March 11, 2019 – Eureka Criterium Championships

Eureka Criterium Championships Day – 11 March 2019


Victoria Park criterium circuit, Ballarat


Everything for this day!

“A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.”

- Billie Jean King

The Oscar’s Hotel & Cafe 2019 Criterium Series concluded with thirty riders contesting the four championship events on a cool and overcast day.
Early morning rain left the circuit damp, however the light north breeze aided the drying…

John Creek won the Super Vets Championship over a galant Mal Rock, with Robert Young in the bronze position.  This is the first time the Super Vets have raced for a criterium championship.
In a side note, Creek was the only medal winer from 2018 (Gold in Division 3) to win another medal this year.

Division 3 saw a tactical contest with a close sprint finish deciding the outcome.
New member Geoff Martin took the win just ahead of Peter Livitsanis, with Mark O’Callaghan in third place.

Action aplenty in Division 2 with break-aways during the race.  Everything was brought back as the powerful sprinters weren’t about to let their chance slip.
Ash Burke threw caution to the wind with 3 laps remaining and got away.  Holding strong to take the bell, Burke put in a final supreme effort to lead into the straight with the pack closing fast.
The sprinters started to wind up as Burke began to fade.  Shane Cody was in the perfect position when he launched – but his chain dropped and it was game over.
Up ahead and Burke was pedalling squares in the shadow of the post as Al Cureton and Cam Farrington both jumped from the pack.
Too late, the courageous Burke took the well deserved victory.

The Club Championship race promised much with the likes of Matt Bowman (2019 Victorian State Criterium Champion – Division A), Craig Lee (Eureka Club Criterium Champion 2017/18, Damien Keirl and Tim Canny all signing on for the fray.

The first lap was gentle and allowed everyone to get a good look at the wet tarmac.  Canny launched the first attack of the day on lap 2 and had everyone scrambling for wheels.  This set the scene for the day, with the favourites all competing in their own race whilst virtually ignoring the bit players.

As expected, Bowman provided many attacks.  Less expected was Lee being aggressive throughout the event.
Canny was left to do much of the chasing.  Whilst Keirl played a cool hand and marked all Canny’s moves.
Jason Hendry (backing up from the Bendigo Open) and Peter Gunston both kept themselves in handy positions.
Stu Brien, Jason Birch and Andrew Sullivan each spent time off the front.
Matt Ayres and Dean Wells did some long chases.  Bob Braszell (backing up from the Bendigo Open) forgot his age and entered in with the “young blokes”.
Tony Mirabella was back for his first race in weeks and was clearly still carrying his injury.

Attack, chase, counter-attack, sit, gasp, repeat…

For all the attacks, the bunch was mostly still together as the race drew towards a close.  Braszell and Mirabella had retired, however the remainder of the field was all intact until an incident sent Brien off the tarmac and onto the dirt.  He chased hard for a few laps and almost made contact when another surge put paid to his efforts.

Lee had forced his way off the front and was gradually opening a gap.  After a lap out front Hendry jumped across and the pair started working together.
It was the dying stages of the race – maybe the pack wouldn’t chase…
But they did.
Wells put in the first effort, which was quickly followed by Keirl then Canny.

The catch was imminent with 2 laps to go.  The leaders saw their effort was futile and they half sat up as the ten remaining riders regrouped nearing the bell.

Bowman launches from the rear.

Canny and Keirl respond.  The field is lined out.

Bowman is caught and dropped.

They race down the trees straight and take the sweeping corner. The bunch is tight.
Back in the pack a momentary lapse of concentration sees Wells off into the grass.  The riders behind him scramble for the wheels of the leaders.
Sullivan eases in time to avoid a fall.

Home straight and Keirl launches with Canny.  They quickly open a gap.
Gunston and Hendry look to be fighting for bronze ahead of Ayres and Lee.  Birch flies past them.

Canny is a clear second and Birch is racing towards the bronze, but Keirl is streaking away to the Championship victory.

Championship results -
Division 3 (30 min, plus 2 laps):
1st – Geoff Martin
2nd – Peter Livitsanis
3rd – Mark O’Callaghan
Super Vets (35 min, plus 2 laps):
1st – John Creek
2nd – Mal Rock
3rd – Robert Young
Division 2 (40 min, plus 2 laps):
1st – Ash Burke
2nd – Cam Farrington
3rd – Al Cureton
Championship Race (45 min, plus 2 laps):
1st – Damien Keirl
2nd – Tim Canny
3rd – Jason Birch

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EVCC 2019 Criterium Series

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