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Braszell Trophy Handicap

Braszell Trophy Handicap

Graeme Parker outclassed a determined Gary Blood in the final sprint to secure a handsome and popular win over the challenging 60kms course on the Weatherboard circuit. Graeme rode impressively to stay clear of a strong field on a windy day, particularly the back half of the race when he and Gary rode as a solo pair.

 

Gary Blood continues to build his legend, with a heroic display of bloody mindedness. After having his bike stolen earlier in the week, he arrived on the start line with a borrowed bike he’d never really ridden before, and borrowed kit. Not confident with the gears he decided not to bother with them, he banged it into the biggest chain snapping gear he could turn and rode the whole race in that gear. Into every corner the bunch left him behind and out of every corner he ground his way back on.

 

Shirley Hetherington and Greg Curnow opened proceedings on a fine but windy day, the pair had work to do to stay clear of the 30 rider field and they rode well early, maintaining most of their advantage for the first lap. After which the chasing bunch of Graeme Parker, Gary Blood, Terry Collie and Jacinta Welch gained ground rapidly, particularly into the wind along the Avenue. With the catch the wind soon took its toll and both Terry and Jacinta retired from the race and Graeme and Gary went clear. Shirley stuck it out and secured the prize for first women rider home – after many years of waiting, that trophy Charlie Braszell had promised her finally arrived.

 

The middle markers had mixed results. The 12 minute bunch of Robbie Kinna, Albie Govan, Craig Lightfoot, Kevin Lee and Rob Parker had the firepower on paper and almost grabbed the race in the final few kms. Craig lead Albie up the final hill on Hendersons Road in an attempt to get across to the leaders who were now tantalisingly close. Albie thanked Craig on the way passed and sprinted for third. A great podium result for Albie who had made a special promise to improve on his 8th place in this race last year.

 

The 17 minute bunch included the in-form riders of Ron Larkin, Matt Ritchie and Terry Constable but they needed to catch Graeme’s bunch before being caught themselves. This proved a bridge too far and they were left to bite their handlebars for as long as they could as the backmarkers caught up with them, Terry continuing his run of good form to hang on for a respectable top 10 finish.

 

The most aggressive ride of the day went to Dave Peters in the 9 minute bunch of himself, Peter Livitsanis, Bob Morley, John Creek and Ken Heres. Dave was going through hard and pulling big turns into the wind. A fast start saw the end of Ken and an attack up the hill on the third lap put Bob into the red. John didn’t miss a turn and was showing a rapid improvement from the last race. A flat on the fourth lap ruined Peter’s chances, borrowing Ken’s front wheel he completed the race in last place with only the marshals packing up the circuit for company. Now down to just John and Dave it was only a matter of time before the backmarkers were on them. Dave managed to hang onto scratch for half a lap but his earlier exploits finally took their toll and he rolled home with the other casualties.

 

Eureka’s heavy-hitters of Rod Hetherington, Darren Terry, Rob Phillips, Richard Taylor and Dean Griffin made up the second scratch bunch. Hammering bottom bracket smashing gears, they managed to hold off scratch until late in the race. The lightly raced Richard managed to go with the scratch train when it ploughed through them with 1.5 laps to go.

 

One of the strongest scratch groups of the year watched undaunted as everyone else charged out of the start gate, and a truly professional exhibition of racing saw them almost catch the front of the race. Guy Falla got the group up to attack speed early on the first climb, Tony Mirabella on his wheel and Phil Cartledge, Shane Cody and Peter Keil holding. The bunch settled down to work and methodically chipped away at the handicap with the windy Avenue and Weatherboard Road legs working to the advantage of these strong riders. Into lap 5 they had rolled up second scratch and the remnants of the 9 minute group and strung them out downhill and downwind towards Burrumbete, with very few surviving the penultimate climb. On the final turn Tony demonstrated the benefit of his pre-Melbourne/Ballarat training and gapped the field, he maintained his advantage over the hill and sprinted home for fastest time.

 

Special thanks to the Braszell family for sponsoring a great race and encouraging us veterans to race in the middle of a cold Ballarat winter.

 

Results

1st            Graeme Parker (21 minutes)

2nd            Gary Blood (21 minutes)

3rd            Albie Govan (12 minutes)

4th            Craig Lightfoot (12 minutes)

5th            Rob Kinna (12 minutes)

6th            Terry Constable (17 minutes)

7th            Kevin Lee (12 minutes)

8th            Tony Mirabella (Scratch)

9th            Shane Cody (Scratch)

10th             Phil Cartledge (Scratch)

 

Fastest Time                        Tony Mirabella

First Woman                        Shirley Hetherington

Most Aggressive            Dave Peters

Matt Ritchie, Takes Victory

Matt Ritchie took out his first handicap race with an impressive sprint in a bunch finish. Ritchie was part of bunch of seven that had a 15 minute advantage over Scratch. There was plenty of talent in the 15 minute bunch and they were lumped together because most of the “inquiries” tend to come from this group.

Shirley Hetherington and big John Faulkner were first away with a 21 minute break over scratch. Faulkner didn’t last long and his previously injured back was giving him trouble. He pulled out and Shirley kept going, keeping her personal average up around the 30kpm mark.

The Ritchie bunch was next away and it included Graeme Parker, Ron Larkin, Garry Blood Terry Collie and the two, in form girls, Mandy and Jacinta.

They had a 5 minute break over Kevin Lee, Craig Lightfoot, and Rob Parker.

Lightfoot turned up looking like an unshaven vagrant in an attempt to gain a soft mark. It worked like a treat, and the ten minute bunch suited him just fine.

Two minutes behind them was the 8 minute bunch led by the maestro time trialler John Rhook. It was a comeback ride for Rhook as he has had a running hiatus. He was joined by Mal ”What’s he going to do this week” Rock, Bob Morley and the rangy John Creek.

The question was soon answered as the bunch crested the first hill and Mal was off the back and away for another solo ride. The 90 kms he did the day before certainly didn’t help. But ,oh well, winning the coffee shop sprint, comes with training bunch kudos.

Rhook’s running hasn’t hurt his aerobic capacity and his co- riders got a good look at the Saxo Bank sign on his rear end as he dropped into position and put in some long turns on the front. This bunch had to catch the Lightfoot bunch in front before being caught by Bob Braszell Dean Griffin and Dave Peters.

This they did on the last lap and then set off after the Ritchie group.

They could see them ahead as they rounded the tough climb into the Avenue. Larkin was showing them the way, as he pulled 20 metres clear on the climb, showing he was clearly in good form.

As the combined bunch approached quickly from behind, Lightfoot lit it up and attacked them with Morley, Rhook and Creek on his wheel. This stirred the pace up considerably and the relaxed serenity of the 15 minute bunch was interrupted.

The tempo lifted and then lifted again when Morley attacked on the Avenue rise to see if they could shed some riders. He made a good break and was soon joined by Lightfoot and together they stormed through the Henderson’s road corner.

The bunch behind was brought back mainly by John Rhook.

The pelaton come back together and Lightfoot wasn’t letting the grass grow under his feet attacked again. And coincidently Morley was on his wheel as if he knew what he was going to do!!

They kept it going and still had a break into the final head wind home straight. But once again it was the generosity of John Rhook brought the field back together.

Just as things settled, Popeye Lee thought he would attack off the front. He opened up a good gap as everyone waited for someone else to chase. Mandy Rhook must have been delirious as she turned to Bob Morley and said “You are not going to let Morley win are you, hang on, you are Bob Morley”!!!

Terry Collie collected the flock, like a good Collie does, and sacrificed his race to take the bunch back up to the muscular Lee.

The group bunched up after the catch was made and were hoping for a short sharp sprint but this changed as Lightfoot attacked 500 out and Ritchie grabbed his wheel and that was the spot to be. Lightfoot faded and Ritchie committed and went for it. He pulled a race winning lead and it was only a matter of who would fill the placings.

Larkin confirmed his good form by finishing strongly taking second. Kevin Lee rode well to take third. Bob Morley and John Creek took out third and fourth respectively,

The 6 minute bunch rode well to be only 200 metres off the winning bunch.

Fastest time was an interesting duel as Phil Cartledge decided that the only way he could beat the mercurial Mirrabella was to continually attacking him 5 kay from home. The only one that didn’t pay a price for that was Mirrabella, as Kiel was shelled and Tony took fastest time by only a couple of lengths from the determined Cartledge.

 

Results

1st Matt Ritchie-15 minutes

2nd-Ron Larkin-15 minutes

3rd-Kevin Lee-10 minutes

4th-Bob Morley-8 Minutes

5th-John Creek-8 minutes

 

Fastest time.

Tony Mirrabella-Scratch

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

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