MIVA ARBUTUS MEADOWS CRITERIUM 120807
For the first time in more than two years, the MIVA Tuesday criterium was held on a new course. Arbutus Meadows Equestrian Centre just south of Parksville has hosted a number of sports including indoor soccer, moto-cross, BMX and, of course, horse jumping but this is the first time that a road cycling event has been held at the centre. The management recently had a 620 metre oval dirt trail paved. The resulting circuit is ideal for criteriums, having both sharp and gentle corners, a good stiff rise and a great finishing straight just off the oval..
Both the youth and senior events went off without a hitch and there were many positive comments about the new location. The riders liked the safe nature of the course and the variety it provided. The organiser also loved the fact tha there were no cones or warning signs to put out (eat your heart out Midweek!) and no permit needed.
In the youth race, the wide variance in age, experience and ability resulted in a lead group of six riders pulling away from the rest of the participants. This was eventually whittled down to four riders who lapped the rest. This quartette contested the final sprint, with James Grant just beating Brodie Hay, with fellow CU members Mark Grant and Jessica Reynolds taking third and fourth.
The senior race turned out to be similar, with a group of six riders lapping the rest of the field. However, with fifteen laps to go, Rob Russell rode of the front of the lead pack who simply watched him take a few seconds per lap without any serious chase being organised. Rob stayed away and eventually took the chequered flag twenty-two seconds clear. The dash for second was won by Andrew Grant, a Courtenay junior who has recently resumed racing after a brief hiatus. The next two places were filled by Andrew Attwell and Trevor Perkins who are both new to the MIVA criterium series.
After the races, Arbutus Meadows manager Rob Bau indicated that MIVA would be welcome at the centre for the balance of the season. The fact that he is a regular competitor in the criterium series could have something to do with this!