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Ritchie Rich Grabs the Cash

Ritchie Rich Grabs the Cash

Race Report 19 September 2012 

Hetherington Circuit Handicap

Matt Ritchie has been improving all season, and despite sacking his coach (Bob) earlier in the week, showed a clean pair of heels on Sunday to win from a difficult mark – a group of two stuck between a much larger group behind and another pair in front. Assisted by the other big improver for 2012, Gary Blood, Matt made the courageous decision to chase the pair in front rather than wait – a race winning decision.

The race became that much more difficult for the back markers when Matt and Gary rounded up Graeme Parker and Ron Larkin. Graeme, resplendent on his new Fuji, then orchestrated this quartet to perfection. The time gap to the chasers was tumbling but not quite quick enough. The awesome foursome had the race lead early, with no sign of the chasing bunches. Into the final lap they negotiated the hilly part of the circuit as a group, but the pace went up around the piggery corner and Gary exploded. Rounding the final turn past the clubrooms Matt jumped, usually this is pure folly from this far out, but Matt proved he has been building a bigger engine, and powered to the post. Graeme and Ron left to squabble over second, Ronnie edging a fast finishing Graeme on the line.

Bob Morley, John Creek, Mal Rock, Terry Constable and Brian and Kevin Lee were also not waiting for the bunch behind and committed to the 6.5min chase to Matt and Gary. They rocketed out of the start gate and despite being pursued with vigour they only gave up seconds on the first lap. They rode with precision and purpose, the average speed remaining solid every lap, and not dropping a rider until late in the race when Scratch eventually caught them. Still in the mix for the minor placings, Bob sprinted well to be the first rider home from this bunch and finished a creditable 6th.

Off 4.5 minutes was what looked a winning bunch on paper (well the whiteboard anyway). Dave Peters, Pip Read, Dean Wells, Craig Lightfoot and Peter Livitsanis have all made life miserable for many riders before. However, it was not to be today. Even from the start they couldn’t get the combination working and one by one their numbers were depleted.

Second scratch were making big inroads in the 2 minute gap to the 4.5 minute bunch with Darren Terry and Rob Phillips both riding strongly, but Richard Taylor struggled to hold the pace. Darren and Rob caught up with Dave Peters who had been dropped from the bunch in front and dragged him back up to Peter L and Dean Wells. This odd assortment worked OK until scratch caught them on the final lap at the start of Weatherboard Road. Tony Mirabella and his fellow Scratch riders, Peter Kiel and Guy Falla, went on the attack, and went clear on the first hill. Rob Phillips was incensed and tore his bike apart to successfully get back on the back of Scratch, taking Darren and Peter L with him, the rest all perished on the hill. The next rise to the Avenue proved a challenge too soon for Rob and the final hill in the Avenue took care of Peter and Darren, leaving Tony and friends unencumbered by passengers and they powered away in search of race glory.

They caught Bob’s band of merry men just after the piggery. There was no settling down for the final sprint though, Guy attacked several times and popped several riders, but probably burning his chances in the process. Tony jumped from the bend and spread-eagled the field, no one could go with him. Around a minute behind the race winner, Tony easily took 4th and Fastest, even had time to smile for Bill’s camera. Kiely continued his good form from last weeks Open top ten finish, riding strongly he was rewarded with 5th.

 

Results

1st                        Matt Ritchie (14 minutes)

2nd                        Ron Larkin (16 minutes)

3rd                        Graeme Parker (16 minutes)

4th                        Tony Mirabella (Scratch)

5th                        Peter Kiel (Scratch)

Fastest Time            Tony Mirabella (Scratch)

Eureka open run and won

Eureka open run and won

Clarke First and Fastest

Congratulations to Eastern Vets Roy Clarke, who won this year’s Eureka Open handicap in a thrilling bunch sprint, taking fastest time in the process.

In good weather conditions, over 80 riders contested the 62km event held on the Mt Misery circuit at Learmonth. With limit at 27 minutes, the challenge was set for the Scratch riders who haven’t contested a finish in any of this year’s Opens to date. The Scratch bunch had some in-form riders, the likes of Steve Young, Neville Laffy and Tony Mirabella combined to form a potent force that quickly made in-roads on the time gaps to the bunches in front. With Roy continually driving the bunch hard they rounded up the 2 minute bunch and conscripted Andrew Joiner and Peter Keil into service, these two riders acquitting themselves very well.

One bunch after another Scratch rattled through the field and by mid race had captured and dispatched the middle markers and were in hot pursuit of the front markers. The front markers were not giving up their advantage easily and the Scratch bunch didn’t grab the front of the race until the last km or so. Rodney Cheyne rode a great race off 18:30min, riding through and clear of the bunches in front he looked the winner until the dying stages on Weatherboard Road when Scratch flew past, Rodney hanging on to pick up a well earned 10th.

The race came down to the final sprint, no lead outs here, the top four place getters lining up across the road in a test of speed and strength. Roy Clarke had more than enough to win by a length from Steve Young and Neville Laffy with the fast finishing Tony Mirabella flashing home for fourth.

Thanks to the VVCC for staging the event, and a special thanks to those Eureka Vets and friends of Eureka Vets who volunteered their time to ensure this year’s Open was a resounding success.

Results

1st                        Roy Clarke (Scratch) – Eastern

2nd                        Steve Young (Scratch) – Geelong

3rd                        Neville Laffy (Scratch) – Goulbourn Valley

4th                        Tony Mirabella  (Scratch) – Eureka

5th                        Brian McNamarra (Scratch) – Warrnambool

6th                        Andrew Joiner (2 min) – Central Victoria

7th                        Mathew Grealy (4 min) – Hume

8th                        Peter Keil (2 min) – Eureka

9th                        David Tozer (Scratch) – Warnambool

10th                      Rodney Cheyne (18:30 min) – Gippsland

Fastest:                 Roy Clarke (1:24:18, 41.42km/hr)

The Empire Strikes Back – race report

The Empire Strikes Back – race report

Returning from the primordial wilderness, Shane “Jedi” Cody out-sprinted his fellow Scratch storm troopers to claim a merciless victory over 6 laps of the Weatherboard circuit.  But just when the Scratchies thought they had restored order to vets racing, Mal Rock surprised many by hanging on defiantly to the back of the marauding scratch bunch to bob up for 6th place overall………Amazing!

 

On a day for the hard men of racing, the headwind on Weatherboard road ensured less than 50% of the 25 that started the race, completed the course. First away, the lone Ray Hodgson stayed well clear, at one stage holding a full lap lead over scratch. However, the tough conditions soon brought him back to the chasing bunch of Graeme Parker, Ron Larkin, Jacinta Welch, Mandy Rhook and Terry Collie, they had also previously picked up Greg Curnow. Together they formed a solid unit, working so well that they were not caught until the dying stages of last lap. Graeme, Ron and Greg coming into good form and outlasting the rest of the bunch.

 

The trio of Matt Ritchie, new rider Shane Cook and the legendary Gary Blood, off 16 minutes could have done anything. Matt and Shane rode very well, but Gary was suffering from a gut full of kryptonite and soon fell away. The remaining pair only made marginal gains on the bunch in front while relinquishing plenty to the bunch behind.

 

Chasing them was a large bunch of evenly matched riders off 10 minutes. Bob Morley, John Creek, Brian and Kevin Lee, and the indefatigable Mal Rock were riding a high average speed and steadily chiselled away at the gap to the race lead. This week Bob hung around and didn’t get the arse until the backmarkers put everyone in the hurt box.

 

Second scratch had been reduced with a few of the usual suspects on marshalling duty. Monster Masher Darren Terry was having a blinder of a ride with Andrew Rushton and Paul Humphrey riding strongly in a vain attempt to maintain their slender 3 minute advantage for as long as possible. Andrew stayed in touch until dispensed with by Scratch, Darren spent a lot of bikkies early and tired late in the race, the Weatherboard wind finally separating him, but Paul showed plenty to stay in the mix right to the end, even mustering a spirited sprint to claim a podium position.

 

But all of that was just preamble to the main event. Scratch were not to be denied today and despite losing fabulous Tony Mirabella in the first 300m to a puncture the scratch bunch of Phil Cartledge, Shane Cody, Guy Falla, and Peter Kiel were in murderous form. Phil and Guy were giving lessons at every corner, Shane and Peter using the force to keep a hot tempo. They soon combined with second scratch and the gap to the front of the race tumbled quickly with every lap. With two laps to go they caught the Morley/Rock bunch on Weatherboard Road. The chicane on Burrumbeet Road opened a gap in the combined bunch, Bob went around a tiring Darren Terry to bridge but didn’t quite have enough, he did however succeed in towing Mal back onto the back of the lead bunch, and Mal did complement him on his heroic effort.

 

Guy attacked hard into the Avenue for the last time, only the strong survived. Phil, Guy, Peter, Paul, Shane and Mal pulled away and went in pursuit of the front of the race. They blasted past the race leaders of Graeme, Ron and Greg and opened a commanding lead into Weatherboard road for the last time. Shane attacked just before they turned Into Hendersons Road which strung out the survivors, Phil was able to get back on to Shanes wheel and lead the charge up the hill, the final sprint saw Shane light up the afterburners to step clear of Phil with Paul sprinting well for 3rd over the line. Peter and Guy were some way back with Mal ‘Barnacle’ Rock astonishingly clinging on to stay in the money.

 

Unsung hero of the day was Tony Hebert. He missed his start time due to mechanical issues and rode a gutsy race pretty much by himself as each consecutive bunch picked him up and dropped him, but he did finish. Bravo Tony.

 

Results

1st                                        Shane Cody (Scratch)

2nd                                       Phil Cartledge (Scratch)

3rd                                        Paul Humphrey (3 minutes)

4th                                        Guy Falla (Scratch)

5th                                        Peter Kiel (Scratch)

Fastest Time                     Shane Cody (Scratch)

Commodore’s Cup a blood bath

Commodore’s Cup a blood bath

 

Captain Blood

Master and Commander Gary Blood sailed to his third victory for the season, leaving all others in his wake, to stash the prestigious Commodore’s Cup into his rapidly expanding treasure chest – and the engraver is working on the club aggregate trophy for him now too.

Starting off 19 min Gary and shipmate Scott “BFG” Denno, aboard his new giant, made short work of the 3 minute gap to Graeme Parker and Mandy Rhook. Together they worked away solidly until the last rise on the Avenue when Gary inadvertently took the bunch down into the gutter. With screams of “up the road Gary” ringing in his ears, he went “up the road”, that is he took off from the front and the bunch didn’t see him again.

His pursuit of Greg Curnow, off 30 minutes, was relentless. To his credit Greg was demonstrating that last week was no fluke and wasn’t daunted by Gary bearing down on him, white sails in the sun. In the end Gary’s firepower was too much for Greg,  and he cast him adrift to ride away for the win. Greg finishing an honourable second. With his last dying effort Graeme gave Scott a push up the Avenue hill, “I’m done for son” he said “you’ll have to go it alone”. Scott finished in third with the chasing bunch about 300m behind him.

Stuck on a desert island was the 11 minute bunch of Bob Morley, Brian Lee, Malcolm Rock and John Creek. 9 minutes in front of second scratch and 8 minutes behind Scott and Gary – the impossible choice of wait and be smashed or bury themselves in the chase. Despite Brian riding well, Creekie is taking his time to find some form and Mal and Bob were crook, so the big chase proved difficult. However, the bunch kept a fast average speed and nearly stayed clear of scratch, only being caught in the last 400m.

The 2 minute second scratch bunch of Dave Peters, Andrew Rushton, Darren Terry and Peter Livitsanis rode a fast first lap to try to stay clear of scratch, at the end of which Dave mysteriously disappeared. Andrew, on his new Zipps, and Darren continued to storm away, with Peter doing his turns but breathing a bit harder than the past few weeks. The pace lifted again when the two scratch riders, Tony Mirabella and Phil Cartledge came alongside, both in damagingly good form. They dropped Pete in the poo on the piggery corner and set sail for the race lead. With 400 to go they spotted Bob’s bunch lining up for a sprint for 4th. There was great wailing and gnashing of teeth as Tony punched the hyperspace button and tore a black hole right through them to win the sprint and take fastest. Handicapper man pinching fourth and Darren cleaning the deck to take 5th.

Results

1st                                    Gary Blood ( 19 minutes)

2nd                                    Greg Curnow ( 30 minutes)

3rd                                    Scott Denno (19 minutes)

4th                                    Tony Mirabella (Scratch)

5th                                    Phil Cartledge (Scratch)

Fastest Time                  Tony Mirabella (Scratch)

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