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July 1, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 4 – handicap, Weatherboard

July 1, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 4 – handicap, Weatherboard

EUROPA cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
1st July 2018

W.A.R.S. – race 4
Handicap

Weatherboard – 51 km

EVCC 2018 WARS July poster

The art of W.A.R.S.

“Take time to deliberate,
but when the time for action has arrived,
stop thinking and go in.”
- Napoleon Bonaparte

Brilliant sunshine greeted the twenty two riders who signed on for round 4 of the EUROPA W.A.R.S.
A new start line at the top of the climb in Hendersons Road was warmly received and for once confusion did not reign.  Five laps of Weatherboard – simple.

Five Limit riders (14 minutes) rolled away in the near perfect conditions.  No time to waste on this circuit though.  You’re either climbing or descending and there are no “easy” sections.
Bob Morley led the charge out with Brian Lee, Steve Linane, Roger McMillan and Phil McLennan.

So what did you do on Saturday?  Coffee and no bike ride?  Indoor trainer maybe?
Well, Phil McLennan ran to the top of Mount Buninyong, then ran back down…dedication!

The 9 minute group consisted of James Knipe, Jeremy Humber, Ash Burke and James Gretton.  The smallest bunch of the day (we don’t count the sole Scratch rider – Tim Canny – as a bunch) aimed to limit their losses and hitch a ride towards the end.
With the lightest of breezes they would struggle to catch Limit, with just four riders they would struggle to stay clear of the chasers.  Today’s chopping block?

At 4 minutes, Greg Ley led out an interesting mix of reward and respite – Jim Crumpler, Peter Canny, Dean Wells, Grant Dawson and Jason Hendry.  Surely enough firepower here to hold off the chasers with the Handicapper’s gift, but could the talent work together?

Second Scratch rode off at 1 minute and included Tony Mirabella, Craig Lee, Brendan Schiemer, Jason Birch, Rob Ellis and Peter Kiel.  Their challenge was to hold the sole Scratch rider – you know who – at bay, whilst taking time out of the four minute bunch.

Out on course and the 4 minute bunch was taking huge chunks of time from the out-markers.  It was coming at a cost.  Crumpler (in recovery from illness) was suffering and Hendry was grimly hanging on.  Canny, Dawson, Ley and Wells kept the engine at close to full throttle.

Second Scratch held Canny off for about 15 kilometres.  During that time they took mere seconds out of the 4 minute group.  Once Canny joined them, the race got harder and the time gap started to fall.

Limit were working well under the guidance of Morley and they maintained much of their gap over the 9 minute group through the first two laps.

Knipe and company pushed hard, but they could almost feel the 4 minute group closing in as they neared the end of lap number two.

The high pace of each group started to take its toll…
Crumpler pulled out from the 4 minute group at the twenty kilometre mark, which was around about the same time that McMillan lost contact with Limit.
Gretton couldn’t hang onto the pack when the 4 minute group caught the 9 minute bunch on the third lap.

The 4 minute group (now with added passengers) kept rolling turns.  They could see the leaders ahead, yet they couldn’t see Scratch.
For their part, Scratch had halved the gap to the 4 minute group and looked on track to make the catch, however it had come at cost.  Schiemer struggled with low race fitness and dropped off the Scratch bunch nearing the end of lap four.

Onto the final lap and Limit started to struggle.  They could see the pack closing and Linane dropped off the back.  The fluent turns of the early laps was replaced with choppy efforts as Lee, McLennan and Morley sensed the inevitable.
Caught halfway along Avenue Road, they showed their tickets and jumped on board the train.
Ley wasn’t keen on towing too many to the finish.  He surged up the Avenue climb, however the group rejoined.  The next chance to ditch the passengers would be out of the Avenue.
Humber, keen to rack up more valuable W.A.R.S. points, was paying close attention, as was Morley, who rolled towards the front in anticipation…
Out of the corner and Ley went again.  Morley left in No Mans land and the rest all looking for wheels.
The rush eventually came and Ley was brought back – bunch still intact – however Scratch had just exited the Avenue and had their sights planted firmly on the leaders.

Over Weatherboard for the final time and Ley tried his luck again.  Peter Canny followed and so did Wells, but they pack came back…again.
Down through the chicane and Hendry found himself on the front with no-one really willing to help out.  There wasn’t too much time to spend playing games because Scratch was closing rapidly.

Through the final corner and Wells put the race into the gutter.  The wind was at their backs as they lined out on the road edge.
Over the bridge and the last ascent of the Hendersons Road hill.  Morley was in second wheel and ready to pounce, when Ley hit hard down the inside.
Humber was on his wheel.
Burke and Canny quickly jumped out of the pack to follow.  Hendry followed late, but with more speed than Canny and Burke, he quickly passed them and started bearing down on the two juking it out ahead.

Ley was leading.  Humber was closing.  Hendry was closing faster.
At the line Ley takes the prize with a bike length over Humber and two bike lengths to Hendry.  Canny and Wells follow, the rest of the train has disintegrated.

Just 15 seconds behind and Scratch are charging towards the line.  The sprint is for pride only.  Tim Canny has Fastest Time already sown up.

Results:
1st – Greg Ley (4 minutes)
2nd – Jeremy Humber (9 minutes)
3rd – Jason Hendry (4 minutes)
4th – Peter Canny (4 minutes)
5th – Dean Wells (4 minutes)
Fastest Time – Tim Canny (Scratch) in 1h 17m 40s, ave. 39.3 kph

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June 23, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 3 – handicap, Windmill

June 23, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 3 – handicap, Windmill

EUROPA cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
23rd June 2018

W.A.R.S. – race 3
Handicap

Windmill – 53 km

EVCC 2018 WARS June poster

Gods and generals…

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time
– Leo Tolstoy

Saturday 23rd June will long be etched in the memories of Eureka members.  Whilst a small determined brigade stayed at home to battle – an elite squad ventured to the Eastern front and stamped their presence in a dominating fashion.
We could continue with the superlatives about the Eastern front, however this report is about the home guard.  Those few who remained true to the cause and contested a most interesting event. W.A.R.S. take on their own character.  They evolve as necessary.  The combatants deal with what is presented.

Saturday 23rd June was originally scheduled as a handicap.  It was a trial.  Winter racing, in the afternoon…
The rescheduling of the Eastern Vets Open to the same date, saw Eureka Cycling change their race to a graded division event.
Then, as so often happens, the goals changed again.  Few riders arrived at Learmonth for the Saturday afternoon races.
Subsequently, the event was reverted to a handicap.

Eleven riders warmed up on what could best be described as a “bleak day”.  It was cold.  Light showers drifted across the Windmill circuit, yet the breeze was barely there.
A suggestion to further change the event into a two lap (35 km) affair was refused.  The riders wanted to race.  And, race they would – over the full three laps!  Eleven riders, three bunches…light showers would make the race less than pleasurable.

The eight minute group (Limit), rolled off with the resignation that they would be caught mid-race.
Kevin Lee struggled from the start.  Only a late decision saw Kevin even sign on.  His day would be a struggle and just two laps before retiring.
The remainder powered on.  Just three against the rest.
Dan Whelan, Bob Morley and Steve Linane worked well together from early in the race, yet they suspected to be rolled up early.

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At four minutes a most unique group set off.  This bunch says all that is good about veterans racing.  The retired teacher, the doctor and the fireman.
Let’s not forget that the retired teacher is in his seventies!
They rated themselves a chance at catching Limit before Scratch caught them…

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Scratch presented yet another mix of interesting riders.  The cynics among us would suggest it was a lead out train for Tony Mirabella.
Rob Ellis, Tavis Baker and Stuart Brien were the ensemble… then again, those other guys certainly have more than just one trick (hard riding) up their sleeves!

The first lap saw each bunch seemingly taking a cautious line around the circuit.  Sure there were wet sections, however each bunch seemed to be on the same wavelength – let’s just gradually increase our pace.  Except for Lee dropping off the Limit group, the other two bunches were fully intact.

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Through to halfway and the race had started to compress.  Scratch was closing on the four minute group, but Limit still held a significant share of their handicap.

Coming through for the bell lap and Limit was just two riders – Whelan and Morley.  Linane trailed them through a few minutes later and not far behind him came the combined Scratch and four minute bunch.  The Limit riders still held a 3 minute advantage though.  This could be the biggest steal ever!

The combined Scratch bunch had ridden the second Windmill lap almost 90 seconds faster than the first.  Turning towards the quarry they ramped up the pace again. Mirabella pushed hard and swapped turns with Baker.  The rest bit handlebars just to stay in touch.
They swept up Linane and could see the leaders – Morley and Whelan – ahead. Over “Quarry Hill” and the bunch was still together.  They had also halved the distance to the race lead.

Whelan and Morley pushed hard.  They had expected to be caught by this stage.  Glancing over shoulders they could see the chasers in the distance, however maybe they had enough of a gap…

Towards Addington Road and the enlarged Scratch bunch was recovering.  The leaders were just ahead and now was the time to decide when to make the catch.  They gradually closed the distance and finally rolled up the leaders early in Donovan’s Road – just four kilometres remaining.
Ellis assumed the lead and went to the gutter.  The breeze was barely present, so the tactic did not blow the field apart.

Into the final two kilometres and Ellis ramped the pace up as high as he could.  The ten riders were almost in single file, however Humber was caught out wide.  With five hundred metres remaining, Humber made the decision to go!
At the front, Ellis was waiting for the attacks. Baker was close behind and Veal was ready to jump onto any passing wheels.  Humber came down the middle of the road and caught everyone by surprise.  So early!  Even more surprising was Linane coming through at the same time.

Tactics were out the window.  Scripts were cast aside.  No one knew what to do!

Baker gave chase and towed Veal along.  Mirabella hooked out and was caught in two minds as when to sprint.
Back midfield, Brien was giving up any hope when the riders divided like Moses and the Red Sea.  Could it be?  May as well have a go!

100 metres remaining and the race could be won by anyone.
Veal swept to the lead out wide – thanks to the perfect lead out from Baker – then Brien came down the centre of the road and gapped them all for the win.

Results:
1st – Stuart Brien (Scratch)
2nd – Michael Veal (4 mins)
3rd – Tavis Baker (Scratch)
4th – Tony Mirabella (Scratch)
5th – Jeremy Humber (4 mins)
Fastest Time – Stuart Brien (Scratch) in 1h 23m, ave. 38.3 kph

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June 16, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 2 – handicap, Ercildoune

June 16, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 2 – handicap, Ercildoune

EUROPA cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
16th June 2018

W.A.R.S. – race 2
Handicap

Ercildoune – 46 km

Saving James - poster

Lost in No Mans Land…

“Ever tried.
Ever failed.
No matter.
Try again.
Fail again.
Fail better.”
– Samuel Beckett

July 2017 Eureka Cycling club rooms
Committee Meeting…
D – ‘We have a proposal before us to consider staging some Saturday races during winter’
T – ‘It couldn’t be this year. We already have our permits.’
D – ‘The plan would be to do it in 2018. The two Saturdays either side of winter solstice.’
M – ‘Why would we want to do that?’
D – ‘Try something different. Ballarat Sebas haven’t been racing during winter. Great opportunity to attract new members. The races would start later in the day. Hopefully to avoid fog.’
P – ‘Okay, who is in favour of trialling Saturday races in the middle of June?’
The motion is passed…

Saturday 16th June, 2018

The forward planning from one year ago has proven fruitful.
As other cycling clubs abandon their scheduled races for the Sunday, the Eureka members prepare to race on Saturday afternoon.
A testing handicap race on the Ercildoune circuit.  A stiff head wind for the first seventeen kilometres.  Some relief after that point as the race turns away from the west. Nineteen riders warm up in cool, yet sunny conditions.

The small window when the race is held will be the warmest part of the whole weekend, however the riders are bracing themselves for the cold that the wind brings as it sweeps across the plains.

Graeme Parker surges away from the start line – the lone Limit rider.  His belief was that this day was for the Scratch riders.
From his 25 minute mark, Parker hopes to survive off the front until at least Black Bottom Road.


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At eighteen minutes Terry Collie led away a small group including Jacqui Dawson and the Lee brothers – Brian and Kevin.  With a large group just four minutes behind, this bunch would need to work well to conserve as much energy as possible for the inevitable catch.

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The largest group of the day rode off at fourteen minutes.  Danny Whelan, Peter Livitsanis, James Knipe, Jeremy Humber, James Gretton and Roger McMillan.  With so much available firepower, this bunch favoured themselves for the win.
The key to victory would be using their strength in numbers and rotating into the wind.  If they could hold a few minutes margin by the high point of the race – Mount Misery – they stood a good chance staying clear.  Rounding up the out-markers would be a mere formality.

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Former Club Champion Greg Ley, led the five minute group and a formidable group it was.  Matthew Ayres and Grant Dawson are more than capable of smashing out big turns.  Joining the bunch was Jason Hendry who has been impressing with every race.

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The Second Scratch trio had just one minute to spare over the lone Scratch rider – Tim Canny.  How long could they hold the Club Champion at bay?
Tony Mirabella, Peter Kiel and Craig Lee are strong, but would they take it easy to allow Canny to catch them early?

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Out on course and the windchill started to take its toll early.  Another factor not to be dismissed was the later start time.  Had the riders fueled correctly?  What of the rain showers?  They were short, yet they brought more cold and the temperature plummeted!  So many questions and they were about to be answered…

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Collie and company had Parker in their sights as they headed west past Ercildoune.  However, they were in the crosshairs of the large 14 minute group, which by now had lost McMillan from their number.
A similar story for the 5 minute group, with Dawson off the back.  Canny had latched onto the 1 minute group inside the first eight kilometres, rolled straight to the front and had the team working well.
Along Black Bottom Road there was a reprieve for all as the wind was now a cross tail.

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At halfway Scratch was still trailing Ley, Ayres and Hendry by two minutes.  The race lead was many more minutes ahead with the 14 minute group already heading east along Beaufort-Waubra Road.  The tail breeze threw them up the early rises as they swept aside the out-markers.  Knipe had lost contact with the group and went on to miss the turn, yet they still had strong riders who now smelled a victory in the offing.  They had also picked up Brian Lee.  He alone had been able to hold on as the 18 minute group was caught on the climb.

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With the whole field – well, except for James Knipe – racing up Mount Misery from the west and a glorious tail wind, now was the time to push even harder.  The extra efforts in the cold saw splits in the bunches – Ley and Hendry lost Ayres, Scratch lost Craig Lee and the leaders lost Gretton to gravity.

Rain showers started being more frequent as the race turned at Addington.  Four riders charged up the Edmonstons Road climb – Livitsanis, Humber, Whelan and Brian Lee.  They had a large gap over Kevin Lee.  Caught in a rain shower at Addington – Terry Collie and Jacqui Dawson were next with James Gretton and Graeme Parker following.
Jason Hendry and Greg Ley came through Addington a bit too hot.  Ley went down as the grip between tyre and tarmac gave way.  Scratch were next through the corner, with Matt Ayres joining them.

Four riders were still clear as they turned onto Weatherboard Road and headed for the finish line at the big tree.  Easy through the turn, then “What the?” as they charge past the Avenue of Honour and see the club Media herding a horse…

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The last few hundred metres are with a tailwind and Peter Livitsanis has this finish down to the millimetre, Jeremy Humber knows he has the fastest sprint, Brian Lee is just happy to be here and Dan Whelan knows he has no hope.
The line looms large, Livitsanis waits and waits, he goes, but Humber goes faster gets the win. Brian Lee grabs third ahead of Whelan.
Tim Canny finishes tenth, takes Fastest Time and a swag of Strava KOMs!
The rest come in a stragglers…well, not everyone.  Grant Dawson also missed a turn and came home via a new route.  Then there was James.  He was missing!
Back at the club rooms and the club Media finally arrives after capturing the loose standard bred horse and handing it over to the local policeman.
James Knipe has not returned though… Out goes the search party.  They drive west, south, north and east.  They lap the race circuit and they drive off route.
Eventually, they find James.  James is safe.  James is well.

Results:
1st – Jeremy Humber (14 minutes)
2nd – Peter Livitsanis (14 minutes)
3rd – Brian Lee (18 minutes)
4th – Danny Whelan (14 minutes)
5th – Kevin Lee (18 minutes)
Fastest Time – Tim Canny (Scratch) in 1h 11m, ave. 38.3 kph

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June 3, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 1 – graded racing, Mt Beckworth

June 3, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 1 – graded racing, Mt Beckworth

EUROPA cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
3rd June 2018

W.A.R.S. – race 1
Graded Racing

Mount Beckworth – 54 km

EVCC 2018 WARS June poster

Let the W.A.R.S. begin…

“Difficulties mastered, are opportunities won.”
– Winston Churchill

Round 1 of the EUROPA cafe 2018 W.A.R.S. started off with confusion as the club’s generals were missing in action…
The scheduled handicap race was turned into a graded division event.
No one was on hand to manage the kitchen.

It was pure chaos.

The calamity served to remind us that in W.A.R.S. there are no rules.

The troops rallied though!  The bugle was sounded and the reserve brigade came to the fore.  A plan was hatched and the combatants recovered from their initial shock.

And the races began…

Division 4

Division 4 headed out first and Graeme Parker led from the front.
Not even halfway through the first lap and Division 4 was entwined with the Division 3 race.  The combined divisions carried on regardless.
In the home straight and Parker weaved his way through the faltering Division 3 riders to claim a clear victory in Division 4.

Result:
1st – Graeme Parker

Division 3

Division 3 were out for a Sunday ride.  “No need to put ourselves deep in the hurt box” was possibly heard mentioned on the start line as riders introduced themselves.
Rob Parker was back and very pleased that the scheduled handicap had been changed into a graded race.
Steve Linane was also back. Linane has a liking for the W.A.R.S. and tends to win on debut each year – he was one to watch.
Jacqui Dawson improves with each race and targets every Open on the calendar.  Her efforts today were with a view to the long term.
Kevin Lee was also happy to have a reasonable hit out today, as he eyes off club trophy races over the winter months.
Rounding out the field was Phil McLennan.  Always one to watch, particularly because he likes riding off the front.

There were no shenanigans today and it seemed like a field sprint might decide the outcome.  McLennan, Linane and Dawson dragged the bunch over the last 7 kilometres with no complaints from the more experienced Parker and Lee.

Turning into Donovan’s Road and McLennan put the power down.  The bunch scrambled for his wheel, however Dawson was out the back and dropped.  Linane took up the pace into the head wind.
Then over the final rise the real games began.  The finish line was in sight and the players were all keeping their cards close, each waiting for the move…
McLennan blinked first.  His attack was the perfect lead out for Linane who had the desired sit.  Parker was in the prime spot on Linane’s wheel.
The finish line loomed, McLennan started to fade, Linane launched, Parker hit out…
But Linane was too strong in the sprint.

Results:
1st – Steve Linane
2nd – Rob Parker
3rd – Phil McLennan

Division 2

An even field stood on the start line with most of the chat wondering what Pete Canny was doing in Division 2.  Pete Canny was saying nothing.
The race started and Steve Biram took off and was quickly covered by the smooth pedalling Ralph Jones (aka James Gretton).  What they were hoping to achieve no one was too sure.  Anyway the chasing bunch didn’t panic and picked them up after five kms into the race after some strong turns by Danny Whelan, the aforementioned Canny and stand in Handicapper – Bob Morley.

Things rolled along with no surprises and nobody was willing to activate anything.  That was until the second lap when Canny cranked it up over Crick’s hill to see if anybody could be dislodged.  Nup, no one was dropped.
Things settled back down and then all were waiting to see what would happen at the uphill turnaround.  Gretton thought that the best idea was to be at the front of the hill at the start of the uphill grind to the turn around, hoping to be still in touch at the top.  Great idea in theory…. Reality (and gravity) hurts, so whilst the plan was solid, he ended up being shot out the back like a shanghai and his race was over.
The climb to the turnaround accounted for Roger McMillan as well.

Canny, Whelan and Morley led them into the turn and all were waiting for the downhill smash-fest that would split the group.  It didn’t happen.  The bunch regrouped, minus Gretton and McMillan.
Grant “Smokey” Dawson did a turn on the front for about five kilometres and seemed impervious to the head wind.  Ash Burke was on his wheel and everybody else was strung out behind.

Closing to the last few kilometres and it Looked like being a sprint finish – with the winner likely to come from a number of sources.  Things were starting to wind up in the home straight and the group had to wait for Division 1 to fly past and finish their race.

Dawson lit it up and there were riders left right and centre.
Mark O’ Callaghan looked good in his all black kit as he hit out down the outside of the road.
Jeremy Humber, astride a new bike fancied his chances and attacked, momentarily.
However it was the Division 1 escapee – Peter Canny – that cranked up his formidable sprint and headed for the flag.
James Knipe (after having used his noodle throughout the race) threatened to snatch to victory, however a shrewd “Saganesque” manouvre by Canny quickly snubbed that flicker of hope.
Canny winning from Knipe, with Morley getting over “the man in black” to take the third spot on the podium.

Results:
1st – Peter Canny
2nd – James Knipe
3rd – Bob Morley

Division 1

With no Tim Canny to compete against, they came from everywhere for the Division 1 race.  Actually the riders all thought it was going to be a handicap, so the fact that there was no Tim actually had a few riders confused about what might transpire.
Sam Edwards was out for a trial race.  His mere presence had most riders worried.  Tony Mirabella was coughing up a lung just before the start…but was that a ruse?  Jason Birch arrived with moments to spare, quickly assessed the field and knew he was in with a chance to come second again.

The eleven riders rolled out from the start and the pace was taken up by Dean Wells.  No “in the gutter” pressure, just an easy pace with plenty of room for everyone to shelter in the wheel.
Rob Ellis rolled through to assist with the pacemaking.  Robert doesn’t play fair though.  Robert likes to accelerate, then ease off, then accelerate again.  Robert plays hard!
Matt Ayres found a nice spot near the back of the bunch.  His turns stretched the group out, however he was conservative.
Greg Ley stayed close enough to cover any attacks – of which there were few.

Mirabella attacked on the first lap and was left dangling out the front.  The leaders quickly enforced on the group that no chasing was to be done.  The bunch complied and the message was clear – “If you go off the front, you will be hung out to dry”.
Mirabella was eventually allowed to rejoin the bunch.

Craig Lee was the next to try his luck.  The field worked as one to extinguish the risk.  Eventually, he too was brought back into the fold through Coghill’s Creek.
Everyone was wary of the StoreIT team.  Adorned in trademark blue and pink, the squad was hard to miss.  Lindsay Burgoyne sat close to the front, Peter Kiel sat mid-field and Tavis Baker brought up the tail.  Formidable.  Imposing.  Did they have a plan to hatch?

The climbing had begun and the pace with the tailwind ensured any attacks would be futile as the leaders continued with their “negative racing”.  Up the hill, through the turnaround, spread across and block the road.  No attacks today!

Ellis rolled to the front and kept everyone guessing.  Fast, ease off, fast, ease off.  Legs started hurting as the tactic had a concertina effect on the field.
An attack through Coghill’s Creek with Ellis, Burgoyne and Lee all getting off the front.  Birch followed, then the bunch regrouped.
Into Addington Road and the race went into the gutter…but still no one attacked.

Donovan’s Road and the pace was just high enough up the first rise to deter the would be attackers.  Over the top and Ellis again stretched the field and str-arted closing in on the Division 2 race.  Those riders wisely eased up to let Division 1 pass inside the final 500 metres as Ellis kept driving.

A head wind sprint would decide the day as Edwards launched early and out wide.  Birch followed, Lee was close and Kiel was right there.
Birch looked like getting the win, but Lee hit the afterburners and relegated him to second again.  Kiel closing fast to collect third place.

Results:
1st – Craig Lee
2nd – Jason Birch
3rd – Peter Kiel

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