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Production Drive, Graded Criterium – Eureka Vets Cycling Ballarat

Production Drive, Graded Criterium – Eureka Vets Cycling Ballarat

Fine, dry conditions and light winds made for some fast aggressive racing on Production Drive circuit for the 4 grades of riders assembled for battle.

A Grade

Looking more “Wookie” than Jedi, the hirsute Shane Cody unleashed a devastating final lap attack that left a talented A grade field in his wake, chamois dancing across the line. It’s been a while since someone has won a B grade crit one week and returned two weeks later to win A Grade – in fact it might have been the Jedi master himself who last achieved this feat. One thing is certain, when you make the new handicapper look slow you ain’t coming back to B Grade anytime soon.

Phil Cartledge has a unique crit strategy that pays off once in ten, jump off the front and see if you can either get a lap on the field or time trial to victory, this week was one of the other nine times that this doesn’t work. For his gallant efforts he was awarded Ride of the Day.

A grade also welcomed back Guy Falla, he never shows up if he isn’t fit and today was no exception. Guy always keeps things honest and was the engine in a race that averaged around 39km/hr. Club Champ Andrew Rushton threw out an early challenge but settled once caught, finishing in the bunch sprint for second. The Italian Stallion, Tony Mirabella was feeling more draught horse than speedy steed but still managed a respectable 2nd



1st Shane Cody

2nd Tony Mirabella

3rd Phil Cartledge


B Grade – Captain Phillips

Rob Phillips is not exactly new to racing but this was his very first crit. If he was nervous it didn’t show, he was never really troubled by the tight racing or the speed and penned his maiden crit win into his palmares. This “Man of Steel”s race seemed effortless, he positioned himself well all race and had more punch in the final sprint to out-gun a rapidly improving Albie “Honolulu” Govan. It only took a few laps for the assembled rag tag bunch to work out they were all pretty evenly matched and a tactical race ensued. Characterised by half-hearted attacks from Peter Livitsanis and Bob Morley and the occasional quicker lap or two when Dean Wells or Richard Taylor felt inclined, everything was marked and chased down. Well done to Brian Lee, elevated into B Grade for his sins, he showed the dour Lee spirit to cling grimly to the back on the bunch, while a longshot at best his “win” was still being there and being competitive. The race settled into a rhythm and was always destined for a sprint finish, however it also became evident early that Rob had the biggest kick and would probably win a sprint. Not interested in a last minute furious finish, Albie and Dean combined to try to take the race from a lap and a half out. Their attack shattered the field, but Rob has seen it all before and easily found Albie’s back wheel. It was all too academic around the last bend, Rob comes off the wheel of a weakening Honolulu and nails the sprint.



1st Rob Phillips

2nd Albie Govan

3rd Dean Wells



C Grade


Having not raced for over a year, Jason Haire made a welcome return to vets racing and celebrated with a hardworking win, despite his lack of pre-race confidence. A tall but small four man field contested C grade and was mad smaller (but not shorter) when Matt Ritchie punchured on the penultimate lap, leaving it to the tall timber of Jason and John Creek to contest the finale. Usually a handful in crit racing, John Creek is steadily finding form and raced well. With a win under his belt we hope to see more of Jason this season.



1st Jason Haire

2nd John Creek



D Grade

Production Drive is turning into Brad Eppingstalls backyard, so dominant is he in crit racing. It’s never pretty, Brad isn’t the cleanest technician on a bike, he is famous for some of the weird lines he takes around corners, but he is a real powerhouse and not many can come around him when he’s in full flight. The bookies were also quietly watching the rest of the field too as there is a smokey or two in D Grade, the cagey Graeme Parker is sitting on some serious good form and was very aggressive throughout the race, the race pace he was generating not only kept the others gasping, it had D Grade overtaking B Grade. Barry Robinson must be “Mr Consistent”, a hard man to shake and a smart racer, there must be a win not too far off for him.



1st Brad Eppingstall

2nd Graeme Parker

3rd Barry Robinson



Eureka Vets Cycling – Crits 10 November 2013

Eureka Vets Cycling –  Crits 10 November 2013

A Grade
Finally, Fabulous Phil found the finish line first. After a spirited start and some wilful suicide attacks from Peter Livitsanis and Steven Richards, Phil Cartledge disappeared off the front of this week’s A grade race about the same time as Peter, Steven and new promotee Neil Walters disappeared out the back. Phil gradually ground out a race winning lead from the last two remaining chasers, new club champion Andrew Rushton and Tony Mirabella. As Andrew wasn’t keen to drag Tony up to Phil only to get smashed in a sprint finish, and Tony wasn’t going to spend all his energy in a long chase, the pair were stalemated, and given that Phil was a man on a mission and was mashing huge gears out front, he actually increased his lead to win by ½ a lap.
1st    Phil Cartledge
2nd    Tony Mirabella
3rd    Andrew Rushton

B Grade
Matt Ritchie showed his superior tactical and sprinting ability to take out B grade event at production Drive in Alfredton.
The race was tactical and eventful with lots of attacks. Main protagonists were Bob Morley and Michael Veal who dominated the race but lacked the ability to finish it off.
A quality field that appreciated the promotion of Neil Walters to A Grade which left the race wide open.  John Creek was back after collecting a suntan up north and looked trim and fit. Greg Curnow and Brian Lee rounded out a quality field. Surprisingly it was Lee to go off the back first and then Curnow dropped back seemingly out of contention
There were several attacks off the front and at once stage Veal and Morley had broken up the field and were away with the others off the pace. The determined Richie got back on and then low and behold Curnow and Creek got back on as well. Lee, however, was gone for good.
The two lap call was given and all the sting had gone out of the race. The bell lap was uneventful until young gun Ritchie backed off and hit the bunch at full speed and struck out for victory.
Morley and Veal gave chase, but with Ritchie’s strength and committed effort, they didn’t get close. Matt took out a great win capping a purple patch with his third win in four races.
Michael Veal got over Morley for second place
1st    Matt Ritchie
2nd    Michael Veal
3rd    Bob Morley

C Grade
Brad “Mr Crit” Eppingstall again stamped his authority on C Grade with a powerful final sprint to leave John Faulkner to again wonder how he is going to beat him. Surprise packet Ray Hodgson bobbed up to take third.
It was a day for the big men with the wind making the top straight and the long home straight a bit of a grind and certainly if you couldn’t hang onto the wheel in front you were history. The three placegetters were joined by Graeme Parker, Lisa Ritchie and Maz Morley for one of the larger C grade crit fields this year. With fresh legs the field stayed reasonably compact as the riders sized eachother up. In the back half of the race, bike handling and cornering became more critical as legs began to tire, and the wind magnified any small gaps. Maz and Lisa both put in sterling performances however the wind and the powerhouse riders stretched the field out until they popped. Ray rode smart, the somewhat diminutive rider finding a back-pocket to hide in from the wind to conserve his energy for the end of the race when he was left to battle alone for third. But in the end it was Brad who had all the bikkies left, and powered away for an emphatic win.

1st    Brad Eppingstall
2nd    John Faulkner
3rd    Ray Hodgson

Andrew Rushton – Ken Heres Eureka Eureka Veterans Cycling Club Championship 2013

Andrew Rushton – Ken Heres Eureka Eureka Veterans Cycling Club Championship 2013

Eureka Veterans CC has a new Club Champion, forged in brutal weather conditions on an anvil of fierce competition. A popular and deserving winner, Andrew Rushton will wear the now famous “no.1” for 2014.

Championship Race

Conditions for the 6th Eureka club championship were March in Belgium, as forecast – howling wind, single-digit temperatures – so pre-race tipsters agreed that the winner would be deserving, but who would it be?  Tony Mirabella, defending champ and determined to dominate from February to November, was worthy, but Andrew Rushton showed a week earlier that a smart sprinter could beat him.  Adam Smith, super at Warrnambool, and dark horse Paul Humphrey might also pull off a sprint upset.  Phil Cartledge, Eureka’s Jens Voigt, was another possible spoiler, if he timed his attack right and combined with other big engines such as Peter Kiel, Darren Terry, Grant Dawson or evergreen Bob Braszell.

Special mention and kudos to Bob Morley and Matt Ritchie who dared to go where mortals fear to tread. Instead of lining up for a competitive B grade race they threw caution to the wind (or was it their sanity?) and lined up for the Championship race. Matt’s “win” was to hang on as long as he could, and Bob would claim a victory if he wasn’t the first one dropped – both men came away winners.

Probably because of all this uncertainty, the attacks were on from the start, with Mirabella keen as always to assert himself, Cartledge and Braszell always willing to inflict pain, and Rushton perhaps nervous about the supremely talented Humphrey.  Usually in a small field some order is soon established, but with no one rider dominant and several wanting to be, the attacks kept coming.  Only Humphrey seemed willing to bet purely on his sprint.  The wind on the Avenue circuit allowed no recovery: uphill into a block headwind on Weatherboard Road, fighting for position in the crosswind on Burrumbeet Road and Hendersons Road, and hanging on at full speed on the Avenue.  When Peter Kiel suffered a mechanical about half-way, there was no chance he would rejoin.

Small gaps opened on the Hendersons Road rise almost every lap, and with two laps to go, after 50 km of unrelenting pace, it looked as though the elastic had snapped.  Mirabella, Rushton, Humphrey and Cartledge were in front, with Smith, Braszell, Dawson, Terry and Jonathan Lacey 20 seconds back.  In the tailwind on the Avenue, Mirabella kept attacking at the front, but Smith’s group seemed unwilling or unable to take advantage of this.  One more attack up front, and Cartledge was unhitched, and the pace in the chase group lifted.  Smooth riding might close the gap, but Adam Smith had other ideas.  On the Weatherboard corner, he hit the gas and was gone, with Lacey hanging on for dear life.  Smith’s pursuit was heroic, and as the big three started looking at one another, the gap closed to less than ten seconds, and he almost made it across.  Behind him, Cartledge recovered somewhat, and he and Braszell got as close to Smith and Lacey as they did to the front group.  Without Kiel’s mechanical, the story might have been different, but as they turned into Hendersons Road for the last time, Humphrey took to the front of the front group, and the gap to Smith opened again.  Over the rise, as Humphrey faded, Rushton kicked hard, as he did the week before, and sealed the championship.


1st                  Andrew Rushton

2nd                  Tony Mirabella

3rd                  Paul Humphrey

4th                  Adam Smith

5th                  Jonathon Lacey

With most of the brave souls who lined up to race competing in the Open Championship event, the fields for B and C Grade were thin but still very competitive and the two winners had to dig deep to secure their respective races., over 5 laps of the Weatherboard course.

B Grade

It’s good to see that all the weight Scott Denno has shed this year certainly didn’t come from his heart. Scott “Reduction Man” Denno scooted clear of his other two rivals, the cackling Greg Curnow and the irrepressive Garry Blood, after 2 laps to solo time trial the remaining 30km by himself. On a day that most wouldn’t even consider a training ride, Scott booted it home in impressive style. Greg persisted and persisted and deserved his second place to cap off a great year for Greg that has seen plenty of success and great improvements. Poor Garry suffered long and hard, but in the end even a third place in B Grade wasn’t enough to keep him motivated and he retired to watch the rest of the race from inside a car.


1st                  Scott Denno

2nd                  Greg Curnow

3rd                  NTD

C Grade

With an agreement to complete four laps, John, Graeme and Lisa headed up the hill.  John and Graeme did the ‘men’s share’ of the work into the  wind, with Lisa chipping in when she could. Some welcome relief from the wind saw the three of them work well up Henderson’s Road and the Avenue and the routine was repeated for the 2nd lap.   Lap 3 and the appreciation for having Graeme along for the ride started to increase. John’s superhuman comeback over past weeks after a ‘shoulder clean-up’ showed minor cracks for the first time, as the shoulder twinged with the bike corrections required in the wind. John dropped off, Graeme went back to get him while Lisa kept battling into the wind, pretty confident they would join her in no time.

As the wind picked up even more, down the chicane felt like it was up the chicane, followed by a long, hard slog with bikes at 45 degree angles. Into Henderson’s Road, bikes were again upright, shoulders adjusted and sanity questioned as they headed into the 4th lap. Lisa was still questioning her sanity as they headed back onto Weatherboard– unwittingly she must have been speaking out loud – prompting Graeme to lend a ‘helping hand’ and ensure she made it up the road

Up the final hill before the finish and John had found his legs and set off. Graeme instructed Lisa to get on his wheel and get ready for the ‘big sprint’. Lisa huffed and puffed and found John’s wheel. Some discussion about the ‘big sprint’ was had.  Lisa saw a car on the finish line which equalled no wind plus a heater, and that was all the motivation she needed, discussions ended and she was off.


1st                  Lisa Ritchie

2nd                  John Faulkner

3rd                  Graeme Parker


Hocking Stuart Criterium – Eureka Vets Cyclying

Hocking Stuart Criterium – Eureka Vets Cyclying

Eureka Veterans Cycling Club
Race Report
27 October 2013
Hocking Stuart Criterium
Production Drive, Graded Crits

Fine, dry conditions and light winds made for some fast aggressive racing on the well swept (thanks Brian and Mal) Production Drive circuit for the 5 grades of riders assembled for battle.
A Grade – “Sparky” Flies
Andrew “Sparky” Rushton has got some serious form going at the right end of the year, and is firming as an eachway bet for next week’s club championships with a surprise victory in a fast and furious 50min criterium. With Tony ”the blue Terror” Mirabella comfortably sitting in the bunch, several riders were not keen to see a bunch sprint finish and pressed their claims throughout the race.
From the flag drop Jonathan Lacey hit the attack button and as he was a bit of an unknown the rest had to respond and hunt him down. This set the pace for a couple of laps until Rushton attacked and disappeared off the front, he stayed there for a lap and a half until Cartledge bridged the gap then disappeared off the front himself.
A bit of a gap was made before Rushton dug in for another go, Cartledge could see him catching and eased off to hitch him up. Once Andrew had had a breather the two started to work as a team to try to break the will of the chasing 3 of Mirabella, Hale & Lacey.
This seemed to be working until just before the half way mark, but as Cartledge thought the others were gaining he decided to up the pace but unfortunately for the two leaders Ruston could not keep his wheel and fell back to the other 3. Cartledge was a bit surprised at this outcome but decided to press on all the same to see if he could go it alone. He managed to hold station for a number of laps but at the realisation he was not hurting the group or opening up a gap he pulled back into the group for the remaining quarter.
The race became a game of cat & mouse with various digs from all the riders but as the race drew to a close it was obvious that it was going to come down to a sprint. Andrew had a crack with a couple of laps to go and heading into the last lap Dan Hale was making a charge, at the start finish line at the beginning of the final lap Cartledge made his move with a big wind up attack, coming out of the final corner he still had the lead and was not showing signs of letting it go, he thought he had it in the bag.  But it’s always about location, location, location and it was Andrew that got the inside rails run around the last corner, to take the final sprint. closely followed by Mirabella and with a lunge Cartledge just managed to hang on for third with Hale hot on his wheel.
1st    Andrew Rushton
2nd    Tony Mirrabella
3rd    Phil Cartledge

B Grade – Jedi Master
Shane Cody again demonstrated that on the flat, no-one goes faster, or finishes more strongly after a keenly contested race.
In an early land grab it was Stephen Richards who made the first attempt to subdivide the B grade field, while Peter Livitsanis was left at the starting gate hanging out the auction flag. The field of 6 was stretched out with Ken Heres and Richard Taylor working hard to bring back the exuberant Stephen. Grant Dawson and Shane Cody settled into the hot pace while Peter eventually found the easement of a back wheel and drew breath. With Stephen’s eventually captured, the field was open for inspection, soon enough a bidding war began, the main protagonists Ken, Shane and Richard raised their hands repeatedly with Grant and Peter trying to counter each offer.  Late into the race Grant went forward in the longest lead out in crit history, the rest of the field content to grab the valuable real estate behind him and wait.
Stephen staked his final claim with a vicious attack three laps out leaving the rest scrambling for wheels, a combination of Shane powering forward and Stephen hitting a brick wall ended the final attack. However it had had the intended result of stringing the field out, Shane rounded the final corner well clear of Richard to slap his “sold” sticker on the race, Peter and Ken left to battle for third.
1st    Shane Cody
2nd    Richard Taylor
3rd    Peter Livitsanis

C Grade – “Kneel!” – commands Walters
(Special report from the Bard of Buninyong)
The weather has cleared the riders were out.
Who was up for pain?
C Grade was made up of young blokes old blokes and lunatics
As far as I could ascertain.

Neil Walters turned up out of the blue
With the usual smile on his face.
You can usually guess he has some form
When he turns up to race.

Bob Morley was out of the gate quickly
No one was sure why.
He only lasted one futile lap
I spose was worth a try.

Then the race settled down
In a predictable format
Curnow hammered on the front
For lap after lap after lap.

Then for a change it was Gazza
Who charged to take control.
The other lads enjoyed the ride and jumped in line
For a lovely Sunday roll.

So Gaz and Greg took it in turns.
Indicating when they’d go.
The other blokes thought ”This is alright”
Sat back and enjoyed the show.

Then just for a change Popeye jumped forward
Gulping Spinach and some kelp.
Hammered around for a couple of laps
Thinking that would help.

Meanwhile Walters, Ritchie and Morley
Were eyeing off each other.
Who would be the wheel in the sprint?
The choice of which to cover.

The bell lap then finally came
It was time to sort things out
Greg Curnow went around the bunch
Mouth agape and flat out.

The cagey Walters grabbed his wheel
Tucked nicely in behind
For all of those who followed
It was trouble they would find.

There was a fracas on the corner
Someone’s wheel misread
All but two were caught up in it
The two were miles ahead.

Young gun Ritchie went as hard as he could
To try and bridge the gap
His stepfather was on his wheel
Hoping his strength to sap

Into the last corner it was Walters
Who had the race by the nuts
Morley chasing after him
Showing considerable guts.

The race was on for third place
Curnow and Ritchie in a man ‘o man war
Billy could not split them
They said it was a draw.

So another crit ridden and over.
And Walters was again too good
Morley was a hapless second again.
We’ll be back and so we should.

1st     Neil Walters
2nd    Bob Morley
3rd    Greg Curnow/Matt Ritchie (deadheat)

D Grade – Brad’s Backyard
Back on the market after a bit of a winter recess, Brad Eppingstall showed he hadn’t just been hibernating and had his crit legs on, accounting for his fellow D grade competitors,  John Faulkner and Lisa Ritchie who proved willing bidders in an honest hit out. All three were racing for sheep stations, the middle of the race being particularly edgy, Lisa clocking up her two fastest lap times on the circuit (one of which was the all-time third fastest women’s time).  But it was Brad who brought the gavel down with a 39km/hr final lap, and even with John chasing hard, Brad had time to enjoy the serenity of the pastoral views as he crossed the line.
And a first for Brad – he managed not to go “off title” around the final corner, keeping his bike on the wide tree-lined boulevard.

1st     Brad Eppingstall
2nd    John Faulkner
3rd    Lisa Ritchie

E Grade – Maz Relegates Ray
Maz Morley made a welcome and successful return to racing after several weeks of sneaky training with Bob. She had to overcome Ray Hodgson in a head-to-head tussle to secure the E grade win. Early on it was a matter of politely testing eachother, later on it was a little more willing. Ray is in the middle of a racing renovation, and always the gentlemen, settled for second, declaring Maz the stronger rider of the day.

1st    Maz Morley
2nd    Ray Hodgson

Eureka Vets would like to thank our generous sponsors, Hocking Stuart, for their support.

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