Stromlo – 28th February
A gentle easterly drifting across the course under a shortening day set the scene for Vets racing at Stromlo.
A few weeks off the bike can make a big difference to your level of fitness and Bruce Jones knows this all too well as Bernie managed to hang onto F Grade for longer than Bruce and cleared out from Bruce. By the time Bernie was dropped from F Grade it was all over red rover. But full credit to Bruce because it’s all about getting time in the saddle and he got in a good 25 min training ride. I’m sure he’ll be back to racing speed very soon.
Rode together as a roving pack for the first 13 mins but as the wind picked up a little the cracks began to show with several splits forming. On the final lap there was only 5 riders left and at this point Graham Hendrie was a steam train in the back straight laying down some serious power. However he proved to be the perfect lead out guy for other riders who hung on to contest the sprint. Sue Duckett was simply too strong in the sprint to take a great win ahead of David Witteveen and Mike Hayes.
9 riders at the start line. 9 riders to finish. Early on there were some eager little attacks but nothing stuck in the strong cross winds. Most attacks occurring on the up hill section just after the finish line. As each lap came around anyone and everyone was willing to push a little harder up the hill to try and break the others. On the final lap John Lowe did the same with some blistering speed up and around the bend. Into the back straight he held a handy lead and looked like he had stolen a race winning break. Coming into the final straight you could see those legs starting to get really heavy as the lactic burn kicked in. He was caught 10 metres before the line with a well timed sprint from Mick Donaldson, J Wilson grabbed 2nd with a tiring John Lowe hanging on for 3rd.
Great numbers! With 26 riders at the start line ready to race. With such a large group, one would think attacks were going to be the order of the day so that the stronger riders could whittle down the pack. However after 15 mins it was one in, all in and not a single rider dropped. It stayed this way for most of the race with a few final lap flurries it came down to a close 3-way sprint with Matt Dyne proving to be too good on the line ahead of James Curran and Daniel Grillo in 3rd.
12 riders started with 11 finishing. Some great attacking moves in this race with Terry Moore and Team Onya Bike counter attacking. I think I counted 2 attacks by Terry and 2 by Team Onya. This left others in the race hanging on for dear life each time. But wins are sometimes achieved through sheer grit and determination and Ben Healy showed his by taking out a comfortable win in the end ahead of Hamish Anderson riding in his first race at the club (Welcome Hamish!) with Matt Haddock in 3rd.
20 riders started all finished. Mark Taylor went on the attack early and strung out B grade early into a nice looking congo line (minus the hands on hips). Mark obviously was keen to inflict pain tonight as he rode very strongly at the head of the bunch for most of the race. Best place to be in a crit race as you can cover the attacks and avoid the gaps that often form in the back of the queue. Also riding in the first few was Nick Boylan who was correctly predicted by the Sports Med to have a shocker last lap and tail off. Did Tom have money on the result? Once again it came down to a sprint finish, but with Peta Brill in devastating form winning a clutch of medals at the recent NSW Track champs it was no contest with Peta easing up near the line to coast over for an easy win. 2nd went to Tony Rowley on review with Michael Foulds rounding out 3rd place.
Always great racing in A grade with attack, counter attack all but guaranteed. Nathan Spillane and The Dominator established an early lead, but the peloton coordinated a chase to bring them back. However Team Quon looked like putting on a superb tactical move after getting 2 of 3 riders into another attack. However Nick Stewart sensed danger and joined into a counter attack along with Ed Pellegrino. The rest of A organised a strong chase led by Marc Vroomans, but simply could not bridge the gap across to the two riders. After several laps, Ed was cooked and dropped back leaving Nick to put in an Oscar worthy performance by putting the rest of A grade into La La Land to win by half a lap. Sean Ifland sprinted home to take 2nd ahead of Marc Vroomans in 3rd who never gave up chasing.
Thanks as always to Tom Roberts who not only acts as Sports Med but also time keeper, chute official and signage director. His efforts are always helpful on race night. Graham Hendrie for opening and closing duties and Kirsti McVay for making sure everyone signs on properly.
[Ed: Apologies, last week’s Race Report should have been credited to Dale Kleeman]
Narrabundah Track Racing – 1st March
Attendance for Session 17 of the track racing season improved over recent weeks with fifteen riders, split almost equally between A and in B grades. The weather was hot with a stronger that usual back straight headwind. As expected, the wind moderated over the session.
Eight riders lined up in A grade for the initial 10-lap scratch race. The pack worked together for 5 laps. By that point, the pace was hot. Kerry Knowler put in an attack that was contained and closed down within a lap. On Lap 8 Rowan McMurray tried an attack. Kerry Knowler closed this down, possibly expending too much energy in the pursuit. The bunch consolidated with John Paul De Sousa, high on the banking, in prime position, as they turned into the bell lap. John Paul’s attack looked promising. However, it was soon blunted when Steve Jones and Michael Langdon took off. Steve Jones prevailed at the finish with Michael Langdon and John Paul De Sousa placing in that order.
The 10-Lap B grade scratch race was hot with the first rider dropped by mid race. On lap 6, Dougal Torrance attacked with the pack soon scrambling to close a significant gap. Dougal was caught on lap 8, but remained a front runner. Ian Drayton put in the final attack and quickly gained a decisive margin. Dougal pursued valiantly, but had conceded too much ground and had to watch Ian cruise over the line, out of reach. Dougal was followed in by Phil Anderson, in third place.
The evening’s second event was a 4-lap handicap, with results contributing to the season’s Omnium competition. In A grade, Michael Langdon put in the stand out ride. From a scratch mark, Michael scorched through the field. As the bell lap approached, he gained the wheel of front runner Kerry Knowler. Kerry’s ride was also brilliant. With Michael stuck on her wheel it looked like she had no chance. However, Kerry held a torrid pace through the final lap and Michael could not get past. Kerry and Michael were followed by Ben Davis, who also put in a big effort and rode a good, tactical race.
In the B grade handicap, Dougal Torrance and Phil Anderson were the stand outs. Dougal shared the scratch mark with Phil. Both riders wound up quickly, overtook and towed the bunch around the limit rider within two laps. The pace was frantic. At the finish, Dougal took the win from Phil with Steve Dean in third position.
The next events were paired match races. These events were very entertaining, with a variety of tactics employed to greater or lesser effect. The pairs were generally, well matched. In many cases, a small tactical error was sufficient to decide the contest. Winners of the match races were Ben Robey, Michael Langdon, Rowan McMurray, Ian Drayton, Phil Anderson and John Lowe.
The final combined Italian pursuit had seven riders drawn from A and B grades on each team. This event should have been a close contest. However, Team 1 had a mishap on the first changeover. John Lowe was caught off guard and had a wheel clipped when the start rider pulled up the track for the first change. John wobbled along the track but, amazingly, stayed upright. However, the third rider had to take evasive action causing Steve Dean, in fourth position, to be forced off the track. Team 1 recovered as best they could. Unfortunately, they were now one rider short and Team 2 had, by then, established an unbeatable lead. In due course Steve Jones delivered for Team 2. Team 1 was comforted by the fact that no one fell, in what could have been a nasty incident.
Major place getters were as follows:
10-Lap Scratch: (A Grade) Steve Jones, Michael Langdon, John Paul de Sousa. (B Grade) Ian Drayton, Dougal Torrance, Phil Anderson,
4-Lap Handicap: (A Grade) Kerry Knowler, Michael Langdon, Ben Davis. (B Grade) Dougal Torrance, Phil Anderson, Steve Dean.
Match Race Winners: Ben Robey, Michael Langdon, Rowan McMurray, Phil Anderson, John Lowe, Ian Drayton
Combined Italian Pursuit Winner: Team 2 (Steve Jones, Ben Robey, John Paul de Sousa, Andrew Peel, Rowan McMurray, Ian Drayton, Ross Scutts).
Current Points Score Leaders: Michael Langdon (268), Phil Anderson (265), Steve Jones (260), Ross Scutts (245), Alec Millett (220), Tony Beasley (204), Kerry Knowler (174), Steve Hirsler (166).