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May 15, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

May 15, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

Criteriums – 15 May 2016

Graded Scratch Races
Production Drive Circuit, Alfredton

A return to racing.

Club racing returned to Production drive with 16 riders clipping in for graded crits.
The Eurovision semi finals were over, but someone had left the wind machine on…of course this discouraged the ambitious long range raids so common in these races, however there was plenty of cut-and-thrust sort sharp attacks to sort racers in order of their VO2 max.

A Grade

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Tony Mirabella returned to the winners circle in a small field utilising his strong surging attacks and a trademark sprint to maximum advantage.
A leisurely start for the five riders in A Grade, which included newly promoted Greg Ley and Matt Ayres as a “reward” of their good form and good results, especially in crit racing.
The relatively comfortable start was to their liking, so much in fact that Greg couldn’t resist leading them around for a few laps.  However the pace of the race picked up in the final ten minutes as A grade were about to suffer the indignity of being caught by B grade.  Brendan, Phil and Tony upping the ante with successive attacks.
While the trio were fearlessly exchanging attacks, Greg and Matt lost contact with the back.

With two laps to go it was just a question of the order for the podium, Tony was first into the last corner and launched his sprint, gapping the other two and while Phil and Brendan were able to hold the margin they didn’t have the firepower today to get over Tony.

Results:
1st – Tony Mirabella
2nd – Phil Cartledge
3rd – Brendan Schiemer

B Grade

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Unlike Dami Im, Brett Dedman lead all day and did take the win.
A very impressive, strong ride from Brett who almost single-handedly reeled in A grade at one point.
The pace of the race was up and with such a solid tempo on the front set by Brett, no-one really had much more left to attempt to  get off the front.  When the usually animated Peter Livitsanis punctured, the race resolved into a team pursuit – Brett out the front, Andrew Rushton pretending to whip him from second wheel stagecoach-style.
The hurt locker was starting to fill up fast with first Danny Whelan feeling the pinch and then Duncan Bates yo-yoing.  Brett’s race strategy became clear – ride everyone off his wheel and into the dirt.

Two laps to go and Bob Morley had picked the right wheel this time (sitting on Brett) betting that Brett may have burnt too many matches for a sprint finish.
Andrew and Duncan hanging on but not appearing to be quite up to a final dash for the cash.  Brett was first into the last corner, engaged the sprinting gear, stood up and took off – Bob had a crack but the gap to Brett just kept growing.
Brett winning clear, Bob second and a dogged Duncan in third.

Results:
1st – Brett Dedman
2nd – Bob Morley
3rd – Duncan Bates

 

C Grade

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The old bull and the young bull, Graeme Parker and Scott Denno are both strong attacking riders, but neither had been on the bike in anger in the last few weeks.
And so, the playing field was pretty level, perhaps even for a win from the likes of Roger McMillan or Terry Collie who have been in good knick most of the season.
Great to see Neil Braszell back on his bike and back in the race, his experience clearly on display, never out of place, always on the right wheel, in the end only the strength of Graeme and Scott shook him and Terry Collie loose.

The race settled into routine of riding for time before the inevitable sprint, some might have had their money on Scott, but Roger sprinted clear of Scott for the win.  Scott taking second and Graeme third.

Results:

1st – Roger McMillan
2nd – Scott Denno
3rd – Graeme Parker

April 24, 2016 – Handicap – Mt. Misery, 46 km

April 24, 2016 – Handicap – Mt. Misery, 46 km

Marvellous Mandy’s Misery Maiden – 24 April 2016

Mt Misery Handicap 46 km

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You Can Make It If You Try

A return to racing and an outstanding performance from down home girl Mandy Rudwick proved that if you train hard enough and persevere long enough you can eventually win a bike race.

Not confident on the start line following an unorthodox preparation for a race that would do Keith Richards proud (well, face it he’s outlived David Bowie and Prince, can’t be all bad), it was certain Mandy’s head hurt more than her legs.
However at the business end of affairs with time on her side, Mandy broke away from her fellow limit riders and charged down Route 66 alone for ultimate Satisfaction.  She smiled sweetly.
What a difference a week makes. It’s been good times, bad times for James Gretton this season.
The long suffering limit man found himself with company and a big chance, and although shelled within five kilometres of the line, he and his companions had put themselves in a winning position.  James hanging on for the final podium spot.
Along with Mandy, the lightly raced Rob Young was in good form.  He made it onto the lower slopes of the Weatherboard hill and although he couldn’t go with the aggressive attack from Mandy, he dashed down the road apiece for second.

Chasing an 11 minute gap in another land was the sweet black angel Brian Lee, salt of the earth Kevin Lee and Roger McMillan who was happy to ride on baby.  The trio were all down the line and I don’t know why they got caught perhaps they needed to try a little harder.
However they did have nine riders chasing, hey, it’s only rock and roll.  On the start line the dear doctor Michael Veal was concerned that John Creek’s bike had white bits on it ‘you should paint it black’.  But Creekie needed more than black paint…Bob Morley wasn’t waiting and had little sympathy for the devil on the main climb ‘we’re wasting time, you gotta move’ he cried as Creekie was dismissed from the six minute bunch…ruthless, but time waits for no one.
Peter Livitsanis sprang up the hills like a turd on the run but when it came to the dead Ercildoune road he ain’t too proud to beg, ‘please give me shelter’.
Steven Kennedy was on fire, riding like wild horses, he obviously had too much brown sugar.
They got off the hill and were in Ercildoune Rd when second scratch arrived – in a hurry.  Leading the pack was last week’s little red rooster Rob Phillips, he had settled into the race well however had been surprised with the early pace of his bunch.
Grant Dawson was determined to rip this joint and together with street fighting man Richard Taylor they had erased most of the 3 min between them and the bunch in front by the top of Misery.
New rider Ben Ryan was proving more than capable in this company, he had no real expectations but was keen for the chase.  They caught Creekie and towed him back up to his bunch.  For some reason he did a turn and got shelled again, left high and dry on Ercildoune Rd.

With nine riders, some working, some not, things were getting complicated, and with the Lee’s and McMillan still up the road it was time to try a little harder, ‘shake your hips, we’re wasting time’ Robocop steamed.
Little by little they pegged them back and the bunch settled for a sprint for 4th place.
First a little surge up Weatherboard road to shack off a few, then Kennedy puts in half an attack to stretch the bunch out.  However it was Ben Ryan who had the tumbling dice and let it loose from a long way out, somethings just stick in your mind, and Ben’s ability to hold his sprint to the line and fend off a fast finishing Phillips was a very promising start to this rider’s season at EVCC.
The rest of the combined bunch was a bit take it or leave it in the sprint, really just pride sorting out things behind 4th and 5th , with several looking for sister morphine.

Never really in it today the silver train of Scratch men nevertheless committed to the chase.
Brendan Schiemer cool calm and collected, Matt Bowman torn and frayed, and Phil Cartledge just walking the dog, were at max heart rate most of the trip.  Dean Griffin redlined on the climb and never really recovered and what must have felt like 2000 light years from home, he was off the back with the stray cat blues. ‘I’d much rather be with the boys’ he lamented after the race.
The three remaining raced on for at least the honour of sorting out fastest time and in the last moonlight mile it was Jumpin Jack Flash Phil Cartledge that graced the line first.

Race Results:
1st – Mandy Rudwick (22 min)
2nd – Rob Young (22 min)
3rd – James Gretton (22 min)
4th – Ben Ryan (3 min)
5th – Rob Phillips (3 min)
Fastest Time: Brendan Schiemer

There are 50 Rolling Stone song titles in the race – how many can you find?

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Race winning move: Mandy attacks on the Weatherboard climb.
Rob Young lost the wheel, but chased Mandy (for 4 kilometres) all the way to the line.

April 17, 2016 – Rising Sun Trophy – 56 km hcp, Windmill with finish over “The Wall”

April 17, 2016 – Rising Sun Trophy – 56 km hcp, Windmill with finish over “The Wall”

Rising Sun Trophy

The Autumn Classic

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56 km Handicap

Windmill Circuit and “Wall” finish

Rob “Big Mig” Phillips stormed up the final ascent of the “Wall” dispatching his confederates with careless abandon and sprinting clear to register a rare but famous win on his palmares.

For the past hour and a half his face was one of grim determination, emotionless, cool and calculating, but with a chequered flag above his head and clear air behind him, his countenance broke into a wry grin as he allowed himself a moment of celebration.

A relatively small field gathered in the trenches for the first trophy race of the year.
There was an air of anticipation, the wind was up and it was going to be a day of pain.  With hushed voices, and a quiet resolve, the riders steeled themselves for the hurt locker.
Numbers might have been down but the back of the field was stacked with talent, form, potential and masochists.

At the end of the day all were broken, all had suffered but perhaps none more than James Gretton.  He dropped heavily onto the couch in the clubrooms, a spent man, a visage as white and substantial as tissue paper, he had left all of what he had on that windy road.
Leading affairs off at 25 minutes, James endured a 40 km lone time trial – after his starting partner Michael Lynch abandoned – which was only relieved when he was finally caught on the quarry road on the last lap.
There’s a difference between bravery and courage – bravery is facing an unknown foe, courage is knowing what’s coming and facing it anyway.  James is Captain Courageous.

This week the warrior Queen – Jude Jonasson – was elevated to middle marker status after her famous win the week before.  She was accompanied by brothers, Brian Lee and Kevin “Popeye” Lee, in a small but hard working entourage off 12 minutes, which battled gamely.
All three contributed to the work however the wind was not their friend and gradually wore on them.  They were caught with a lap to go by second scratch that came past at >50 kph.  Brian and Kevin made the back wheel, however Jude wasn’t ready for the surge and was caught off the back.
The Lee boys mucked in with second scratch, both doing a turn or two before Popeye got caught off the back at the Donovans Rd corner – the wind took care of his chances.  Brian hung in there and was not dislodged until the final climb, a great effort for an improving rider.

The Second Scratch bunch of five riders had a 5 minute handicap to a five man Scratch bunch – a generous but not insurmountable mark.  Rob Phillips was riding well, as too was Rick “Sudso” Calvert…but on a windy day, success is in the bunch, not an individual.  Along for the ride was the confederacy of Danny “Fidel” Whelan, Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis and Duncan “Psycho” Bates.
The five knitted together well, virtually in each others pockets they kept things close and smooth.  Tempo into the wind down Donovans Rd and full gas (downwind) up Cricks Hill towards Coghills Creek.
They made huge inroads into the sparsely populated front of the race while maintaining a slowly eroding lead on the Scratch bunch.
Psycho began to suffer after the first lap however he held his ground and worked when he could, only the last climb tearing him off the back.

So, all together and clear the famous five ripped towards the finale.  A modest start to the climb soon erupted at the steepest point when the Big Mig launched.  Sudso was almost prepared to grab his wheel, but the ferocity of the attack distanced him.  Fidel and Fifi were left scrambling behind to make up lost ground.
By the flatter section the Big Mig had a thirty metre gap on Sudso and forty metres on Fidel.
The Mig attacked again up the final slope and hit the top well clear – from there it was a tear-away downhill sprint to the finish.  Sudso and Fidel in hot pursuit but too far back to make a difference.
Sudso taking second and Fidel third.

Meanwhile the five-man Scratch bunch had been chasing full throttle all day, never underestimate what it takes to chase at your limit all race with nothing in sight up the road.  A strong bunch of hard working riders on paper, however they were not all on song today.
Matt Bowman had raced the day before and Phil Cartledge was feeling a bit off, but both gave everything they had and never shirked the issue.
Dean Griffin is a strongman for a windy day, the sort of rider that can make a difference in difficult going, he pressed the bunch hard.
Dean Wells found himself promoted to Scratch, he was particularly keen to do well today, and despite not making the podium, he finished with a powerful Scratch bunch and earned their respect, which is a win in its own right.
Brendan Schiemer’s heart rate didn’t dip below 170 from the gun, and egged-on by Dean Griffin into a late race attack (to bridge to the unseen leaders) Brendan was almost sent into fibrillation.  He continued his extended attack with Deano’s words still in his ear ‘Just don’t look back’.
Brendan crested the climb clear and buried himself in the final sprint for Fastest Time.  The minor victory bringing it’s own special prize…leg-locking cramps on the ride back to the club rooms.

Race Results:
1st – Rob Phillips (5 min)
2nd – Rick Calvert (5 Min)
3rd – Danny Whelan (5 min)
4th – Peter Livitsanis (5 min)
5th – Duncan bates (5 min)
Fastest Time – Brendan Schiemer (Scratch) in 1:33:30

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EVCC mur de Learmonth 2016

April 10, 2016 – Graded Scratch – Windmill / Mt. Beckworth, 54 km

April 10, 2016 – Graded Scratch – Windmill / Mt. Beckworth, 54 km

Windy Willows – 10 April 2016 

Graded Scratch Races
Windmill / Mt. Beckworth Circuit – 54 km

The circuit which is synonymous with strong winds…

There were a few worried looks amongst the anxious riders assembled at the start line – a rumour was going around that the caravan at the side of the road was Doping Control.

‘How much coffee can I legally drink?’
‘Is a Berocca considered performance enhancing?’

They needn’t have worried, the “van” was just the Swiss Family Veal – set up like carnie folk on the side of the road – Mum and Dad obviously looking for some prize money to pay the rent.

A Grade

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The Phantom Menace

A few riders were backing up after racing the previous day – Phil Cartledge and Tony Mirabella (Eastern Open), also, Peter Canny and Dean Wells (Ballarat- Sebastopol).  The fresh riders on the scene were Rob Phillips, Dean Griffin and race favourite – Brendan Schiemer.

From the start, Wells had a bee in his bonnet and had the pace up to near 40 kph within moments – the acceleration catching a few riders by surprise.
Schiemer said to Canny ‘Wellsy takes his responsibility as pace setter far too seriously!’
A tail wind greeted riders at the first turn, which required some riders to put in a big effort early, just to catch the lead of the race.  No sooner had they regrouped than Mirabella started a flurry of surges each time there was a small rise in the road.  Past the quarry and the bunch finally started to rotate almost normally, before Cartledge surged on the small hill, causing a quick shut down from Wells and Griffin.
Onto Coghills Creek Rd and Phillips came through to the lead and settled everyone down.  Phillips would go on to provide much of the pacemaking throughout the whole race.?  Turning west at the church, the pace dropped below 30 kph as the bunch rode into a fair headwind.  The workload was shared well down into Donovans Rd and through the finish line for the first time, however Mirabella and Cartledge ramped the pace up as they neared the turn into Learmonth-Sulky Rd.  Catching the tailwind on the bend they quickly had everyone gasping as they opened a small gap.  Once caught the pace eased off again, only for Schiemer to start his own little surges, often with Mirabella in tow.
Griffin and Canny must have been wondering what was wrong with everyone, the race hadn’t even reached the halfway mark and there had already been a half dozen surges that had strung the field out each time. Phillips went to the front and led the bunch up the small hill at a fast pace to ensure no one tried an attack.

Rolling on towards Coghills Creek everyone was being very watchful.  Phillips often on the front with Canny sat in behind him.?Everyone was watching everyone, who would go next?
Club Champion – Phil “Farky” Cartledge was heard to comment ‘It’s an interesting race’.
Schiemer got in the action with a few rolls off the front, but every action was quickly shut down by Club Champion – Phil “Farky” Cartledge.   Griffin drove the pace on the way out through Coghills Creek with Schiemer and Cartledge.  Mirabella always loitering around the back of the pack waiting for an opportunity to put the hurt on.

The 3.5 km climb up to the turnaround point saw the bunch slow as they battled the wind coming from the 10 o’clock position.  Cartledge and Wells did the majority of the work up the climb only for Schiemer and Mirabella to pull off a fast acceleration just before the turnaround point.  The bunch almost came to a complete stop, with at least one rider taking his foot off the pedal to steady himself.  Meanwhile, Schiemer and Mirabella launched away from the turnaround with a partial tail wind and a downhill run.  This left Wells flatfooted and 50 metres off the back of the bunch as they flew down the hill.  Cartledge and Griffin both scrambled to get back on the leader’s wheels, each topping 60 kph in the chase.  Phillips and Canny just keeping contact in the most devastating attack so far.
A lull in the pace (after passing B Grade) saw Wells finally rejoin after a 3 km downhill/wind chase – averaging 50 kph.  The attacks didn’t let off with both Mirabella and Sheems then launching another flurry of attacks on the run back to Coghills Creek.  Often stretching the bunch out on the narrow road and putting everyone in the gutter.  Many times the crosswind almost brought about a touch of wheels, further adding to the stress of each attack and chase.

Phillips and Griffin finally brought some calmness to the bunch through Coghills Creek.  Assisted by Schiemer and Canny, they rolled towards the right hand turn (at the church) at a more sedate pace.  Mirabella and Cartledge both taking a moment to assess their rivals.
Turning at the church, Schiemer found himself stuck on the font of the bunch as they rolled down to the final turn into Donovans Rd.  No one would come through until just before the turn when Wells moved to the front.  Mirabella came through as they went up the rise, but no one wanted to do the lead out duties.
Wells again on the front as they straightened for the 3 km long run to the finish.  Oncoming vehicles caused the bunch to stretch out again, however a fair pace was held so that the bunch could regroup.  Canny came through to the front – which everyone was happy for him to do.

Nearing 2 kilometres to go, Wells launched from 3rd wheel when the bunch were partly sheltered from the crosswind.  The bunch didn’t respond immediately to the attack.  Griffin was caught in behind Canny and the others were all looking to see who would start the chase.
As Wells opened a space, Griffin looked around at the remaining bunch and said ‘Everything has been shut down today, but this is the one you want to chase fellas!’
Wells’s gap grew quickly and over the crest – 1500 metres to the line – he had a 100 metre advantage.  ?In the bunch, Griffin took the bull by the horns and committed to the chase.  Wells started to falter with 500 metres to go and the gap started closing.
With 300 metres remaining the bunch were only 20 metres from making the catch, but the chase lost impetus as they stretched out and lined up for the sprint.  Wells staying away for the win.
The sprint for the minor placings saw Griffin get overrun by Mirabella.  Phillips was a popular 3rd after his tireless work during the race.

Results:
1st – Dean Wells
2nd – Tony Mirabella
3rd – Rob Phillips


B Grade

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Up the Creek

First lesson in sprinting – you have to be at the finish to sprint.

John Creek held on for all he was worth, knowing that if it came to a sprint he’d have a shot.  But holding on was a challenge especially when Danny “Fidel” Whelan gets on the front.  Although he’d already flogged himself the day before at the Eastern Open, he was back on the front pulling 10km turns at an honest clip.
Fidel’s “strategy” is the complete opposite to Creek’s…grind everyone down so there is no one left to sprint.
Unfortunately for Fidel he didn’t have the legs to stay in front all race and by the turnaround on top of Beckworth he was resting up on the back and the tempo slowed considerably.
Bob Muncher Morley found the front on odd occasions, really just to slow the race, but spent the race contemplating which wheel for the final sprint – he got that one wrong, believing Fifi Livitsanis might have the legs today.
Michael “the Doc” Veal was late to the start line as he had just stepped out of his circus trailer with the clown shoes and grease paint still on and had to make a mad dash for the clubrooms for a quick change.  The Doc elected himself ringmaster and provided running commentary of affairs, another rider who favours the dash for cash at the end he was relatively untroubled and pressed he group when Fidel wasn’t.
The third six footer in the bunch was Duncan “Psycho” Bates and when he, Creekie and the Doc were on the front it, Muncher, Fidel and Fifi didn’t even have to pedal.

The steam went out of the race into Donovan’s Rd with no one ambitious enough to have a crack into the wind, the pace settled at a jolly speed and everyone shuffled around for position and placed their bets on wheels.  Fidel and Psycho ignored this and set off at a rising pace, Creekie and the Doc tucked in waiting.
With 100 metres to go the Doc launched (much to the delight of the Veal family cheer squad at the caravan) and Creekie grabbed his wheel instantaneously – everyone else was left scrambling.
Creekie gradually draws up to, then eclipses the Doc on the line, with a fast finishing Muncher rattling down the outside for third.

Results:
1st – John Creek
2nd – Michael Veal
3rd – Bob Morley

 

C Grade

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Popeye hoists spinnaker

Rob Parker was the meat in the Lee Brother’s scratch race sandwich, however despite the obvious numerical advantage the Lee’s didn’t have it all their own way.
Of course you would assume that Popeye and Brian would do the old “one-two” on Rob…but that would assume collusion and some sort of brotherhood.  The Lee’s don’t race like that!  There is always a bit of rivalry between Brian and Kevin.

The trio set of at a brisk pace, honest enough to keep them out in front of the larger B Grade race until Coghills Creek.
Playing relatively nicely the small field stayed together up to the turnaround and back through Coghills Creek again until the Donovan’s Rd run for home.

Brian was the first to attack, however this ignited the flame under Kevin’s stove and he counterattacked.
This is what Popeye does best!  When he took off from a long way out, he and just kept going.  Brian and Rob chasing but not reeling in that tantalising 30 metre gap.
With his brother safely up the road and bound for glory, Brian dug in and thought he’d opened a gap on Rob, but the cagey Parker sat in until the last moment then pinned the ears back and sprinted past Brian for second.

Results:
1st – Kevin Lee
2nd – Rob Parker
3rd – Brian Lee

 

D Grade

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Caravan rolls on

Journey-woman Jude Jonasson was a runaway winner of D Grade, leaving her competitors in her wake half way in and soloing to an impressive win – more bacon for the Veal household.

The children on the side of the road were cheering loudly for mum, as her winnings would mean one of them would get to wear shoes next week*.

On a windy day when none of the boys were up for it, Jude marshalled all her resources, threw caution to the wind and attacked a long way out.  16 kilometres out to be precise!

After sheltering behind Collie and Gretton as they laboured into the wind and up the rise towards the turnaround point, Jude unleashed her full fury on the downward/wind leg back towards Coghills Creek.
Jude’s break stuck through sheer tenacity and despite a desperate chase from Terry Collie and James Gretton the gap just kept increasing.
There comes a point in all great breaks when the chasers just give up and race for second, Jude found that point and the boys started looking at each other…once again, from a very long way out.

With Jude across the line and back in the caravan preparing the evening meal of weeds and road kill, James laid the power down to out sprint Terry for second – an event that Jude hardly noticed as she busied herself around the roadside camp*.

*Very much tongue in cheek!  The Veal caravan brought something unique to the race…we are all hoping it will be camped up on the “Wall” for next week’s race!

Results:
1st – Jude Jonasson
2nd – James Gretton
3rd – Terry Collie
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