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December 7, 2014 – Christmas Handicap – Windmill Circuit (2 laps)

December 7, 2014 – Christmas Handicap – Windmill Circuit (2 laps)

The bells on Monsieur Le President, Terry Collie’s bobtail were ringing as he assumed Rudolph’s position at the head of affairs in the final dash for the line to win a Christmas cracker of a race. Oh, what fun it is to ride and sing, a ‘slaying’ song.

Despite very windy conditions and the threat of rain, spirits were bright for the last race of the season, 19 merry-makers rolled out for some Christmas cheer in the hurt locker. Teamwork was the order of the day, the wind ensuring that the team of little elves that could knit together best would probably win. Simple really, in theory anyway…

John Faulkner and Michael Lynch got to rip the wrapping paper off the race, and set off in search of mince tarts and shortbread, but this limit duo was finding the wind tough and retired for Christmas eggnog early.

The winning 10 min bunch of six reindeer were next away, dashing off the line was Mal ‘Blitzen’ Rock, Greg ‘Comet’ Curnow, Graeme ‘Prancer’ Parker, Jude ‘Vixen’ Jonasson, Tony ‘Dancer’ Herbert and the red-nosed Terry ‘Rudolph’ Collie. Rollicking along, they were dishing out presents of pain to the chasers, all six working well, keeping the sleigh sliding smoothly. First lap down and they had control of the race, nothing behind but tinsel and glitter.

The Christmas race eve celebration ride to Lorne the day before left John Creek a bit hung-over and he missed his mark; the 6 min bunch set off without him. Kevin ‘Popeye’ Lee, brother Brian Lee, Rob Parker and Duncan Bates (new rider from Central Vets – welcome Duncan) set off at an apocalyptic pace, determined to stuff Terry’s turkey. Driven on by Popeye and Duncan, the bunch was making good time, but it came at a cost as Rob slipped off the back.

Second scratch was an odd collection of relatives that have to be invited to Christmas dinner but don’t seem to get along. Peter ‘Fifi’ Livitsanis tried in vain to control the headstrong enthusiasm of Matt ‘Riff Raff’ Bowman who spent a lot of time on the front – well actually off the front by himself. He wasn’t alone though, Darren Terry is a beast on a bike and, despite desperate calls for moderation, he was pulling hard on the front as well. Richard ‘Robocop’ Taylor seems to have found some legs late in the season and rode an equally strong race while Creekie was just hanging on, weeping for mercy.

Scratch included the three wise men of Tony Mirabella, Andrew Rushton and Dean Wells. The miserly 2 minutes to second scratch was a mere formality and they hit them at the quarry on the second lap. Darren didn’t take this well and attacked Scratch up the hill and split the combined bunch. Darren, Andrew and Tony going clear with the rest left to chase as best they could.

Into Donovan’s Road for the last time and barely 2km out, Le President’s bunch had the race to themselves, but some great handicapping was seeing things closing up fast. Scratch could see the front of the race and the Lee bunch on their little white tails. In the ride of the day, the powerhouse Duncan Bates had got his little squad within striking distance and a final surge saw them catch the Collie bunch 500m out. They couldn’t hang around eyeballing each other with Scratch on their way. The pace went up and the adrenalin kicked in early for Jude and she opened the final salvo a long way out, her fellow contenders happy to let ladies go first. Greg found a gap and surged with Kevin Lee. But it was the cool hand of Terry Collie that had judged this one to perfection. Slicing his way through the Christmas pudding of failing riders, he found the front of the race when it really mattered, at the chequered flag. The stoic Kevin not far behind and the carol singing ‘Cadel’ Curnow in third.

Results

1st           Terry Collie

2nd          Kevin Lee

3rd           Greg Curnow

4th           Jude Jonasson

5th           Graeme Parker

FT           Tony Mirabella

RoD        Duncan Bates

December 1, 2014 – Graded criteriums – Production Drive

December 1, 2014 – Graded criteriums – Production Drive

A Grade

‘Don’t buy upgrades, ride upgrades’ – Eddy Merckx

Tony Mirabella arrived aboard his new steed, she’s a fiery red head with a stiff bottom bracket, he’s so smitten he’d probably sleep with it if it had the right colour lip gloss. Six able bodied fellows took the line in a points race criterium. Six sprints in total, the winner being the rider with the most points. Brendan Schiemer was again in fine form and took the early sprints up to the more favoured Mirabella. This put some doubt in Italian Stallion’s mind, he wasn’t keen to see this race determined in tight sprints so he and his new best friend, his red flash Cervelo S3, put the race out of reach by riding clear of the field and riding the last 30 mins out the front on his own, collecting maximum points for the remaining sprints. The constant accelerations for intermediate sprint points were not to the liking of Dean ‘the Phantom’ Wells or Phil Cartledge who drifted off the back and used the opportunity for some time trial training. This left Brendan, Lindsay Burgoyne and a grimly determined Richard ‘Robobcop’ Taylor to chase the red flash and contest second and third. Brendan proving to be the dominant force collecting only one point less than the eventual winner Tony. Linsday put in a credible effort and took third.

Results

1st           Tony Mirabella

2nd          Brendan Schiemer

3rd           Lindsay Burgoyne

B Grade

‘Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill’ – Fausto Coppi

Charlie Stebbing is looking skinny enough to fit through a cat flap door, trimmed down for his assault on the Tour of Bright he’s in really good knick and was the main protagonist in a solid field of 7. Peter ‘Fifi’ Livitsanis got proceedings underway and revved the field up to racing speed, but his creaking bike is like a three year old child, annoying most of the time, but try to take it away from him and he’ll kill you for it (except if it’s being exchanged under warranty for a new R5). Congrats to Brad ‘Crit Monster’ Eppingstall for taking on B Grade, however fearing his awesomeness in the final sprint the more diminutive racers were keen to get rid of him early. With over 30 minutes to race Matt Ritchie realised a furious weasel must have dropped down his bib shorts and he took off at an alarming clip, it took the field most of a lap to reel him back, but the Crit Monster was gone. John Creek is starting to find some fitness and although shelled a few times he clawed his way back on each time, he has a reputation for not being great in the corners, in fact he used to have the turning circle of a full moon. But now he throws the bike into the corners praying ‘Our Father who art in heaven, I’ll be there in a minute’. Bob Muncher Morley has been fine-tuning his crit craft mid-week, never seen at the front except for an odd mistake, he settled neatly onto the hip of either Charlie or Fifi. Dave ‘Pixie’ Peters seemed to be playing with the field, hardly ever out of third gear, everyone was waiting for the diabolical attack that never came. Matt found a flourish of attacks and counters too much for his windbags and retired from the race, the Pixie vanished not much after him. With the race down to four, and Fifi on the front, the bell lap was sounded, perhaps a little earlier than anyone expected. Fifi immediately took off like a startled rabbit, which stretched the field out and gapped Creekie, but half way up the back straight he discovered his engine had been swapped out for a little field mouse called Gerald, Charlie and Bob rolled him up with ease on the second last corner and scooted clear. The pair raced neck and neck for the line with Charlie pinching his first win from Bob by a tyre.

Results

1st           Charlie Stebbing

2nd          Bob Morley

3rd           Peter Livitsanis

C Grade

‘If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough’ – Mario Andretti

With the end of the season looming large on the horizon, it’s been a lean year for Terry ‘le President’ Collie, and he was keen to add something to his palmares for 2014. The standard of C Grade has stepped up a lot in the last year and a win in good company was just what he needed. However, there were 5 others that had other ideas today. Greg ‘Cadel’ Curnow was out and about in the sunshine but probably operating on about 2 hours sleep, a rejuvenated Tony Herbert has discovered that he can win and was keen to back up his recent Brackenbury victory. The evergreen Barry Robinson is an unassuming assassin and always in contention. Mr consistent Mal Rock continues to remind everyone that a small chain ring is unnecessary, posting plenty of podium placings in the second half of the year, and the most improved for 2014 Lisa ‘Princess of Buninyong’ Ritchie has grown wings this year and was sure to keep the b@#%$ds honest. Tight racing ensued for the entire 45min. The final lap sprint was a mad dash, the pace saw the sprint bunch catch B Grade near the line, with half the road effectively closed it was the better positioned President that was favoured by a rails run and claimed a rare victory. Barry taking second and Mal third.

Results

1st           Terry Collie

2nd          Barry Robinson

3rd           Mal Rock

November 23, 2014 – Handicap – Mt Misery Circuit

November 23, 2014 – Handicap – Mt Misery Circuit

Graeme Parker, the Red Terror of EVCC, made it three wins from his last three starts, by holding a large talented field at bay and sprinting clear of his bunch on the challenging Mt Misery circuit. Despite his dodgy knee, Graeme has found a late season purple patch and has secured his podium placing in the club aggregate competition. He is so pumped about his form at the moment he was heard to remark that he’s asked the handicapper to start him in B Grade next week.

It was also a red letter day for another ‘son of Eureka’, for different reasons. After a long absence following hip surgery, the new improved Peter ‘Steve Austin’ Kiel made his long awaited comeback. Some say he looks even better on the bike now than ever and his new ‘drivetrain’ is as smooth as Shimano can make – and while the nerves were jangling a little pre-race, he put in a strong performance.

A big field on a pleasant calm day, 27 riders in all with about half of these in Scratch or second scratch. First away was the Stay-Away-Ray Hodgson and le President Terry Collie with a handy 24 min handicap, while capture was likely, if they could work with the other front markers both could feature prominently in the final analysis. But chasing them was Eureka’s most improved rider of the season, Lisa Ritchie, accompanied by a quietly strengthening Tony Herbert. With only a two minute gap to the next larger bunch they rode superbly to clear Mt Misery before being rounded up. But their race wasn’t done, they settled into the combined bunch and worked turns, and were probably the deciding factor as to why this bunch stayed clear all race and took all the placings. For her impressive and gritty ride, Lisa wins Ride of the Day.

That chasing bunch was team Parker; Graeme, Rotten Ronnie Larkin, Greg Cadel Curnow and Malcom X Rock. By Black bottom Rd they had reeled in the front of the race and were driving for home with a slight tailwind. This race is often decided on the dead Ercildoune Rd and the final push up Weatherboard Rd, when the back of the race catches the tiring riders out front. Well today they steam was still in the kettle and these boys (and girl) found plenty late in the race, never headed and hardly ever in view it came down to who had the kick in the sprint. Graeme wasn’t waiting for a lead out and went early opening a clear gap. He accelerated hard to the line, in a head to head sprint there aren’t too many that can take Graeme and certainly his bunch was found wanting today, Graeme taking the chequered flag easily. In a tight tussle for second mal just got over a snarling Ron. Fourth was Lisa in a bold showing from the tenacious Tony H.

Bob Morley shares his experience of the middle of the race…..

The battle of the middle markers was unfolding behind the winning bunch, while they could see their quarry up the road they didn’t seem to be making much impression on them, falling short by about 500m on the line.

With the combined wisdom of the two great sages, Bob Morley and Rob Parker, this bunch was probably the favourites on the start line. The bunch also included the irrepressible Lee boys, an improving John Creek and of course the X factor of ‘Steve Austin’ Kiel. Kiely took the opportunity to remind everyone that he’s still a great rider. Since his hip replacement he sits square on the bike and looks fantastic, his pedal stroke looks more efficient, when he’s up to full fitness heaven help us. He was the strongest in the bunch and the brains trust (Morley and Parker) had to call him and Flyin Bryan back a couple of times on the hills. They were doing the major heavy lifting with them both spending big turns on the front. The rest of bunch rolled through with Creeky and Robby Parker struggling on some occasions but holding their own, until the left turn for home when the whole thing shattered into a million pieces. Brian took off and gapped the bunch easily by a 100 meters or so. Popeye was out by himself chasing him and Kiely was towing Creekie back up, not that the diminutive Kiel was much of a sit when all was said and done. Bob was instantly gone at that stage and so was Rob Parker. Popeye caught Brian but didn’t have the gas to finish him off and Bryan won the battle of the Lee’s.

Over such a short journey, Scratch were always going to struggle to catch the front of the race, but they gave it a red hot go. With 7 in the scratch bunch all working well together they averaged over 40km/hr for the race, normally this would have been more than good enough however, not today. (Following commentary courtesy of the Phantom)

Ably lead by our new ‘numero uno’, the Italian Stallion, Tony Mirabella, the magnificent seven included Andrew ‘Sparky’ Rushton, Phil ‘Farky’ Cartledge, the fat Dan ‘Stringbean’ Hale, the very brown Noosa champion Lindsay ‘Hamburglar’ Burgoyne, rookie of the year Brendan ‘Mclarey’ Schiemer and Dean ‘The Phantom’ Wells wh looks like he needs a good feed.

The boys started off at a strong pace with rotating turns and held it together going up the rise to the war memorial and averaging 36kph at Edmonston Rd. Like a boisterous puppy Brendan was pretty excited to be in Scratch kept getting a bit too far in front on his turns. A few instructions to the newbie sorted that out.

Notable early and throughout the whole first half of the race – Tony seemingly a bit sluggish on the old red bike. Maybe just trying to ensure the troops didn’t expend all their bullets early.

The crew were red flagged at Addington (Shaun the sheep was up the road somewhere), they took it easy up the hill, slowly ramped up speed and crested at 30kph. Tony called for 30 second track turns. All riding strong over the hills in Beaufort-Waubra Rd, although Sheems, The Phantom and Sparky were particularly strong. Stringbean taking the odd breather. Caught sight of 2nd Scratch up ahead.

Sweeping towards Black Bottom Rd and Farky and Sparky started to show some real strength with extra long turns as Scratch closed in on 2nd. No one missing a turn. The Hamburglar putting all that recent time trialling form to good use.

Passed an EVCC race number on the road – either the groups up ahead were blowing apart (literally), or someone (Sponge Bob) thought the extra 20 grams was slowing them down.

The catch is soon to be made, a few monster turns from Sparky and The Phantom and 2nd Scratch are within smelling distance. Swing into Ercildoune Rd and can’t see 2nd Scratch. Billy G has strategically placed his car in-between the two bunches. After a few hundred metres Billy G accelerates like there’s no tomorrow and gets out of Scratch’s way.

2nd Scratch are spread all over the road with gaps between individuals and pairs. Charlie Stebbing and Rob Phillips out in front as Farky leads Scratch to the catch and passes quickly. 2nd Scratch boys jump onto the Scratch train.

The effort is starting to tell on the Scratch boys, no groups in site up ahead…the Italian Stallion, Farky and Sparky keep taking longer turns in front. Sheems, Stringbean, The Hamburglar and The Phantom are taking noticeably shorter turns, but Rob and Charlie have added some fire power to the charge.

Riders ahoy in the distance as the super bunch crest the rise in Ercildoune Road. Sparky issuing instructions to The Phantom to save some bikkies before the climb up Weatherboard.

The super bunch are stretched out in single file as they sweep into Weatherboard-Learmonth Rd. Sheems goes to the front and holds a steady pace with The Hamburglar tucked in behind. Riders from other bunches spread out ahead are the new target.

The Phantom rolls through to lead the charge up the hill, Sparky figures he may as well join in and takes the super bunch over the crest. Sheems launches from well back and creates a gap which is quickly closed down, then Matt ‘Riff Raff’ Bowman comes from nowhere and puts in a few big pedals before the super bunch loses focus. It seems that a few passengers think the front of the race is just ahead…no way boys, the front of the race is still half a kilometre up the road.

Words of encouragement from The Phantom and particularly Farky quickly get the super bunch back on track. Rob puts in a massive downhill turn, so quick that Charlie can’t even get past.

With the race for first all over Scratch are now going to fight out the fastest time prize. Farky throws his chance for fastest time away and leads the super bunch to the 400 metre mark. Soon after the Italian Stallion starts his sprint with Stringbean in tow.

It’s all messy at the line, but the Italian Stallion takes fastest time and may have even got into the top ten. Stringbean takes KOM (Strava) for Mt. Misery, short version in 1:08:22 (but only because Tony doesn’t upload his data).

Results

1st           Graeme Parker

2nd          Mal Rock

3rd           Ron Larkin

4th           Lisa Ritchie

5th           Tony Herbert

FT           Tony Mirabella

RoD        Lisa Ritchie

2014 Club Championships – Ballarat Courier, 2/11/2014

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