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Greg’s Great Escape

Greg’s Great Escape

 

Mt Misery Circuit

In an incredible display of unbridled aggression Greg Curnow attacked his bunch 35km out and solo-ed the rest of the race to win his first ever handicap with Eureka by almost a minute. His race strategy was simple and high risk, but sometimes you just have to roll the dice.  Chapeau! Greg.

Greg left the starting line with Shirley Hetherington and Tony Herbert off 21min. At the Addington corner it was clear that Greg was going to climb Mt Misery on his own. Tony and Shirl didn’t see him again (nor did the rest of the field) and retired to ride the race out with the pursuing 14min bunch. Greg stormed ahead, with only the occasional cheers of encouragement from the race marshals for company. Of course when you’re out front you don’t get time checks, rounding the last corner he knew he was clear, but by how much? In a light gear he span up the Weatherboard rise then clicked in the big dog and went for the line with everything he had left. With no-one within coo-ee, he crossed the line with a huge cheeky grin as his victory salute.

The 14 minute bunch of Graeme Parker, Geoff Braszell and Terry “Rustle” Collie worked well together with Ron Larkin, on a come-back ride, having one of those races we all like to forget. The group had caught up with Shirley and Tony and together they kept a good even pace to stay clear of the rest of the field until the last 12 kms, not being caught until Ercildoune Road.

“Every man for themselves” was the cry from the 9 minute bunch of Terry Constable, Gary Blood (first time in single figure bunch) and the big man Scott Denno in his first ride with the club. Pretty difficult to imagine a 3 man bunch strung out any further and still being called a bunch. The chasing 5 minute bunch picked them all up and re-grouped them at Black Bottom Road. Scott dug deep and, after recovering, worked hard on the front of the combined group as did Terry.

Bob Morley was nervous on the start line, beside him was the wilful Peter Livitsanis and behind him was the black steam engine Craig Lightfoot, how long would he last today? John Creek and Brian Lee knew it was going to be a fast start and they weren’t disappointed. Bob didn’t have long to wait, as the bunch rounded the corner at Edmonstons Road, Peter picked it up and Bob’s elastic-band motor exploded, 7km in. Back to second scratch for Bob, to ride the race looking at race numbers, again.

Brian and John were riding well and the group worked hard along Edmonston Road and up Misery to claw back a lot of time. Craig was having a charmed ride, never appearing to tire, he was the main protagonist in shedding riders as the groups ahead were gathered, sorted and dispatched in the crosswind.

Suddenly half way along Ercildoune Road the race came together. After chipping his bunch down to Peter, Terry Constable and Brian Lee, Craig’s bunch hit the Parker bunch hard. Then over their right shoulder Peter Kiel smashed through with the second scratch mob of Darren Terry, Andrew Rushton, Paul Humphrey and Bob “Lazarus” Morley on his tail.

 

Kielly was keen to keep Scratch out of the mix and put in a commanding performance out front, sharing the work with Andrew Rushton who was showing an amazing return to form from last week. Peter Livitsanis went for a mad attack which was as sincere as an air hostess’s smile, and only irritated the riders he was trying to drop – some even laughed.

 

Into the last turn at Weatherboard Road, Ken calls out 2 min 20 to the front of the race. Who the heck is out the front?! And how can they be that far off? The four strongest riders of the day Andrew, Craig, Peter Kiel and Paul Humphrey took advantage of the steep pinch to ride clear, everyone else strung out behind to struggle home as best they could.

 

Of course Greg was already over the line before the sprint for the minor places started. Kielly went first, his surprise attack catching the other three out, he got 20 metres. Then the big diesel Paul and dynamic Andrew clicked into gear to ride across and relegate Peter to fourth, Paul sprinting over Andrew for 2nd. Craig slipping quietly in at the back of the bunch in 5th.

 

Not far behind, Tony Mirabella was steaming home for fastest time. Tony is in red hot form and his Scratch partners of Adam Smith and Phil Cartledge struggled to hang on to him. In fact Phil struggled to even start with a combination of man-flu and poor timekeeping abilities. Despite not being in the best of form, Adam and Phil buried themselves chasing the race resulting in Tony coming in 1.5min behind the winner.

 

Results

1st                           Greg Curnow (21 minutes)

2nd                          Paul Humphrey (2 minutes)

3rd                           Andrew Rushton (2 minutes)

4th                           Peter Kiel (2 minutes)

5th                           Craig Lightfoot (5 minutes)

Fastest Time      Tony Mirabella (Scratch)

It’s a Kinna Magic

It’s a Kinna Magic

Weatherboard Handicap

Resplendent in GreenEdge gear and matching bar tape, the “Mercury-al” Robbie Kinna was on song, staging a courageous raid to register a resounding win and break a three year drought between victories.

In a tour de force, the 9 minute bunch of Robbie Kinna, Malcolm Rock, Brian Lee and Kevin Lee (sporting a bit of rouge on his cheek from an encounter with the magpie) were showing solid form and proved very difficult to pull back, maintaining much of their handicap until the final lap. They clawed back the 7 minutes to the 16 minute bunch of Graeme Parker, Murray Bardwell and Tony Herbert. Graeme in particular rode selflessly to assist Robbie and his merry men in the chase, they soon caught limit. The pace, wind and tiring legs was thinning the combined group, undaunted,

Robbie maintained the rage leaving Greg Curnow with only enough time for one expletive as Killer Kinna smashed past Limit. Graeme Parker gave Robbie a bit of a hand to open up a 60m gap, not waiting around, Robbie said “I Want to Break Free”, and left Graeme, riding the last lap out front by himself. Never “Under Pressure” he crossed the line this weeks “Prince of the Universe”.

Earlier, Limit, off 21 minutes, got affairs under way. The odd couple of Jacinta Welch and Greg Curnow accompanied by new rider Matt Kaess had to contend with windy conditions, an undulating course and the local magpies, it was always going to be a challenge. They were caught early but Jacinta and Greg stayed with the bunch, Jacinta posting a Strava QOM time on the circuit, and Greg attacking late to place 5th.

The 5 green bottles off 6 minutes started as the biggest group and the riders to watch. The rampant Craig Lightfoot and Peter Livitsanis set the pace early with John Creek and Dave Berry not shirking their duties. However the group lost potency as one by one it was reduced. Bob Morley was the first to go, 3km in at the Avenue corner (he did recover and finished the race with second scratch). Down to four green bottles they were making steady inroads into the front groups, then Dave punctured, and John was shelled, leaving two green bottles, Peter and Craig to carry on for the last lap and a half.

On the final lap at the top of Weatherboard Road, Craig and Peter finally caught the combined limit, 9 & 16 minute bunches, with Kinna somewhere up ahead. Malcolm saw the chase pair coming and attacked off the front, as did Greg Curnow. Malcolm was the more successful doing enough over the final climb on Hendersons Road to take 3rd.

At Hendersons corner, Craig had caught and dropped Greg and was on Mal’s tail. Peter overcooked the last corner and put it in the grass. Up and over the hill Craig fought off Mal in a sprint for the line to secure 2nd. Peter recovered, caught Greg on the hill to ride away for 4th.

On paper, second scratch should have rode through the field with ease, on a day tailor made for these gear munching strong men. Darren Terry was back in form, riding a surprisingly disciplined race, and new rider Paul Humphrey displayed some gritty determination to hold Scratch as they came through. However Dave Peters was still hurting from the previous days racing and Andrew Rushton is on the comeback trail and needed the run. With the addition of Bob Morley they took some time out of the 6 minute bunch (what was left of it anyway) but fell a couple of minutes short of the winner.

In the battle for fastest time, the Scratch hardmen, Phil Cartledge and Tony Mirabella, combined to chase the bigger groups up the road, which was always going to be a tough mission. With steely resolve they rattled along picking up and dropping riders that had been dislodged from their original groups. Rounding the last turn for home they could see the field scattered out in ones and twos, but the placegetters were a bridge too far. Fastest time went to Tony Mirabella who finished under 2 minutes behind the winner.

 

Results

1st                            Robbie Kinna (9 minutes)

2nd                           Craig Lightfoot (6 minutes)

3rd                           Malcolm Rock (9 minutes)

4th                           Peter Livitsanis (6 minutes)

5th                           Greg Curnow (21 minutes)

Fastest Time          Tony Mirabella (Scratch)

Eureka Vets Fail Blood test

Hetherington Circuit Handicap

Can he be beaten? For the second week in a row Gary Blood stood on the highest step of the podium, taking gold in yet another dominant display, his bewildered competitors calling for his new bike to be x-rayed suspecting that Dennis Shaw might have slipped a motor in it. Well one thing is definite, he won’t win next week – he’s marshalling a corner.

This week Gary methodically dismantled the limit bunch of Terry Collie, Mandy Rhook, and Matt Ritchie and rode solo for the last lap rolling over the line more than a minute in front of the frantically chasing field.

The rest of the field was assembled as Noah would have intended, the smallest bunches possible – pairs. Chasing the limit foursome off 10 minutes was Terry Constable and Malcolm Rock who was returning from high altitude training in the south of France. While they failed to catch limit, they rode well to stay clear of the chasing pairs until well into the second lap.

Three minutes back, Peter Livitsanis stretched Bob Morley’s elastic in a fast start, the pair settled into a good chasing rhythm and picked up Mal and Terry downwind on Henderson’s road on lap two. Bob sorted out the combined four and got them working to chase limit. They swept up Terry Collie and Mandy, Terry gritted his teeth and jumped on, Mandy wished them well and watched them ride away.

Starting 3.5 minutes in front of Scratch, the pairing of Darren Terry and Richard Taylor got off to a Kamakaze fast start. Darren was determined to smash the race or die trying, Richard was a little more circumspect realising that Darren’s early pace would blow them both up. Richard sat off Darren and waited for the scratch pair of Phil Cartledge and Tony Mirabella. Predictably, Richard, Tony and Phil soon rounded up and then dropped Darren in a pile at the piggery. Richard worked well with Tony and Phil for a lap but didn’t have enough to go with them when Phil called for an extra effort in an attempt to grab the race.

Into the avenue for the last time the Bob Morley four spotted the front of the race disappearing over the rise and they doubled their effort. Rounding the corner out of Henderson’s Road, Terry Collie put in a heroic turn bringing the bunch closer and in sight. It was then that they realised that they were chasing one rider, Matt Ritchie, not two – where was Gary Blood? To compound their anguish, scratch had appeared in the mirror and were bearing down at a murderous pace.

Just before the clubrooms, Tony and Phil blew past, Peter grabbed Tony’s wheel and everyone else hung on for as long as they could. Despite the chasing bunch riding the last couple of kms over 40km/hr, Matt Ritchie had done enough to stay well clear and secured second. Tony jumped Phil and sprinted clear for third and fastest time, Phil taking fourth. Gary Blood? Well he was standing beside his bike at the finish line waiting for us. We look forward to welcoming Gary into the single digit bunches soon.

 

Results

1st                    Gary Blood (14 minutes)

2nd                    Matt Ritchie (14 minutes)

3rd                    Tony Mirabella (Scratch)

4th                    Phil Cartledge (Scratch)

5th                    Peter Livitsanis (7 minutes)

Fastest Time     Tony Mirabella

First, Blood

Windmill Handicap

 Gary “Rambo” Blood, armed and dangerous with a new bike, went one better from his second last week to win on the Windmill circuit, and this week he reckons he did use his gears, at least once.

A small field of 13 starters were spread between scratch and limit off 19 minutes. Gary’s first task was to bridge the 2 minutes to the limit riders by himself. This mission accomplished, he then powered the combined bunch of Gary, Shirley Hetherington, and new racers Tony Herbert and Matt Kaess, which remained unseen until very late in the race. Matt succumbed on the final lap, and Shirley was popped just a km or so from the finish. She hung on desperately to finish third with the marauding backmarkers bearing down on her. But it was Gary and Tony that saw the job through, with the now seasoned veteran Gary taking the final kill.

The rest of the field were roughly arranged in small groups of two or three, good handicapping ensuring that there was less than a minute on the line between the winner and fastest time. The scratch pairing of Phil Cartledge and Guy Falla, shook off tired legs from the previous days ordeal in the Melbourne-Ballarat to methodically round up the field and accelerate to the finish.

First to be collected was the two minute bunch of Rob Phillips, Dean Griffin and Richard Taylor. Both Rob and Richard were able to hang on as Guy wound it up, riding at least two gears larger than anyone else up the back stretch, the ask proving too much for Dean today.

The new foursome of Phillips, Taylor, Falla and Cartledge continued to share the work around and at the Donovans Rd corner for the second time they had picked up the odd couple of Peter Livitsanis and John Creek. John was suffering by then as Livitsanis isn’t much of a sit. The corner marshall, Rod Hetherington, was very amused with the lanky John appearing to try to get as low as he could behind his diminutive partner.

Guy worked up the Donovan’s Rd rise with the field hanging on for what they were worth. Into the last lap, Robbie Kinna and Kevin Lee, appeared on the horizon, providing enough incentive for Falla, Cartledge, Taylor and Phillips to continue to chase. Creek and Livitsanis offering only occasional support, taking the opportunity to recover before the inevitable final onslaught.

Robbie and Kevin rode well to stay clear until the final turn at Coghills Creek, Robbie managed to hang onto the combined scratch bunch as they attacked out of the Donovan’s Road corner to feature in the final sprint. Livitsanis also made this final selection but Creek and Lee got caught out on the corner.

The pace of the bunch diminished somewhat until Shirley was spotted just cresting the top of the final rise. Livitsanis, Taylor and Cartledge still believed in a victory, each trying to lift the pace, Guy, Robbie and Rob were less convinced.

Shirley was coming back to the chasers quickly with Tony and Gary 200m further up the road. Phil was stuck on the front and had no choice but to lead out the sprint. With 250m to go Rob and Robbie attacked instantaneously with Livitsanis and Taylor in pursuit. Rob’s turbo kicked in late and he missed Shirley by less than a wheel.

 

For fastest time Guy had enough left to account for the courageous Phil.

 

 

Results

1st                              Gary Blood (17 minutes)

2nd                              Tony Herbert (19 Minutes)

3rd                              Shirley Hetherington (19 minutes)

4th                              Rob Phillips (2 minutes)

5th                         Peter Livitsanis (6 minutes)

Fastest                        Guy Falla (scratch)

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