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November 19, 2017 – Championships Day, scratch racing – Weatherboard

November 19, 2017 – Championships Day, scratch racing – Weatherboard

EUREKA CYCLING
ROAD RACE

Championships

Ken Heres Bobcat & Backhoe Hire

19 November 2017

EVCC 2017 road race Championships - poster

Weatherboard circuit

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Race morning presented and riders travelled from near and far to contest the Eureka Cycling ROAD RACE Championships.
Glorious sunshine bathed Learmonth, yet a fierce north east breeze was present and the racers knew they were in for a hard day at the office, especially as the temperature was predicted to rise into the 20’s.

Much conjecture over who would race each division was had during the week…rumours had spread that certain riders would not be present…others issued challenges to their nemesis….alliances were formed…social media fuelled speculation and various scenarios were discussed.

At the sign in desk the numbers grew for the Championship race and the Division 2 race, yet entries were light for the Division 3 race.
The officials planned the day, the marshals collected their gear, the kitchen prepared the food, the riders warmed up…the stage was set…three championship races run concurrently…three stories to be told…

Division 3

Consisting of just three riders – John Faulkner, Graeme Parker and Rob Young – the Division 3 championship race was over 50 kilometres and the wind would have much to say about who would survive.

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A silent gentleman’s agreement was had and the trio set off to engage the circuit.  Work together, defeat the circuit, sprint for the prize, may the best man win.

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Faulkner lasted for 35 kilometres before the elastic broke, leaving just Parker and Young out on the road.  Swapping turns, yet being wary not to over exert, the cat and mouse began.
Whilst Faulkner pulled up at 40 km and put the cue in the rack – so to speak – Parker and Young started the mind games.  Parker surged down Weatherboard road towards the chicane and attempted to unsettle Young, yet the challenge was matched.

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A sprint would decide the medals and each was wary not to give anything away.

Through the final turn and just 1500 metres to decide the champion.  Onto the hill and they raced side by side, over the crest and Parker edged just a little ahead then unleashed his sprint.  A blink of an eye and the contest is over, Parker raced away to the win and Young crossed a few seconds later, gallant as ever.

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Result Division 3 Championship, 50 km:
1st – Graeme Parker
2nd – Robert Young

Division 2

The 60 kilometres race saw one of the larger fields ever assembled to contest for the Division 2 Championship medals.  A few riders were backing up after competing in the Misery 100 race staged by Ballarat Sebastopol CC on the previous day.  Others had set their sights on the event weeks before and planned meticulously for the event and yet others had emerged from the veritable cycling wilderness to compete or literally through their hand up to race in a higher grade…
At the start line thirteen amassed – Jim Burzacott, Terry Collie, James Gretton, Jason Hendry, Jeremy Humber, Jude Jonasson, James Knipe, Kevin Lee, Phil McLennan, Roger McMillan, Bob Morley, Brian Ure and Dan Whelan – then set off in search of victory.

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The wind decided much of the day’s play as riders jockeyed for wheels and hiding in the pack was a much desired tactic.  Early in the race the likes of Whelan, Humber, Knipe and Burzacott made much of the running.
Not many attacks would ensue, for the plan was to reduce the numbers by attrition.  Stay in the gutter and keep the pace strong…  McLennan was an early casualty and others were seen to yoyo off the back as the halfway mark approached.

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Rarely on the front at this early stage, yet always within striking distance were the experienced Collie, Morley and Gretton.  Others remained hidden, yet ready to chase as required.
The race wore on, yet the dozen remained intact and bar for sporadic quickenings through the chicane the race was nullified to the point that a sprint finish seemed inevitable.  McMillan had placed himself comfortably in the rear half of the field and noted how easy Ure was coping with the race.  This was a man to follow!

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The bell lap and by now the stronger riders were worried that to attack would leave them exposed to those whom had stayed relatively hidden throughout proceedings.

Ure casually rode off the front over Weatherboard and opened a small gap down towards the chicane.  Gretton (who is at one with gravity) followed and crossed the space to Ure who was now in full fledged attack mode.  They quickly opened the lead to over 200 metres.  Ure powered through the final turn with Gretton tucked in behind.  A quick glimpse over his shoulder gave him the confidence to launch early on the climb.  Be damned if there s a hill in the way!
The pack rounded the turn and riders jumped from wheel to wheel as they watched Ure and Gretton commence the climb – then in a moment Gretton has lost contact and Ure races away.  Could they close to Gretton?

Ure crested the Hendersons Road hill and has a clear margin.  The pack charge past Gretton on the climb and crest the hill.  Lungs and legs are bursting yet medals can be won and Ure is just ahead and racing to the line to claim victory.
McMillan has exploded out of the pack and races to second a few lengths ahead of Humber.  Morley appears to have fourth place sewn up until Collie ducks around and grabs it on the line.

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Result Division 2 Championship, 60 km:
1st – Brian Ure
2nd – Roger McMillan
3rd – Jeremy Humber
4th – Terry Collie
5th – Bob Morley

Championship Race

The feature event of the day was the Championship Race to decide whom would be crowned 2017 Club Champion and earn the right to wear the blue dossard emblazoned with the white phoenix during season 2018.
Sixteen of Eureka’s fastest riders signed on to ride in one of the largest fields yet assembled for the Championship race, almost half of them had ridden the Misery 100 the day before…would that be a factor?

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A veritable who’s who of Eureka riders mounted for the fray – defending champion Greg Ley, Matt Ayres, Jason Birch, Matt Bowman, Bob Braszell, Stuart Brien, Rick Calvert, Peter Canny, Tim Canny, Peter Gunston, Craig Lee, Paul Pickersgill, Tony MIrabella, Rob Phillips, Brendan Schiemer and Richard Taylor – listened to the race referee’s instructions then set out in pursuit of glory…

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The early laps were fast and Braszell and Phillips soon found themselves a tad off the pace.  Pickersgill, Calvert, Peter Canny and Gunston were also stretched and soon enough the field had been reduced to ten.  The dropped riders fought on in their ones and twos…sometimes closing the gap to the riders ahead, then watching the gap drift further apart and never rejoining.

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The race for the ten remaining riders wore on.  No major attacks, yet plenty of pace and stretching of the elastic bands.  Seemingly from nowhere Tim Canny made an attack heading up Avenue Road with just under 30 kilometres remaining.  Timed to perfection – at the top of a rise and just as the road turns due north – Canny’s effort utilised the marginal cross headwind to maximise his effort and open a space.
The others looked left and right with no-one willing to commit to lead the chase.

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Out of the Avenue and Canny had not increased his margin, yet the bunch were not working to chase him down.  No one wanted to over exert with so far left to race.  Canny meanwhile was watching his watts as he crested Weatherboard.  He needed to conserve his effort with the tail wind without conceding too much ground.  Through the chicane and his lead is around 400 metres.  Birch leads the chase and with dare has shaved a few lengths off the gap as the bunch fly through.  He looks over his shoulder and realises he is in no mans land, the bunch has sat up…is the chase over already?
With barely a hint of organisation the “chase” bunch has been reduced to nine individuals intending to just survive.

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Over the Hendersons Road climb and they pass through the finish line with two laps remaining.  Canny is already heading up the Avenue, though with some teamwork they could possibly bring him back.
Survival trumps teamwork…they head up the Avenue and watch the distant Canny blend into the sea of greenery.

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Canny is racing away to possibly his first win in the Club Championship.  He watches the power meter and he remembers to drink.  The gap has been made, now to press the issue!  The bunch is no longer chasing.  They have consigned themselves to racing for the minor placings and a race within the race has developed.
One by one, individuals surge or make a short attack, all with the aim of wearing opponents down and it works as Bowman finds himself off the back.  Brien uses his skills to open a gap through the chicane.  The bunch respond and bring him back by the climb in Hendersons Road.  They crest the rise, receive the bell lap and have just ten kilometres to stake a claim on a medal.

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Mirabella is quite active over the next five kilometres – surging, easing, then surging again.  He has riders on their absolute limits, but they keep clawing back.

Ahead and Canny is time trialling his way to yet another famous victory.  The slightest of hiccups as he receives a red flag for a vehicle at the base of weatherboard – then away he goes again.  His gap is measurable in minutes…

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Canny sweeps through the final bend when the bunch sweep through the chicane.  He takes the final ascent with ease and cruises to the finish where he is greeted by much applause – all hail the new Club Champion.

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The bunch take the final turn.  No-one wants to play their cards too early.  The sprinters are happy to be towed up the hill, but the slow twitch riders need to stretch it out into a grind.
Ley goes first early on the hill.  Lee is on his wheel in a flash and Birch is next.  Mirabella draws alongside Birch as they all overtake Ley.
Over the hill and Lee kicks, Birch can’t respond immediately but they have gapped everyone else.  Lee holds his gap to the line and claims second ahead of Birch.  Ayres rallies late to come through in fourth with Brien close behind in fifth.

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Championship race results, 70 km:
1st – Tim Canny
2nd – Craig Lee
3rd – Jason Birch
4th – Matt Ayres
5th – Stuart Brien

Thank you to all who made the day a success – referees, marshals, kitchen, spectators and of course the riders.

Photos L-R:

Tim Canny unpinning the Phoenix dossard from Greg Ley’s (Club Champion 2016) jersey.
Greg and Tim hamming up the handover of the dossard.
The Champions – Brian Ure (Division 2), Tim Canny (Club Champion), Graeme Parker (Division 3)

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November 12, 2017 – Mount Beckworth, 54 km scratch racing

November 12, 2017 – Mount Beckworth, 54 km scratch racing

Praise the Sunshine – 12 November 2017

Scratch racing

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Mount Beckworth circuit – 54 km

Glorious sunshine and a light breeze made for brilliant racing conditions at Learmonth.  Graded racing gave riders an opportunity to put the finishing touches on their preparation for the Club Road Race Championships which were being staged the following weekend.

Division 4

Michael Lynch dusted off his steed, donned the lycra and made his long awaited return to racing.  Well it was more like a training ride as Michael “raced” solo around the Windmill circuit for a few laps.

Division 3

John Faulkner, Graeme Parker and Robert Young comprised Division 3 today and a hearty hit out was had by all.  A team time trial was the order of the day and for the most part they stayed close together.

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The long climb up the lower slopes of Mount Beckworth stretched the field out with Parker scooting away, Faulkner trailing off the back and Young between them in no man’s land.

They regrouped on the long downhill section after the turnaround and resumed their team time trial back to Learmonth.
The finish was highly exciting affair as the three fanned out and raced head to head down to the flag.  Faulkner edged ahead in the final metres and held on for a courageous win.

Results:
1st – John Faulkner
2nd – Graeme Parker
3rd – Robert Young

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Division 2

The largest field of the day provided some interesting discussion points as the eclectic bunch used the race to size each other up ahead of the Championships next weekend.  Bob Braszell, James Gretton, Jeremy Humber, James Knipe, Peter Livitsanis, Roger McMillan, Bob Morley, Brian Ure and Dan Whelan provided some hints as to what we can expect to see next Sunday.

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Early in the race the group settled into a steady rhythm and rotated turns evenly.  Then the word went out that it was a Scratch race and not a handicap.  Soon after the shenanigans commenced and Ure was at the forefront.  He opened a gap through Coghills Creek which had riders scrambling for wheels.  Morley was keen to regain control and with Knipe they quickly reigned in the loose cannon.
Unfortunately the surging caused McMillan to start yo-yoing off the back and he was jettisoned not long after.  Livitsanis, Humber and Whelan rolled onto the front of the bunch as the road turned upwards.  Morley kept a good position tucked in behind. Gretton was starting to feel the heat of the day and Braszell seemed to be coping easily and without expending too much energy.

McMillan appeared on the back of the bunch after hitching a ride with Division 1, however he was off the back again passing the Glendaurel CFA shed.
Gretton was starting to lose contact as the bunch neared the top of the climb.  The turnaround point was closer to the crest of the hill today and Gretton was able to rejoin on the descent.

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Back through Coghills Creek and Livitsanis, Whelan and Humber were still present at the front of the pack trying to stretch everyone out in a true staying test – rather than make it a sit and sprint.

Into Donovans Road and eight riders were still present.  No one could get away up the rise and after all that effort the race would be decided by a sprint after all.

Knipe opened up his sprint from a long way out with Livitsanis close behind.  Are sprinted through the pack and Humber responded.  They swept to the lead and opened a small margin.  Morley and Braszell emerged out of the pack, however they were racing for third as Ure and Humber match raced to the flag.  Ure taking the hard fought victory.  Morley and Braszell unable to be split by the naked eye.

Results:
1st – Brian Ure
2nd – Jeremy Humber
3rd deadheat – Bob Braszell, Bob Morley
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Division 1

Gasps aplenty as the Division 1 riders realised they were going up against Tim Canny.  Some discussion as to how this race could be anything than a “benefit for Tim” and the protagonists had soon talked him into giving them a head start!  Canny was keen to oblige as he is after hard racing in preparation for the upcoming Tour Of Bright.
And so, what was listed as a Scratch race had just become a virtual handicap race.  One versus Six.  Time gap 4 minutes.  Distance 54 kilometres.  Seems fair!

Steve Biram, Stuart Brien, Rick Calvert, Peter Canny, Paul Pickersgill and Brendan Schiemer set off and quickly got into prefect rotations.
After what seemed an eternity, the younger Canny set off in pursuit.  At the end of the lap of Windmill he had taken over 90 seconds out of the gap.
Up ahead and the two big powerhouses Pickersgill and Brien started taking longer turns and stretching the limits of the group.  Biram was hanging on for dear life and Canny, Calvert and Schiemer were rotating through in between gasps for air.

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The younger Canny kept his power output around 330 watts and gradually ate away at the time gap, however with road curving road and the dips and crests he could never see his prey up ahead.  That prey was led up the hill by Schiemer as the lightweight rider showed his liking for all things upwards.  Calvert and Canny both enjoyed the slight easing in pace and were able to match it with Brien and Pickersgill.  Somehow, Biram was still hanging on.
Onto the steeper part of the climb and Schiemer started to roll away from the pack.  He was dangling a carrot and trying to tempt someone else out to play, alas there were no takers so he allowed the bunch to regroup after the turnaround.  And there was Tim, not that far behind…

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Back through Coghills Creek and there is still a big chance that the Six can hold off the One.  Calvert is struggling and Biram is coaching him through the pain.
Behind them young Canny is coming, but is he coming fast enough?
Onto the Windmill circuit and there is still a gap.  It’s unlikely that Tim can catch them, yet the bunch still swap turns.  Over the crest and the games commence.
No one wants to be on the front so Biram comes through and urges the others to follow.  Biram pushed for 600 metres, it’s the least he can do after being towed around the circuit.
Nearing the sprint point and the others are raring to go.  Brien goes first and Schiemer follows quickly grabbing the lead and holding it to the line for the first “disc brake” victory at Eureka.  Five cross the line in a blur, Biram is only 15 seconds behind and Tim crosses fifteen seconds after that.

Results:
1st – Brendan Schiemer
2nd – Stuart Brien
3rd – Peter Canny

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November 5, 2017 – Ron Rivette Memorial – handicap at Balliang, 53 km

November 5, 2017 – Ron Rivette Memorial – handicap at Balliang, 53 km

His Royal Speediness – 5 November 2017

Ron Rivette Memorial
Handicap

Balliang Hall – Granite Road circuit – 53 km

EVCC Ron Rivette 2017 poster

A day to remember our mates who don’t ride with us anymore – Ron Rivette and Craig Fromhold.
We are poorer for having lost our mates who loved cycling so much and that is why we are aligning ourselves with RU OK? 
A conversation could change life.

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A field of 22 lined up for the fourth edition of the Ron Rivette Memorial on Sunday morning at the Balliang Hall.  The sun occasionally peaked out from behind the clouds and even though the threat of rain had passed a cool south easterly breeze was starting to intensify and so many riders kept their layers on when the race commenced.
Only the brave would wear short sleeves…or a skinsuit…

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Eastern Vets rider Brian Farrell was the first away, solo at 28 minutes.  It was a long wait until the 14 minute group received instructions from race referee Terry Collie.
Reigning champion Roger McMillan was joined by James Gretton (2nd in 2016), James Burzacott, Louis Nuspan and new rider Jason Hendry.  To be fair, we don’t see Louis all that often, so he is a quasi new rider.  It would be interesting to see how this group of experienced and novice racers would fair out on the testing circuit.

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Shortly afterwards the 11 minute group set off.  The regular grouping of Bob Morley, Peter Livitsanis, Dan Whelan and Kevin Lee are well versed in racing together, yet were under no illusions how difficult it would to hold off the rampaging hordes.
Another group of mixed ability and race craft set off at 6:30 minutes.  Local riders aplenty in this group with Grant Dawson out for his long awaited return.  Joining him for the fray was Steve Biram donning a skinsuit and James Knipe who lives close enough to use the Balliang roads as his training grounds.  Mark O’Callaghan, Jeremy Humber and another relatively newbie – Peter Gunston – rounded out the bunch.

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Second Scratch were prepared to be the chopping block.  On a flat course this group would revel with their powerful engines, however the Granite Road climbs made the 2:30 minute mark seem tiny.  That said, it was still six riders who regularly feature in A Grade and have a swag of Fastest Times between them.  Local riders Matt Ayres, Richard Taylor and semi local Matt Bowman were joined by the equally talented Rick Calvert, Paul Pickersgill and Stuart Brien.

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Scratch was the Tim Canny and Tony Mirabella pairing who have wreaked so much havoc this season.  Tim was fresh and ready to fire, however Tony was predicting pre-race that he was only running at 85 %.  This didn’t stop the punters coming for Canny though.  His overnight odds (3-1) had been slashed to evens once the handicap board was made public, yet still they wanted more…

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Out on course and Brian Farrell was steadily losing ground to the 14 minute group which so far was staying together.  The rolling hills through Staughton Vale tested new rider Hendry and it was already evident that McMillan and Burzacott were both on a flyer.  Gretton was making sure the group stayed together.  Those rolling hills caused issues for the next two groups with both losing riders.

The 11 minute group saw Morley lose contact and the 6:30 group surprisingly had Knipe and O’Callaghan in trouble.
Second Scratch were holding strong with Ayres and Brien pouring on the pace.  The hills provided some relief for Calvert who excelled whilst his more muscled counterparts were slowed by the inclines.
Scratch were already closing fast on the riders ahead and had taken close to a minute off them in the first 15 kilometres.

Onto the steep Granite Road climb and the 14 minute group had the race lead.  Burzacott and McMillan were controlled as they ascended the mount.  Nuspan and Hendry were doing well to remain in contact and Gretton was making sure no-one was shelled.

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Not far behind the 11 minute group had taken big chunks of time out of the leaders.  Whelan flew up the climb like a gazelle, Livitsanis was dancing on his pedals and Lee was cussing the upsloping bitumen.  Farrell wove his way up the climb and behind him was Morley looking none too happy with the situation.

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The 6:30 minute group were next up the climb with Dawson on the front tapping out a steady rhythm with Gunston and Humber in tight order.  Biram struggled with the steep section, yet only lost a few lengths before the crest.  Knipe and O’Callaghan had lost a few minutes and had Second Scratch breathing down their necks – though Bowman was falling off the back, so Calvert and Pickersgill controlled the climb to ensure he could latch back on for the downhill.

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Barely a minute later and Scratch started the climb.  Canny was cruising up the climb, however the high speed chase has taken its toll on Mirabella who waved him on “Go forth young man and find your worth”.  And he does!

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The eastward downhill section of Granite Road is long and fast.  Most riders topped 60 kph as they hurtled down towards the turnaround.  Once at the base of the hill the road tilts upwards slightly and the riders press forward to the U turn which always seems to be either just around this bend, or just over that rise.  Finally the riders turn and can see what advantage they have over the chasers.

McMillan and Burzacott were the first around the cone with Nuspan and Hendry close behind.  A short gap to Gretton but then Whelan and company come into view.  Dawson and his mob aren’t far behind and there is Second Scratch and Canny not far behind.
The field is starting to compress…

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McMillan and Burzacott are flying up the same hill they seemingly just descended.  The south east breeze has picked up and is worth a gear or two on the 3 to 4 % grade of the lower section.  The first of two steps kicks the road up to 8 % yet and is quickly followed by the second step where the road kicks up to 12 %.  Nuspan and Hendry both lose touch.  Gretton is in no mans land and Whelan has ridden away from Livitsanis and Lee.

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The 6:30 minute group has blown apart in the chase with Gunston riding clear of Dawson.  Biram is pacing himself with Humber barely hanging on.
Canny has swept past Second Scratch.  Calvert and Pickersgill turn themselves inside out to hang on.  Calvert lasts longest but Canny crests the hill with clear space behind.  Taylor and Brien are chasing hard – separately.  Ayres and Bowman are just off the back as the glimmer of hope to rejoin is slowly extinguished.

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McMillan races towards Staughton Vale and is imagining the glory of back to back victories.  Burzacott is a strong partner and they can’t see anyone behind as they charge down the weaving rolling hills.  Gunston is the nearest danger having caught and dispatched Whelan.  Biram is putting his time trialling ability to work with Dawson and they eventually rejoin Gunston.  Canny is next on the road.
Calvert and Pickersgill have united in their chase.  Behind them Brien whistles to Taylor who is a few metres ahead.  Taylor eases and they join forces.

Through Staughton Vale and the road sweeps east towards the Balliang Hall.  McMillan and Burzacott hold a short lead over Canny.
Three small groups have formed behind…Gretton has tacked onto Gunston, Biram and Dawson.  Calvert and Pickersgill have picked up Whelan, Livitsanis and Hendry.  Brien and Taylor are closing and all three groups come together with twelve kilometres remaining.

Canny has pounced on the leaders.  McMillan has latched on – Burzacott missed the boat.

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Down to the finish line and the bell rings out for one “square” lap…10 kilometres!  McMillan is glued to Canny’s wheel as they turn north.
Burzacott is steadily losing ground and the eleven man chase group receives the bell just three hundred metres back.

The Second Scratch riders aren’t happy with all the passengers they have picked up.  Calvert throws caution to the wind accelerates into the turn.  Brien kicks as they straighten and riders are scrambling for wheels.  A few don’t have the leg speed and fall off the back.
Calvert and Brien repeat the dose at the next corner.  Pickersgill and Taylor give support and they have dropped all bar Biram and Gunston.

Four kilometres remaining and Canny takes the second last turn at speed.  His rear wheel skips, slips then grips.  McMillan isn’t quite as game and finally he has lost the wheel.
The chase group are dawdling and just rolling through, some not even that.  McMillan is just up the road and they are gaining, but not quick enough.  Brien, Calvert and Taylor try to wind the pace up higher.  There is not so much reluctance to help as an inability to help.
Second place is just up the road – chase hard, chase now!

Into the home straight and Canny is completing his virtual victory lap, having been in the lead for the last eleven kilometres.
Down to the flag and Canny has smashed this one completely out of the park with quite possibly his best performance with Eureka yet!

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McMillan still holds down second, though the headwind in the home straight is a lot tougher when riding solo.  He looks to his left and can see the chasers coming up to the turn – his margin is slim.
300 metres to the finish line and McMillan is still fifty metres ahead.  Brien and Taylor are leading the chase, burying themselves and getting closer to McMillan with every stroke.
100 hundred metres to the line and he is still clear.  Brien and Taylor are fading, Biram comes through down the centre of the road and Gunston is sprinting out wider.

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50 metres from the line and they surge past McMillan.  Gunston edges ahead of Biram for second, Pickersgill a length back in fourth, Taylor and Brien a blur, then the courageous McMillan ahead of Calvert who had been blocked behind a wall of riders in the sprint.

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Results:
1st – Tim Canny (Scratch)
2nd – Peter Gunston (6:30 min)
3rd – Steve Biram (6:30 min)
4th – Paul Pickersgill (2:30 min)
5th – Richard Taylor (2:30 min)
Fastest Time: Tim Canny (Scratch) in 1h 21m 45s, ave. 38.7 kph

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Balliang circuit

October 22, 2017 – Coghills Creek, 63 km handicap

October 22, 2017 – Coghills Creek, 63 km handicap

Gretton’s Big Statement – 22 October 2017

Club Handicap

Coghills Creek circuit – 63 km

WattSpeed001

The Ralph Jones Equation

F= CdA p [v^2/2]

where: 
F = Aerodynamic drag force in Newtons.
p = Air density in kg/m3 (typically 1.225kg in the “standard atmosphere” at sea level) 
v = Velocity (metres/second). Let’s say 10.28 which is 23mph

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Ralph Jones (aka James Gretton) made the 63 kilometre handicap around the Coghills Creek circuit his own today, racing away in a strong solo effort to an emphatic win.
Riders arrived to find misty rain sweeping across Learmonth and a southerly wind which was increasing.  By race start time the threat of rain had passed along with a noticeable rise in temperature.

John Faulkner (Limit) led out the field on his lonesome at 27 minutes.  Terry Collie (also riding in a solo capacity) was next away at 21 minutes.

It was a long wait until the first actual bunch of riders set off at 14 minutes, where handicapper Peter Livitsanis slotted himself in with Danny Whelan, James Gretton, James Knipe, Kevin Lee and regular visitor Noel Said (Northern Cycling).

The Second Scratch (3 min) group set off a whopping 11 minutes later with Mark O’Callaghan, Rick Calvert, Richard Taylor, Matt Ayres and Stuart Brien joining the “in form” Peter Canny.

Last away was the Scratch group led by Club Champion Greg Ley.  Late arrival Jim Crumpler joined the ranks which also included Tony Mirabella, Dean Wells, Craig Lee and Paul Pickersgill.

With twenty riders out on course the key to victory in the windy conditions appeared to be as simple as “the bunch who works together wins”, especially with nine of the riders backing up after racing with sister club Ballarat Sebastopol the previous day.
Riding solo did not augur well for the soloists John Faulkner and Terry Collie.  Faulkner lasted two laps before retiring and Collie was swept aside by every group before also retiring.  The three groups of six riders faired much better out on course, however each suffered early casualties.
Richard Taylor (3 min) was the first rider out after he hit a pot hole and flatted just nine kilometres into the race.
Scratch lost Jim Crumpler after their frenetic chase and surging split the group through Coghills Creek.
The 14 minute group also lost a rider when Peter Livitsanis flatted on the first lap early in Donovans Road.

A consistent theme with each of the (now) five man groups, was that one or two riders in the groups were doing the lion’s share of the work, maybe even dominating… Whelan and Gretton led the charge for the 14 minute group, Ayres and Brien were powering the 3 minute group and Mirabella was clearly above the pack in Scratch.
Cohesive turns were important for a group’s survival and some were doing it better than others!

It was on the second lap that first Collie, then Faulkner were rounded up by the hordes.  The 3 minute group found themselves another man down after O’Callaghan trailed off heading up past the quarry.  The remaining four riders kept their rotations orderly – rolling turns with the tailwind and track turns into the head wind.
Having only made up 30 seconds on the first lap, Scratch finally found their mojo and started to work well together.  They would take another 40 seconds on this lap, however they lost Pickersgill after the hairpin bend at the top end of the circuit.
Now in the race lead, the 14 minute group were working as best they could with the varying physiques they had available and they couldn’t see anyone behind.

Onto the third and final lap and the 14 minute group started to dream big.  Knipe lost contact heading past the quarry.  The remaining four rallied, knowing that the tailwind to Coghills Creek could make all the difference.
The 3 minute group had the race leaders in their sites, however the gap was still large and would require an even greater effort to make the catch.
Scratch were still taking time out of those ahead as they raced up the hill on the south side of the circuit, however disaster soon struck when Mirabella’s power drew him away from the group and a fifty metre gap quickly opened.  All cohesion was gone as the remnants of Scratch struggled just to try and catch up with Mirabella again.

At the head of the race and the 14 minute group realised they had a huge chance of causing a boilover.  The next bunch on the road was back at the bridge near Blowhard – over one kilometre behind.
‘But the hour cometh, and now is’.
Gretton gave a cry of “let’s go” and powered to the front with Whelan, Said and Lee all scrambling for his wheel.

The 3 minute group could barely make out the leaders on the horizon.  They looked behind and struggled to see anyone.  Beating Scratch home would be a victory in itself!

Scratch were coming, however Mirabella was still out on his own.  The others finally linked back up racing through Blowhard.
The gap to the bunch ahead was under two minutes, so the catch is unlikely and they are now just racing for Fastest Time.  Wells was shelled on the next climb and just three remained.

Gretton was still on the front as the race leaders are neared Coghills Creek.  He turned around to see that he has dropped his bunch.
With ten kilometres to race he makes the decision to GO!  Whelan, Said and Kevin Lee have watched the all powerful Gretton ride away from them.
Maybe they could still claim all the minor placings if the headwind after the hairpin doesn’t rip them apart…but maybe, their bell has tolled.

Ayres, Brien, Calvert and Canny still worked their turns.  They didn’t know the lead group had started to disintegrate, but they did know that Scratch was still a long way behind.  No further encouragement needed!

Scratch raced through Coghills Creek and Craig Lee was off the back, leaving just Mirabella and Ley to continue the chase.

Gretton was through the chicane and onto Donovans Road for the final time.  He batts away the headwind and focuses on the now.
His former cohorts have blown apart and are strung out in their own battles.  Second Scratch catch Knipe who has continued on after being dropped back at the quarry – he offers that they still have a chance.
Soon after and Ayres bids his mates adiue and eases off the back – stuffed!  Brien, Calvert and Canny continue on, they catch and drop Whelan.  Lee is the next rider up the road.  He cannily jumps onto the 3 minute express as it flies past.  They see the next rider ahead (Said), however they don’t realise Gretton is charging towards a famous victory.  In fact, they don’t even realise they are now racing for a minor placing.

Mirabella and Ley are still chasing, however they are losing their hard fought time over the Second Scratch group.  Fastest Time should be safe though…shouldn’t it?

Gretton is over the final hill.  Two kilometres of fun as he roars down to the finish line with songs of victory sounding in his mind.  One last look over his shoulder and he knows he is home.  “Come ON!”
And, the flag.

Said comes through in second place.  Brien and company are still rotating turns and don’t even really bother to sprint as they near the line.
Brien takes third and Canny is fourth.  Kevin Lee knows he can grab a placing and he whips around Calvert at the line to claim fifth.

Mirabella and Ley aren’t far away.  They are now foxing each other in the run to the line for Fastest Time.
Unbeknownst to the pair the stopwatch has counted on so far that they may even have fallen in arrears.  Ley makes a late dive and claims a victory over Mirabella.

*A recheck of the times in the clubrooms eventually shows that Stu Brien from the 3 minute group has ridden the Fastest Time on this day.

Race Results:
1st – James Gretton (14 minutes)
2nd – Noel Said (14 minutes)
3rd – Stuart Brien (3 minutes)
4th – Peter Canny (3 minutes)
5th – Kevin Lee (14 minutes)
Fastest Time – Stuart Brien (3 minutes) in 1h 41m 10s, ave. 37.0 kph

Photo (L-R): A happy Second Scratch group rejoice in beating the formidable Scratch bunch home…

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