September 30, 2018 – Oscar’s Hotel & Cafe Bar spring criterium series – round 2

Oscar’s Hotel & Cafe Bar spring criterium series

30 September 2018

ROUND 2

Victoria Park criterium circuit

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EVCC 2018 spring criterium series - slide

THAT One Day in September…

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That One Day in September has many traditions which are almost as important as the game itself…
BBQ lunch
Half-time kick to kick
Smashing stubbies on the road

Invariably, the Sunday after the Grand Final is one fraught with a high chance of flat tyres for cyclists.  Not this year however!  The tears of the Collingwood faithful had long washed the roads clean of glass shards and the tarmac was dry, albeit with a salty residue.  (It’s OK, the writer is a Collingwood supporter)

Nineteen riders signed on for hi-jinx on the Victoria Park criterium circuit, including a couple having a trial race.  Heavily clouded, with a faint breeze and perfect racing temperature, the scene was set…

Division 3 (40 minutes, plus 2 laps)
This race split apart so quickly that most onlookers thought there was a fourth division on the circuit.  Michael Lynch and Terry Collie quickly opened a gap, however it was off the tail of the race.  They enjoyed a pleasant amble through the park before Collie somehow finished in third place.
The action ahead saw old hands Phil McLennan, Roger McMillan mixing it with trial rider Cameron Farrington.  Each had a go on the front of the pack.  However the occasional attack was not ferocious enough to split the trio.
Farrington took off with two laps to go and likely blew any chance of collecting a maiden victory.  McMillan and McLennan marked each other whilst Farrington opened a sizeable gap.
Bell lap and the catch was imminent.  The Maccas flew into the lead and had a ding dong battle down the straight with McMillan taking the win.

Results:
1st – Roger McMillan
2nd – Phil McLennan
3rd – Terry Collie

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Division 2 (45 minutes, plus 2 laps)

Division two fielded the largest number of entrants, with nine riders taking to the start line.  Such large numbers meant there would be plenty of opportunity to just sit on and let others do the heavy work, however that did not really eventuate.

Steve Linane had earned himself an upgrade after recent heroics in the minor league.  Peter Gunston had wangled a demotion.  Matt Ayres escaped the Handicapper’s notice again and was ready to battle Jeremy Humber and Brian Ure in a sprint finish.  Dan Crook was back after a winter hibernation, whilst Ralph Jones is still in hibernation mode.  Rounding out the field was new rider Ben Davies and trial rider Paul Tabbitt.

Ding!  Away they went in what can best be described as a “fair affair”, with many contributing to the pace.  A few faster efforts were not able to shake anyone completely off the back of the peloton, although there was some chasing to hold wheels.

Crook spent a lot of the early race near the rear before trying to break away mid race in a Bowmanesque move, which unfortunately did not yield the gap he hoped for.
James Gretton got away with less than 15 minutes remaining.  The peloton allowed him to ride off the front, however when the gap got to 150 metres the peloton started working harder and reeled him back in.
The race was always destined to end in a field sprint with the likes of Humber, Gunston, Ure and Ayres strong enough to neutralise any threats – it did indeed end that way.
The sprint started from before the final turn as the riders spread wide across the road chasing Ayres who led from the front.  In sight of the finish line and Ayres still held the lead with challenges coming from Gunston and Ure, but the man on the new steed sealed the victory.

Results:
1st – Matt Ayres
2nd – Peter Gunston
3rd – Brian Ure

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Division 1 (50 minutes, plus 2 laps)

Just five riders in Division 1 with plenty of stop/go antics.  Reigning Club Criterium Champion – Craig Lee – dictated the race from the start.  Tony Mirabella, Greg Ley, Jason Hendry and Rob Phillips made up the field and for the most part were forced to play the game on Lee’s terms.  Easy, easy, then attack.  Regroup.  Easy, easy, then attack.  Regroup.
Lee looked for chinks in his opponents armour and he found them.
Phillips was struggling with the surges and was eventually dropped.
Hendry made sure he wasn’t dropped.  He was confident in going head to head with Lee in a sprint.
Ley was often on the front trying to hold a high enough pace to deter others from attacking.
Mirabella had some doubts about his stamina, so in his typical style attacked.  That effort saw him off the front for a few laps, however the three chasers worked hard and brought him back.

The next few laps were at grandma pace and Phillips was able to finally catch them after his long, long chase.  Riders eyeballed each other as the two lap call was received.  This late in the race, no-one was prepared to launch from too far out.

Bell lap and the non sprinters were getting edgy.  Heading towards the end of the pony club straight and Ley made his move.  He quickly opened a six length gap as the others all waited for their moment.  Round the final bend and Ley still held his lead however the others were ramping up and closing swiftly. Hendry hit out first and looked home, however Lee had sighted the chequered flag and exploded in the last 100 metres to win easily.

Results:
1st – Craig Lee
2nd – Jason Hendry
3rd – Tony Mirabella

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