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Cartledge Claims a Coghills Creek Cracker

Considering the amount of racing on TV at the moment including the TDF you would have thought that the numbers would be high for racing, but not so.

On the morning of the race we had 18 willing to give it a go, but with the weather turning in, we had our first scratching not wanting to get wet followed by another one due to illness then the 3rd with another appointment we were left with 15 starters for the day.

Shirley Hetherington had the unenviable task of being the first lone rider away on 21min limit, the next chasing bunch was that of 3 riders off 17mins containing Gary Blood, Matt Ritchie and Terry Collie.

Next to go was the 9 min bunch of Bob Morley hot off his B grade win, Mal Rock, Kevin Lee and Terry Constable hot off his C grade win last week. This group was looking a favourite from the off, what with recent winners and Mal Rock who was very chirpy earlier in the changing rooms after a few weeks of average form, got everyone thinking he knew he was feeling good.

1st  and 2nd scratch looked like they had a bit of work to do with the low numbers, Cartledge ended up being the lone scratch rider after his fellow scratchy had called in sick and with a minute to chase the next group of two Andrew Rushton and Rod Hetherington place getters from a couple of weeks earlier.

This left the 3rd scratch bunch of Dean Griffin, Brian Lee, John Creek who was already a bit damp after his ride out from Ballarat to the race venue and Dave Peters who has been noticeable by his absence of late after his recent trip to the States and following the Green Edge Team around.

Now Dean had got his thinking hat on and advised his bunch to go out hard as the three 1st and 2nd scratch lads would be pulling themselves inside out for the chase and if they worked hard and well together they should be able to stay clear.

Cartledge set off as hard as he could to set about reeling in the race which was threatening rain and wind picking up. Ken Heres who was marshalling the first corner thought Cartledge was in with a chance of a catch when he saw how he rounded the first corner and he must have been pushing hard as he had rounded up the two within thirteen minutes, the three of them then set about rounding up the group of four.

On the first lap u turn at Pickfords road the group were pushing hard only to realise when Cartledge pulled off from a turn that Rod was already gone, on the climb up Donavans Road Andrew was struggling and let Cartledge know he had better go it alone, for a moment Cartledge thought that he was now in an impossible chase but head down and wind picking up he gave it a go.

On the second lap he knew the odds were stacked a bit more in his favour when half way down Coghills Creek road he saw Brian Lee at the side of the road with a puncture, then back along Pickfords Road for the second time he saw Terry Collie with a puncture, turned out it was Bob Morley’s puncture but Terry must have been feeling rather generous (or just stuffed) and was happy to oblige and Morley was in no mood for an argument. Cartledge had now got the remaining group of three 3rd scratch riders in sight who were in turn rounding up the unfortunate/fortunate Morley.

Climbing the Donovans Road for the second time Creeky must have found the surge to reel in Morley a bit too much and popped off the back. Cartledge rounded up Creeky and for a moment thought the others were going to pull away but with a big surge managed to jump on the back of the train.

Now the job was on to reel in the front markers, Shirley had already gone as she had been caught on the first lap and had decided to call it a day at the end of the first lap and now there was a good sized bunch to try to bring in the final two.  Peters, Griffin and Cartledge were now driving the bunch and on the start finish corner the gap of four and a half minutes was heard from the marshal.

The hard push from the realisation that this was an achievable catch proved a bit too much for some of this bunch and soon Griffin and Cartledge found themselves on their own. Griffin asked Cartledge to get him over the quarry and said he would help in the chase but on the climb Cartledge found himself struggling to hang on to Dean’s wheel. (editors note, only a bit more work and I reckon we will see Dean back on form and maybe back off scratch) the chase was still well and truly on as the two rounded the quarry Coghills corner and could just see the two disappearing in the distance.

Giving up was never an option for the chasing two greyhounds and were starting to get the two rabbits in sight. Rounding the corner at Donovans for the last time, Cartledge hit the corner hard and pulled clear of Griffin as they started the climb. At the top of the climb and with the finish line in sight Ritchie had already dispensed Blood and was pushing hard for the win. Cartledge picked off Blood first and was digging deep to reel in Ritchie and within the last kilometre Cartledge had a clear road and was convinced that Ritchie was a dead set for second but Blood had other ideas and was charging hard, as the two got back together it looked for a moment like they could still reel in Cartledge but Phil managed to hold on for the win and Blood with his hard charge got a well earned second and was only about 10 seconds down from the win, Matt hung in for third and inside a minute Dean Griffin was across the line for a respectable fourth place.

The wait was then on to see who could pick up the final point scoring position from the chasing bunch, answer,  Mal Rock and with ease, he pulled well clear of the bunch in the sprint, no wonder he was chirpy in the changing rooms, maybe this is the start of the return of form from Rock???

Result

1st  & Fastest Phil Cartledge

2nd Gary Blood

3rd Matt Ritchie

4th Dean Griffin

5th Malcolm Rock

Scratch Races – Mt Misery

This week’s scratch racing saw 19 riders across 3 grades engage in some very entertaining and eagerly contested scratch racing on the 44km out-and-back Mt Misery circuit.

A Grade

Tony Mirabella set sail for home from Addington to take out A Grade, with Shane Cody and Phil Cartledge in hot pursuit but not having quite enough road to reel him back.

A grade rolled around the neutral zone to the normal starting place on weatherboard road. Just after the first hill, Darrell Stewart decided to creep off the front and kept a healthy lead until out on the Langi Kal Kal road, with the others unwilling to chase with any real conviction. After the first couple of rises, The legs had warmed up and the lungs had started to work,  Phil Cartledge decided to bridge the gap to Darrell, with not much of a reaction from the rest. Phil and Darrell tried to hold off the pursuing bunch and work turns, but as they approached the biggest climb, the chasing pack was gaining, so Phil said to Darrell, “hold a bit in reserve and when they catch at the top of the climb, attack again”. This was very amusing to Darrell as he was already at maximum forward momentum. The race came back together and there were a flurry of attacks, the most successful of which saw Shane Cody, Tony Mirabella and Phil go clear and work steady turns, but even with this firepower they could not keep Darrell & Bob Braszell at bay and the race back together at the turn around point.
Straight out of the turn Phil attacked, with only Shane and Tony able to hold. Phil encouraged his fellow escapees and said something about having a go if they wanted to stay away but he was not sure if they understood his accent, so Phil found himself off on his own, managing to open a good gap, which did encourage the others to work harder. Shane grabbed Phil first but needed a spell before being able to help the break away. Tony had got his head down and was chasing hard. When he caught he didn’t ask for a spell and just rode past, still with about 15 km to go. Shane and Phil were happy to let him sit out in front and do a bit with Shane concerned that if they got too close Tony might sit up and wait for a sprint finish. The chase was still on and with a tail wind, so was the pace, at the right hander at Addington, Tony was burying himself to stay away, the two pursuers had him in their sights. With about 4 km to go, and approaching the left hand turn back on to the Weatherboard Road, it looked like they had timed the catch to perfection. They rounded the final corner, Phil chased hard and looked around for Shane to have a go but he had dropped off. Shane had apparently put the bike sideways around the corner pulling his foot out, just managing to stay upright. Phil hesitated for a moment thinking Shane must have run out of steam, and that he was left to chase Tony on his own. Tony took full advantage of this and dug in again to prize open a winning gap.  In the final run for the line, Phil was closing down on Tony, when suddenly Shane reappears with the afterburners at max to take second place.

Results

1st Tony Mirabella

2nd Shane Cody

3rd Phil Cartledge

 

B Grade

Bob Morley timed his final sprint to perfection to win comfortably from a fast finishing Brenton Keats who nudged out Peter Livitsanis for second.

Mal Rock lead the race through the neutral zone at a civilised pace. However, things didn’t stay civilised long with Peter Livitsanis whipping up the pace into Weatherboard Rd. The field stayed together along Weatherboard road, but thanks to some solid work from Pip Reid and Dean Griffin, Mal was soon dispatched. Pip kept the tempo high on the ascent of Mt Misery, with Brenton Keats appearing every now and then to show everyone else how easy climbing is to people that don’t weigh much. Bob was content to watch proceedings and go with any little exertions others might like to throw in. The field was still together at the turnaround, Peter had a bit of difficulty getting his bike around, the others surged out of the corner, leaving him with a bit of work to get back on. He and Pip then proceeded to time trial to the top of the hill and despite a solid pace, the evenly matched group stayed together, although the banter had diminished somewhat. Round the right hander through Addington, Bob then Pip both had a little dig, they didn’t get clear but they did shake loose Dean. Into Weatherboard Road for the finish, Peter hit the gas out of the corner and together with Bob they opened a small gap to the chasing Brenton and Pip. The tailwind, the downhill stretch and some gutsy chasing brought it all back together about 750m out. Bob wound it up from the outside, Peter was boxed in behind Pip, and Brenton was trying to work out who’s wheel to follow. Pip turned off the gas, wishing the boys well in the sprint. Peter found enough road on the inside and set off to try to bring Bob back with Brenton on his wheel. Bob was having none of that and held his lead to score by several bike lengths, Peter turned off three pedal strokes too early and Brenton shoved his bike across the line to score a well raced second.

Results

1st Bob Morley

2nd Brenton Keats

3rd Peter Livitsanis

C Grade

In the performance of the day Terry “Cancellara” Constable smashed C Grade, time trialling the second half of the race by himself to win by nearly a km, with only Graeme Parker and Jacinta Welch with the determination to chase him home.

A good sized field of 8 riders rolled through the neutral zone and set to work into the wind up the Weatherboard road hills. The racing was solid with Terry Constable driving the bunch hard, which soon had Terry Collie, Greg Curnow and John Faulkner all reaching for the ejector button. Matt Ritchie and Gary Blood held on to the top of Mt Misery but were soon gapped and left to chase down the hill to combine again at the turnaround. Terry Constable attacked from the turnaround, the first rise saw him with a handy margin, with everyone else starting to feel the burn from the first time up Mt Misery. Terry was well clear, but Jacinta was keen to chase and together with Graeme Parker they tried to make a race of it. Their efforts soon put Matt and Gary in the hurt box and their race was over. Terry got stuck into a 20km time trial, increasing his margin with every km.  At the finish he crossed the line first with a week’s worth of daylight second. After a while Graeme and Jacinta appeared to sort out the minor placings, Jacinta edging out Graeme in a solid sprint.

Results

1st Terry Constable

2nd Jacinta Welch

3rd Graeme Parker

Mirabella Handicap 2012

The Rush is On

Andrew Rushton opened up a big can of whoop-ass to outsprint several of the clubs “heavy-hitters” and take out this year’s Mirabella handicap. In a race that saw 21 riders greeted by a windy and wet Ballarat winters day, and only 13 completing the course, it was a race of attrition where only the fit and strong (or stubborn) survived.

Andrew combined with Darren Terry and Rod Hetherington off 4 minutes, riding like a black steam train they grabbed the sharp end of the race on the final lap of the 4 lap race around the Hetherington circuit. With what remained of the 8 and 12 minute bunches just clinging to their back wheels they had more than enough firepower to take all the trophies in the final sprint.

The 8 minute bunch of Dean Griffin, Ken Heres, Brian Lee and Peter Livitsanis had set to work early to reel in the out markers, the early climbs proving a bit much for Ken who is struggling to find his old form and he dropped off early. The remaining three were encouraged as they began to sweep up riders shaken loose from their groups. The 12 minute bunch containing Bob Morley and Robbie Kinna (returning for his first race since his sign bending spill on the Windmill circuit) was the prize, once caught the combined group worked well to catch the front of the race, together they stayed clear of Andrew’s 4 minute bunch and scratch for most of the race.

Earlier, the front of the race had been decimated. The limit markers of Ray Hodgson and John Faulkner fought on bravely in the wind but were swept up just before the end of lap 3. Only Ron Larkin from the 20 minute bunch managed to stay in touch as the race came together with Garry Blood pedalling in squares on the last uphill on Weatherboard Road. The 16 minute bunch pretty much “disappeared” with Brett Caddy the last survivor. Bob Morely and Robbie Kinna riding an inspiring race, had dispensed with Mal Rock on the first lap, then picked up Brett and dropped him, twice.

The last lap saw the 4 minute bunch finally capture the combined 8 and 12 minute bunch on Weatherboard road and with grim determination they asked some serious questions of some tiring legs along the Avenue. The Hendersons Road section was completed at pace with a huge tailwind and the large combined group rounded the corner largely intact and well clear of scratch. It was setting up as an orthodox sprint until Livitsanis made a trademark futile bid off the front to break up everyone’s concentration. He drew Darren Terry out and together they got 30m with the rest all looking at each-other to see who was going to close them down. They needn’t have worried because Darren and Peter lost their appetite for the long distance raid and sat up. With the group back together the tempo went up again rounding the corner past the clubrooms, an oncoming car closed down the preferred attack line and strung the bunch out behind the leaders. Andrew, Darren and Rod went from the front with about 400m to go, with Andrew holding Rod all the way to the line, and Darren fading late. A bike length or two behind was a fast finishing Peter and the ever improving Dean.

Scratch raced hard but didn’t see anyone all day. Guy Falla and Tony Mirabella were backing up from the Cashin the day before and Phil Cartledge was still aching from his successful Tour of Bendigo campaign (he won C Grade – great stuff Phil!!). They rode very well to hang on to fastest time given that the rest of the race had come together to share the work. Tony pulled the plug on the down hill towards the piggery on the last lap (most likely didn’t want to contend his own trophy race!) which left Guy and Phil to duke it out for fastest time. Guy was the strongest on the day and beat Phil by a wheel or less in an exciting final sprint in front of quite a crowd or retired riders at the finish line.

Well done to all the brave souls who pinned on numbers and a special thank you to Tony for sponsoring the race.

Results

1.     Andrew Rushton (4 minutes)

2.     Rod Hetherington (4 minutes)

3.     Darren Terry (4 minutes)

4.     Peter Livitsanis (8 minutes)

5.     Dean Griffin (8 minutes)

Fastest Time: Guy Falla (scratch)

Ray Doubles-up

Ray Hodgson scored another victory for the season on the pave of the Windmill circuit, and firmed as an early favourite for the Club Aggregate. Ably assisted by the workhorse John Faulkner, this dynamic duo were never threatened, indeed they rode so well they were never seen, winning by a minute or two. That’s not to say the chasing bunches weren’t working hard, and some creative handicapping had thrown a few wild cards into the mix to keep things interesting.

Chasing Ray and John, 13 minutes back, the 20 minute combination of Shirley Hetherington, Greg Curnow and Steven Kennedy always knew that the bunch behind were going to catch them before they caught Ray, and they rode accordingly, leaving enough in the tank to race with the bunch behind when they came through.

Tracking them down was the in-form fabulous foursome of Graeme Parker, Mandy Rhook, Jacinta Welch, and Gary Blood off 15 minutes. This bunch has shown dramatic improvement over the early part of the season and has become very difficult to chase down. They were riding as hard as they could early, as just 1 minute back the lurkin Ron Larkin, Matt “donkey” Ritchie and Brett Caddy were pressing hard to combine. As a three they had little hope, but as a seven they could have threatened. Ron, Brett and Matt rode consistently without taking time out of Parker’s Pack in front. However this chase took its toll, sitting like road-kill at the bottom of Quarry Hill, they were finally dispensed with on the last lap when the big pack of chasing riders swallowed them up and spat them out the back.

The handicapper had handed the 9 minute bunch of Bob Morley, Brenton Keats, Brian Lee and Dean Griffon a similar puzzle with a bunch of Peter Livitsanis, John Creek, Kevin Lee and the mystified Mal Rock, just one minute back. Although it took Brenton a while to cotton on, Bob and Dean took the first half lap at a steady pace while the bunch behind chased hard, Bob even gave up a few seconds at the start to adjust his GPS. The two groups coming together to share the first headwind section down Donovans Road – perfecto!! Now with 8 to share the work and the wind the pace increased and the race started to open up for this group. Dean rode a strong race, putting in a few monstrous turns down the back section that had the bunch strung out in single file chewing on their handlebars. The Parker bunch was in the gun sights by the last Donovan’s Road corner with the catch being made just after the first pinch. With Ray and John still nowhere in sight this large pack worked home to set up a sprint for third.
With about 750m to go, and for the first time in the race, Mal went to the front and opened up a sprint far too early, Peter grabbed his wheel. Mal didn’t get far, but had gapped the field, he dropped Peter off to go alone, luckily no one else really felt like a sprint and he crossed for third. John Creek, Greg Curnow and Steven Kennedy got interested late with John taking fourth, with Steven fifth.

It was a day for casual starts with Rod Hetherington missing his allotted 2 minute start time, leaving Darren Terry to roll off by himself to wait up the road for the scratch pairing of Shane Cody and Phil Cartledge, with Rod hanging on for part of the first lap. Darren rode a great race with scratch, backing up from riding at Rochester the day before. The threesome combined well to gradually claw back the 5 minute bunch of Ken Heres, Richard Taylor and Philippa Read, on the last lap. Ken’s bunch had been riding solidly and had pulled some time out of the 8 minute bunch on the first lap, but they needed the extra fire power of Scratch if they were to catch the combined 8/9 minute pack. The six Scratch and second scratch riders all rounded the last corner together and in the final sprint Shane turned on the warp drive to take fastest time.

Results
First: Ray Hodgson (33 Minutes)
Second: John Faulkner (33 Minutes)
Third: Peter Livitsanis (8 minutes)
Fourth: John Creek (8 minutes)
Fifth: Steven Kennedy (20 minutes)
Fastest Time: Shane Cody (Scratch)

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