the line in 4th place, the second of three Crediflex Cycling riders in the top 6 at the end of the race, with Antony Nalder finishing behind Nick Kergozou of Team Central Roofing Revolution.  Alex Heaney of GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles finished 7th and kept his lead in the overall standings with 21 points to Regan Gough’s 16 points and Sam Gaze’s 15 points.

For Glen Carabine of Thermal Chemistry/Dynamo Events the category 2 race provided the ideal birthday present.  Carabine and teammate Heath Lett broke clear of a group of six riders featuring GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles duo Mike Gilbert and James Harvey, Stephen Lewthwaite and Drew Woods of Oculus Architectural Engineering Ltd, and Nathan Bunn and Ant Gardiner of Velolab Valley Toyota Image Glass.

Carabine crossed the line for first place with Lett and Gilbert completing the podium.  The race for category 2 overall honours is extremely tight in the individual standings with Paul Bishop enjoying just a solitary point’s lead ahead of Gordon McCauley and Glen Carabine.  Meanwhile Velolab Valley Toyota Image Glass hold a commanding lead in the team standings with 51 points, ahead of GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles with 34 points and Thermal Chemistry/Dynamo Events with 32 points.

Ollie Simcock of CNZ Junior Men has established himself as the man to beat in the category 3 series, as he took his second win in three races.  Simcock called on a sharp turn of pace to win a bunch sprint ahead of Craig Merritt of Team Osmo Nutrition and Todd Hewlett of GRIT Coaching.  The win means that Simcock’s lead overall is a healthy 12 points ahead of Andrew Reeves and 15 points ahead of Craig Burke.

The team standings in category 3 is extremely close with GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles leading by just a point from Mt Eden Cycles/Jack Tar Bar with CRM 4 points behind. 

Rodney Grant of Velolab Valley Toyota Image Glass produced a brilliant solo effort in category 4 to claim the win in Ngaruawahia.  Grant finished 39 seconds clear of O’Neill Sinclair of Forestland Wheelers; with Sinclair continuing to lead the overall series.  TMR’s Zane Pruden completed the top three.

BDO Auckland continue to lead the team standings with 52 points to Quadrent/PTM’s 43 and Eves Real Estate’s 32.

Category 5 saw Taupo Cycling Club Blue Team finish with 4 riders in the top 5 and 5 in the top 8.  Leading the way for the team was Darren Hume who led home a group of four riders, with Tony Tinworth second and Team Rayglass GMC’s Russell Thorpe the only rider who could deny the team a clean sweep of the podium in third.

Reminiscent of their form today, the Taupo Cycling Club Blue Team sit in a strong position overall with 57 points, while Bob’s Bikes sit in second with 47 points and Team Rayglass GMC hold 36 points.  Third on the day was enough keep Russell Thorpe in the overall lead ahead of Darren Hume and Tony O’Hagan.

The elite women’s race was a battle between four riders as Velo Project’s Ally Wollaston and Else Fraser broke clear along with Penny Pawson of Castelli Women’s Racing and Deborah Pain of North Island Women’s Performance Team.  At the line Wollaston had the legs to take the win ahead of Fraser, with Pawson coming home third.  The result puts Fraser into the the overall lead ahead of Wollaston and Pawson with the top four overall separated by just 7 points.

Velo Project’s lead in the team standings now stands at 20 points to Castelli Women’s Racing and 24 points to North Island Women’s Performance Team.

A brilliant solo effort in the Open Women’s A race saw Jorga Swain of FOXES – TOOT TOOT BEEP BEEP claim the line honours over 6 minutes clear of Ella Morton of HIREACE Race Team and Nicolas Lewis of Surprisycle.  Surpriscycle currently hold the lead in the team standings ahead of CNZ Junior Women and FOXES – TOOT TOOT BEEP BEEP; with Emma Hannan leading the individual standings ahead of Ella Morton and Nicola Lewis. 

Finally the Open Women’s B race saw Sophie Hamer cross the line first for RABBIT – TOOT TOOT BEEP BEEP ahead of teammate Sam Sedgwick and Bob’s Bikes Pedal Chics’ Abby Owsley, with Hamer’s win giving her a 15 point advantage overall ahead of Sedgwick, with Jane Carswell in third place overall.  Meanwhile RABBITS – TOOT TOOT BEEP BEEP lead the team standings by 6 points from Bob’s Bikes Pedal Chics and Velo Femme.

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