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)

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