May 6, 2018 – Criteriums, Victoria Park, Ballarat

OSCAR’S Hotel and Cafe Bar 

Autumn Criteriums

May 6

Ballarat Criterium Circuit, Victoria Park

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Autumn Leaves

Is it that it’s over or do birds still sing for you?
Float down
Like autumn leaves

- Ed Sheeran

The first Sunday in May presented fine autumn weather for bike racing at the Victoria Park criterium circuit.  One spectator noted there was ‘no wind to speak of’. He also said ‘the tarmac looked flat and fast’.
Four divisions raced and each event was keenly contested by the participants.

Special mention here to Mal Rock who raced in Division 4.  Rock has returned to racing with panache in 2018.  On this day he rode like Matt Bowman races – spending time attacking off the front of the bunch and spending even longer out the back recovering before his next foray.
No other players came into play and Rock owned the race.
Through the bell lap and Rock let go with a long range sprint, which would have surprised other riders.  Holding it to the line, Rock won in a canter.

Division 3 was an interesting affair with plenty of winners in the field as well as Bob Morley.
The race was hotly contested with so many shady riders…

Mark O’Callaghan has been playing the injury card for a few weeks now as he regains confidence.  His tactic was to watch the his opponents from the front and he duly spent the majority of the race leading the pack around.
John Creek is flying at the moment and has made a huge leap from where he was at this time in 2017 (in Canada on a holiday).  Creek held good position throughout the race and responded well to the attacks.
Kevin Lee attacked on occasion to stretch the bunch out.
Phil McLennan is still learning the racing game.  A large fitness base usually enables McLennan to hang on throughout races, then use his power to race away at the end.
Peter Livitsanis presented towards the front of the pack as well, though with large bodies such as O’Callaghan, Creek and McLennan in the race, he was able to get some great sits whenever the pace ramped up.
Bob “Super Glue” Morley applied his skills to what he does best and couldn’t be detached from whichever wheel he was stuck on.  It was noted by at least one spectator that ‘even Bob Morley was on the front for a few laps’.

Final lap and the pace was high enough to ensure no-one could slip off the front.  Swinging into the home straight and the field spread across the tarmac leaving Livitsanis the perfect hole to exploit.  He went for it and quickly opened a small margin over the bunch, but he towed Bob Morley into the sprint.
Mano e mano they raced and just as Morley started to get the upper hand…Livitsanis kicked again to win!
O’Callaghan staying on for third with Lee also close.

Division 2 presented the complete spectrum of modern veterans cycling, including…
The cycling addict – Stephen Biram
The time trialler – Matt Ayres
The rouleur – James Knipe
The big sprinter – Peter Gunston
The young guy – Jason Hendry
The old bloke – Bob Braszell
The short one – Peter Canny

From the flag Canny set about making the race hard. With Braszell, Biram and Knipe helping out, the “older” guys certainly took the challenge up to the younger riders.
Ayres stayed handy to the front as the race wore on.  He went off the front on occasion, only to be shut down quickly by Gunston – recent silver medal winner in the 2018 Club Criterium Championship race and winner of the 2018 State Criterium Championship – who can certainly pick which wheel to follow.
Hendry stayed out of trouble, banking on his sprint to be enough to take the event out.

Gunston and Ayres loomed as the major dangers.  They travelled on a loose rein throughout the race and covered attacks with consummate ease.

Two laps to go and Canny and Braszell were keeping the pace high whilst everyone else was working out who to follow.
Bell lap and the pace went higher with Biram and Knipe near the front.
Ayres waited as long as he could, but he still launched first and early.  Gunston followed again, then hooked out and accelerated past for the win. Hendry came fast to pass Biram, but too late to impact the result.

Post race, Gunston was overheard requesting that he only races in Division 1 from now on…no arguments here Peter, you’ve definitely earned your stripes!

A star studded field lined up in Division 1 with Club Champion Tim Canny joined by Greg Ley, Tony Mirabella, Jason Birch, Brendan Schiemer and new rider Andrew Sullivan.
Sullivan recently won the Fred Icke – Masters C – race at Creswick and we now welcome him to Eureka Cycling as a new member.

The strong line up presented Canny with another good opportunity to dish out some pain.  Canny attacked often in an attempt to break away – the other riders took turns in chasing “Shark”.
Mirabella closed Canny’s first attempt down.
Ley led the pack in shutting down the second attempt.
Sullivan bridged the gap in the third attempt.

Birch saved himself as much as possible for the sprint finish which seemed more and more inevitable as the race wore on.  However with the near perfect conditions, every rider spent time driving the high pace.
The only thing that went right for Schiemer on this day was the lack of precipitation.  Dropped on more than one occasion, he would scramble back during a rare lull in pace, only to find himself yo-yoing off the back again.  Eventually he succumbed to the forces within and retired…all in front of his life partner who had come along to cheer her husband on for the first time…such is life…

Final lap and with just five riders remaining there weren’t too many places to hide.  The average speed for the race had been over 41 Kph and the sprint was tightly contested between Canny and Birch who opened a small gap.
Canny winning again… Sullivan third, just ahead of Mirabella.

Division 4 (30 min):
1st – Mal Rock
Division 3 (35 min):
1st – Pete Livitsanis
2nd – Bob Morley
3rd – Mark O’Callaghan
Division 2 (40 min):
1st – Peter Gunston
2nd – Matt Ayres
3rd – Jason Hendry
Division1 (45 min):
1st – Tim Canny
2nd – Jason Birch
3rd – Andrew Sullivan


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