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Rod Hetherington Wins Mirabella Trophy race.

 

Rod Hetherington had a great weekend of racing winning on Saturday and then again on Sunday.

Once again, it was a well handicapped event, that was held in perfect conditions. Second scratch, for the fourth week in a row, stayed away from scratch and rode through the field. If having Bob Braszell, in recent weeks, wasn’t enough in the legend stakes, add a dash of Adam Smith and the bunch was going to be all go. Smith has not raced for ages and in true bike rider style was saying he has hardly done a thing for years. He proceeded to dominate his bunch and the race in general.

Steve Atkinson and Ray Hodgson were first away with a 34 minute advantage over scratch. Followed by Graeme parker and Shirley Hetherington.

The next bunch included the perplexing incoherent bunch riding of Greg Curnow and Gary Blood. They had a new rider added to their bunch, Nick Verhagen, to help out. Verhagen is a new rider and he struggled to understand the method the other boys were employing. They were doomed from the outset.

It was all happening toward the back of the field with the six minute bunch of Bob Morley, Brian Lee and strong man Darren Terry were making inroads to the eleven minute bunch. The eleven minute bunch was being lead by the never say die Gail Oliver backed up by big John Creek, Popeye Lee and Alan Barnett.

Morley, Lee and Terry had collected the bunch in front and then engulfed the bunch in front that included the hard working Larkin and the cagey pair of Wallis and Ferguson.

Thing were looking promising for this bunch with half working and half sitting on.

Then the comfort level took a major turn to major discomfort as Adam Smith stormed through on the inside doing 15 kay an hour faster than the bunch. He was 50 metres in front before every one woke up and by that time Smiths co-riders came through to offer a tow. With five kay to go, it was on ‘til the finish. The pace lifted in the home stretch, with Darrell Stewart hammering on the front a long way out. Riders were strung out behind waiting to see who was going to make the decisive move.

Shaun Terry exploded down the outside with Adam Smith on his wheel. On Smith’s wheel was renowned sprinter Rod Hetherington. Shaun Terry blew up and Smith went for it, but Hetherington continued his winning ways for a strong well judged win. Smith hung on for second. Third was Bob Braszell. I have run out of superlatives for Bob over the years. Fourth was Bob Morley and John Creek continued his good form with a fifth placing.

Scratch, once again had ridden bravely with Tony Mirrabella and Scott Townsend dispensing their bunch and went man o’ man in the sprint. Townsend hung on by a short margin as Mirrabella nearly took out Billy Goldfinch who was holding the chequered flag.

Richard Taylor – Too Strong.

Richard Taylor continued to show strong form by winning a contested sprint on the Hetherington circuit on Sunday.

Taylor is becoming the complete racer as he was asked how he was feeling prior to the race and he said that he would be lucky to make the distance!! Yep. No worries.

Once again for the third week in a row second scratch stayed away from scratch making a mockery of the chopping block status they generally hold.

Once again excellent handicapping saw a great race unfold.

Second limit Mandy Rhook and Ray Hodgson were rounded up on the second lap by a Larkin led 15 minute bunch they then caught and left the out markers, Maz Morley and Steve Atkinson in their wake. Larkin and Terry Collie performed a minor miracle by keeping Greg Curnow under control and kept him working in the bunch the whole race.

The six minute bunch of the eventual winner Taylor, Andrew Rushton, Bob Morley and Dave Peters were flying when the lost their strongest rider in Peters. He had grass in his eye and pulled out of the race. This made them vulnerable to the underrated 3 minute bunch. No bunch with Bob Braszell in it should be underrated. When you add the hirsute Darrell Stewart, the incredible Pippa Read and the boyish enthusiasm of Rick Calvert, you have a deadly mixture.

Good money before the race would have been on Scott Townsend, Tony Mirrabella, Doug Garley and Phil Cartledge as certainties to ride through the field but it wasn’t to be. They rode tempo and were happy to fight it out for fastest time. Mirrabella may be saving himself for next week’s trophy race!

The three middle bunches came together with a lap to go and the pace was on to catch the remaining 15 minute bunch. With Pippa Read using every opportunity to ride off the front, the pressure was on to keep up. John Creek Kevin Lee and Alby Govan showed they have improved and covered every attack with tenacious riding.

It took until the home straight ‘til Larkin, Collie and Curnow were reigned in.

Darrell Stewart had a couple of goes to see where the strength lay and he was covered each time. He found himself on the front with 500 to go looking back every 5 seconds waiting for “the move”. It wasn’t ‘til 100 metres to go, Richard Taylor, as usual, in the biggest gear available, went for it. He held it easily and Rick Calvert hung on for second and a surprise third place was big John Creek, who has been showing the benefits of some midweek training. Fourth was the indefatigable Bob Braszell and Bob Morley half a wheel behind for fifth.

A minute behind Scott Townsend predictably took out fastest time after an initial burst from Tony Mirrabella

1st Richard Taylor, 2nd Rick Calvert, 3rd John Creek    Fastest time Scott Townsend

Brad Fry Wins On Windmill

Brad Fry made amends for misjudging the finish line last week and took victory with a strong sprint.

The biggest scratch bunch for the year gave the eventual winning bunch 5 minutes but with Doug Garley a non starter and Shane Cody pulling out early to go to the movies, found themselves one minute short of the winning bunch.

Bob Braszell and Pip Read led the 5 minute bunch and were supported by last weeks’ winner Pete Livi, with Rick Calvert and eventual winner Brad Fry rounding out a very even group.

The 10 minute bunch fancied their chances with Alby Govan, Bob Morley, John Creek and the Lee brothers working well. They took 2 minutes out of the 14 minute bunch on the first lap  but lost momentum on the second lap as the fourteen minute bunch absorbed the 16 minute bunch that had already shelled Malcolm Rock and Greg Curnow.

The fourteen minute bunch set off at a great rate with Alan Barnett doing long smooth turns. Ron Larkin, Jacinta Welch and the flu ridden Rob Ferguson complemented Alan’s work and the bunch was humming. They caught the sixteen minute bunch on lap two and Graeme Parker started working turns. Some riders from the sixteen minute bunch fell away past the quarry and Fergie had punctured. This left only Graeme Parker, Alan, Ron and Jacinta all riding well with only half a lap to go and Mandy Rhook in sight.

Mandy Rhook was off 32 minutes and she caught and passed Maz Morley. She was determined to put up a good show riding her brand new Trek.

The Brad Fry led bunch captured the 10 minute bunch and continued on with people jumping on for the ride. Fry, Calvert and Read put in some strong attacks and thinned out the field considerably. The lone brave Mandy Rhook was caught in the home straight and that’s when the tactics began.

Nobody wanted to reduce their chances by leading the field home and the pace slowed. Jacinta Welsh flashed past with Larkin on her wheel and the sprint was on in earnest. They were brought back to the fold and the strong riders asserted themselves.

Brad Fry was strong and went over the line unchallenged. Legend Bob Brazsell was second with last week’s winner Pete Livi sprinting well for third. Bob Morley took fourth place with John Creek capping his improvement with a fifth place.

Scott Townsend continued his good form by taking out the fastest time.

1-Brad Fry 2-Bob Braszell, 3-Peter Livitsanis 4-Bob Morley 5-John Creek

Fastest time Scott Townsend

Livitsanis Takes a Well Earned Victory

After threatening for many weeks to take victory, Pete Livitsanis finally got the nod on a three lap smashfest around the Hetherington circuit.

With the regular handicapper away, I stepped in to set the field.

John Rhook and the in form Scott Townsend were the scratch representatives for the day. The field was book ended by Mandy Rhook was off limit and left the start line with a 25 minute advantage over her husband.

Malcolm Rock and Graeme Parker were chasing off 15 minutes and weren’t waiting for any one.

Greg Curnow Ron Larkin and Peter Marquand were off in pursuit.

Ron Larkin takes up the story………

Big Pete Marquand really fired up on lap two and he and I spat Curnow on the hill. Then we chased well together and bloody hard. Eventually seeing Mal Rock and G Parker and we caught them late into lap two.                                                                

The four of us then worked VERY well and the pace was good. As we speed down the Avenue on lap 3 after passing Mandy I said “We’ve got this one boys’. All of sudden Pete Livi and co went past at a frantic pace.                                                                  

 I got on for a while until Rick Calvert seen me there and promptly spat me on the hill. My four then continued on until the Lees and John Creek got us at the club house. We all got onto them for a bunch sprint over $5.00. John Creek said he could see us on lap two and was gaining until Terry dropped his chain. He waited for Terry and then was caught by the Lee brothers.

The 8 minute bunch of the Lee brothers, Popeye and Flyin’Bryan and myself were hammering along and were surprised to see the 4 minute bunch closing fast, and only on the second lap. They whacked us down past the piggery and the three of us and Terry Collie jumped on. Turning into the head wind the Lee brothers and I jumped in and did turns with the thought that this bunch had every chance of getting up.

I stoically did a long turn past the clubrooms and over the finish line with the bell ringing. I peeled off and was coasting to the back for a rest when Richard “Robocop” Taylor took off with a murderous turn of speed. I was gone and so were the Lee brothers. As they disappeared into the avenue they were back to the four originals of the group and going for it.

I could no longer see what was happening and the eventual winner

Pete Livi takes up the story…………

We rounded up Mandy Rhook on the Weatherboard / Avenue corner, pretty game effort to be out the front of the race for almost 2 1/2 laps! Ron Larkin’s bunch was about 75m up the road, we left them dangle out the front until the bottom of the hill on the Avenue, we weren’t planning on taking any prisoners. Richard, the destroyer of the Morley bunch, hit the gas towards the bottom of the hill and we blew their doors off at 50+, I took over from Richard to keep the pace up as we went up the hill, only Ron had the legs to grab hold of Rick’s back wheel. Rick looked around, saw that we had a passenger, he was having none of that and almost sprinted up the hill – only the brave survived (which didn’t include Ron).

As we rounded the Avenue / Henderson’s Road corner we had about 100m on them, and didn’t see them again. Looking over our shoulder back up the Avenue we couldn’t see scratch, but we knew they wouldn’t be far behind. We kept the work rate high up the little rise to the piggery and continued round the corner into the wind towards home, working short sharp turns. The race was there for us to win (or lose), Richard and I were encouraging the lads to keep working “or Rhooky will get us”.

Coming around the bend at the clubrooms Brad Fry jumped out of his seat thinking the finish line was at the clubrooms – Imagine his disappointment, as no checked flag appeared for him there. Richard thought Brad must be about to pinch the race and had to find a bit extra to grab his wheel in that futile and pre-emptive sprint. Rick and I thanked Richard for putting the collar on Brad and eased up behind him.

Richard got stuck out the front as Brad was spent and gone. Rick was feeling all the hills he’d dragged us up and didn’t have much left in the tank.

Richard went for home about 250m out with me on his hammer. He was in too big a gear to get the acceleration he needed as, with 100m to go, I jumped up the outside (I waited until I could actually see the checked flag). Richard persisted and we duked it out, Richard mashing the 11 cog and me whirring away on, at most, the 14 cog. I got a wheel on him with 10m to go and held just long enough.”

 The remaining interest was to see if scratch were going to capture fastest time as they still seemed a long way down.

John Rhook takes up the story

Rhook pulled up at the start line next to Darrel and Darren thinking they were off scratch with him and Scotty, after all Livitsanis had been gone for a minute and a half!! Then Darrel says you still have 2 n half minutes. A quick glance at Bill and Scotty confirmed this and Rhook thought Holly crap we’ll get slaughtered today!

Anyway no one  paid much attention to Townsend’s talk about how bad he felt and how tired he was. After all he is a bike rider!! How many times have we heard that?

So Rhook shoots out of the gate, bolts down the road waiting for Mr T to come on by and he didn’t!  A quick look around revealed he was off the back eventually Townsend builds up comes by to start work on the first lap. When Rhook  rounded the corner on the avenue he looked back and  knew Townsend wasn’t joking about his form.  Scotty was 60 meters off the back! Even old Billy in the tail car  was wondering what was going on. Rhook realising the futility of a lone  chase  waited for Townsend to “get on” and after that he took it easy on him ,J, until he warmed up. With the tail wind the big fella wound up and scratch were back in it. A solid chase ensued with Rhook doing the lion’s share of the work.  

Scratch caught Second scratch (Darrel Stewart) down weatherboard Rd for the second time. Stewart  jumped on and between them Townsend and Stewart could assist Rhook in the monumental 4 minute chase to the four  third scratch riders. Entering the third lap there was still no sign of the fleeing third scratch bunch so it was nose to the handle bar to save fastest time.

It wasn’t until Charles’s piggery that the back markers finally started to pick up some dropped riders.

John Rhook did most of the heavy lifting as he belted out his fearsome time trial turns.

He surged as hard as he could to the finish and in a remarkable ride claimed fastest time.

This was a race that had everything including a worthy winner.

1st – Pete Livitsanis
2nd – Richard Taylor
3rd – Rick Calvert
4th – Brad Fry
5th – John Creek

Fastest Time John Rhook

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