March 26 and April 2, 2017 – Autumn Criterium Series

March 26 and April 2, 2017 – Autumn Criterium Series

Autumn Criterium Series 2017

Round 1 – March 26

Production Drive, Alfredton


In the week of Mario Cipollini’s 50th birthday, it was the most un-Cippo racers that we raise a glass to.

A Grade

What does it take to beat Tony “The Italian Stallion” Mirabella in a crit?  Well, A Grade might have worked it out…but only just.
The signs were there early that something was afoot – a “no-so-fresh” Tony who had raced the day before – and three likely lads showing up together at the last moment to sign on, perspiring like horses from a pretty intensive warm up.
It was a cunning plan, so cunning you could bang a tail on it and call it a fox.

From the start Greg Ley was keen to set a pretty good pace to toughen up affairs and perhaps take the sting out of the sprinters.
Dean Wells was also prominent early but then for some inexplicable reason toned it down and stopped being the pacesetter, even when he found himself off the front he actually sat up!  Most un-Phantom like!
Stu Brien has a reputation as a bit of a crit monster and found himself in elite company, but undaunted he attacked about 12 minutes into the race, putting 30 metres into them in the blink of an eye.  His lead stretched to the length of the home straight before anyone really tried to reel him back in.
Greg and Tony Mirabella did the bulk of the work, with little assistance from Rick Calvert and Richard Taylor – Dean, feet up, whistling quietly to himself, just went along for the ride.

The intermediate sprint arrived with Stu still out on his escapade, and he was rewarded for his 20 minute breakaway with the sprint win (by a handsome 29.5 sec) for $5, good value for effort that.  Anyway, eventually Stu tired after being out front for probably 20 minutes.  He had recovered some energy during the last few laps it took Greg and Tony to catch him, so he was able to latch on to the rear quite easily.

The race careened along at an average over 38 kph, which wasn’t fast enough from President Faulkner who was heard encouraging the lads from the sidelines, “have a go” he bawled at them as they sped past.
Richard Robocop Taylor was also in an uncharacteristically watchful mood, content to counter Greg’s attacks but not ambitious enough to launch his own, and he sat snuggly on Tony’s wheel for most of proceedings.
Tony was keen to animate the race with constant changing of pace and racing out of corners, however there seemed to be an unwritten script to this race as the rest of the field sat off him and rode tempo to bring him back in, he was burning matches for little result.  Is there intelligence emerging in the A Grade field?
Rick “Sudso” Calvert looks like he’s cut his own hair, it is shorter, but he looks like a chewed toothbrush now.  Saturday he was feeling rubbish and could hardly keep up with C grade riders, today he was a man reborn and he threw caution to the wind put in a few flyers throughout the race.  Perhaps not taking these seriously enough, the rest of the field failed to respond until Greg saw a crack of light spring from the door of opportunity and he went with him just before we got the call for two laps.  With that call, Greg and Rick had a handy 20 metre break on the field.
Robocop and The Phantom Wells ramped the pace up behind and closed the gap, but didn’t complete the catch in fear that Tony would probably attack.
Bell lap and Greg dropped off the lead to just leave Rick out in front.  Rounding the bottom corner, The Phantom got onto Rick’s wheel, with Stu and Tony just behind (and in the gutter).
Around Muncher’s corner and Rick was emptying the bottom drawers of courage as he persisted, Phantom stuck it to them on the corner and opened a small gap and clicked up one more gear – time to grit the teeth and hold – perhaps he can sprint afterall?
Closing to the line Tony was moving up fast on the inside.  Phantom redoubled the effort as the crowd was going nuts on the sidelines, wanting to see a darkhorse win.  This seemed to spur Phantom on for just the two seconds he needed to hold his sprint and he crossed the line winning by half a wheel.
Stu got caught wide coming around the home turn but sprinted through the field to claim third.

1st – Dean Wells
2nd – Tony Mirabella
3rd – Stuart Brien
Int. sprint – Stuart Brien

B Grade

Paul Crack arrived on the start line and with his name tag hovering over A grade on the white board, admits to the handicapper that he’s on drugs today (for gastro), the handicapper takes pity on him, and slots the poor suffering soul into B Grade with the rest of the invalids.  His guts might have been in a twist but his legs seemed to work just fine – lesson for the handicapper.
Mark “Mocha” O’Callaghan, Steve Biram and James “Mack the Knife” Knipe were all backing up from a hard-fought Open with legs that felt like pushing cooked spaghetti through custard.
Today B Grade also welcomed a new rider to Eureka – Brian Ure is no stranger to racing, son of a traditional Ballarat cycling family, and racing himself since before he could walk.  A bit of a test for him today and riding a classic steel Paconi resplendent with downtime shifters.  The handicapper had a wary eye on him and rightly so, Brian is a poised, smooth pedalling, smart rider, who only imposed himself late in the race.
Not so patient, Steve Biram was in a feisty mood, his mantra for the day was Attack-Recover-Repeat.  On occasion he was off the front by 50 metres but was returned to the fold usually by Mocha and Paul riding tempo.

The intermediate sprint was contested by the full field, all together on the turn and an honest dash for the cash, Mocha and Crack seeing it through as the rest eased up once they realised they weren’t in this one.  Paul eclipsing Mocha for $5.

Closing in on the last few minutes of the race and Brian who had been as patient as a temple full of monks, finally selected “the” gear, this went unmarked by all except the relatively unsighted Fifi, who has a keen eye for Italian steel and classic bikes, he knew Brian wasn’t reaching for his water bottle.  Brian roars out of his hibernation and launches a full blooded attack, so late in the race it couldn’t go unmarked, even though it was so far out.  Fifi covered the move, but the rest were strung out like Christmas tree lights on the Christmas tree of carnage.

Bell lap, the rest of the field was pulling itself together for a chase when the second surge kicks in around the bottom corner, however Brian’s matchbook is empty and he sputters to a close in the back straight.  Fifi looks back sees a 30 metre gap, pinning his ears back, he buries everything into the last 500 metres and scampers away a clear winner from a fast finishing Paul and Mack.

1st – Peter Livitsanis
2nd – Paul Crack
3rd – James Knipe
Int. Sprint – Paul Crack

C Grade

Graeme Parker had sweat on his brow as he rolled up for a start, having left his commute to the race to the last moment, at least he was warmed up, and hopefully not worn out.  Graeme needed his racing legs on today as Eureka welcomed back one of its favourite sons to C Grade, the evergreen Barry Robinson making his first appearance for some time and Rob Young was at the race early pacing around like a caged tiger.

Despite being a group of three, the race was conducted at a cruel pace designed to dampen the enthusiasm of any would-be solo artists.  This lively speed saw C Grade keeping pace with B Grade for much of the first half of the race, and indeed Graeme threw in a few attacks that saw C Grade steam past B Grade.

The intermediate sprint saw Barry skip clear from a less than enthusiastic Graeme to take the modest honours, Graeme had bigger fish to fry today and didn’t know how his dodgey knee would hold up, like-as-not it only had one real sprint in it.

The race settled as it became apparent that these evenly matched combatants were heading to a sprint finish. Barry and Rob were buoyed by their early performance against Graeme so far, and eagerly pursued the rest of the race.  Little did they know that Graeme had a nitro canister still tucked in his back pocket.

The pace quickened with two laps to go as the threesome jockeyed for position into corners.  The bell lap saw Graeme and Barry open a small gap on Rob which they exploited with some hard cornering around Munchers.  Graeme assessed how his knee was feeling, looked across at Barry, smiled, and hit the nitrous, his back wheel spinning with explosive force he kicked clear.  Barry was sucked along more than holding his wheel, Graeme sprinting like a 17-year-old for the win.

1st – Graeme Parker
2nd – Barry Robinson
3rd – Robert Young
Int Sprint – Barry Robinson

Round 2 – April 2

Production Drive, Alfredton


Whispered allegations of mechanical doping as two of Tony Mirabella’s bikes were ridden to victory today.
Could this be Tony testing out an early proto-type?

A Grade

Tony “The Italian Stallion” Mirabella restored order to the universe by easily accounting for a much depleted A Grade field of three.
With registration drawing to a close it looked like Tony might be racing himself, when finally Stu Brien and Rob Phillips rolled up.  Stu and the Big Mig were probably looking for a bigger field to share the load, but they took up the challenge like the masochistic individuals we know them to be.
A small consolation was the knowledge that, even though they were probably racing for second, they would both finish on the podium.

Stu decided the best form of defence was self-annihilation as he animated the race early, Rob took a counter race plan of sitting in and have his legs pulled off slowly.  Surely it was all just a matter of time before Tony dropped the hammer and asserted his dominance.  However, Rob and Stu were not going away easily and seemed to enjoy their time in the hurt locker, perhaps even taunting Tony like condemned men on the gallows.

With two to go, Tony regally dismissed the pair from his presence and sauntered off to claim his prize.
In the sprint for second, Rob still had a few matches left while Stu’s sprinting wallet only had a couple of dead moths and a used train ticket in it.

1st – Tony Mirabella
2nd – Rob Phillips
3rd – Stuart Brien

B Grade

Jeremy Humber was in the right place at the right time to take an untidy sprint.  Jeremy expertly navigating the confusion from the front, while shutting the door on a couple of the main contenders.  B Grade had heads on ‘em like mice, the 11 starters making this the biggest crit field ever assembled at Eureka, and a unique racing experience for those accustomed to more intimate racing experiences.
The main aggressors Duncan Bates, Paul Crack and Matt Ayres with an occasional flourish from James Knipe.
Bob Morley content to stay mid pack and let Mark O’Callaghan and Roger McMillan close down the sporadic sortees.
Danny Whelan and Brian Ure watched proceedings from the rear discovering that with such a large field, the exit out of each corner was a bit of a sprint to stay in touch, they were blowing smoke by mid race.
Jeremy kept himself tidy and patient for the race and looked the most unlikely of winners until it really mattered.

The big field kept everyone watchful, not so much for who was jumping off the front but for who went second or third, and what sort of combination that made out the front.

As the race entered the final 10 minutes attacks became more frequent and vigorous but seldom did the field allow any more than two riders away and by less than 50 metres.
With two to go it seemed everyone was content on a late sprint, no long distance raids and the slightest suggestion of someone even changing gears was met with a howl of alarm.

Final lap and the pace picked up with 500 metres to go, then almost stopped into the wind around the last corner, no one wanted to lead this one out.  This allowed Jeremy to claim the prized inside running, the slackening pace also encouraged Mocha to accelerate from the rear of the field cornering wide, Bob and Roger accepting this gift lead-out to move up.
A messy last corner saw nine riders exit almost together, with wheels crossing and curses thrown it was just a slugfest to the line.
The blanket finish saw the first six over the line with less than two bike lengths in it.  Matt Ayres made up some ground on the inside as did Paul Crack but it didn’t open up for them, and they were left sprinting in third gear.

1st – Jeremy Humber
2nd – Paul Crack
3rd – Matt Ayres

C Grade

Rob Young stormed home to win C Grade in a final sprint from Graeme Parker who faded late in the sprint, was that his knee or his brakes that locked up in his reverse sprint for second?
C Grade also welcomed back Brad Crit Monster Eppingstall for his first race since Moses was a boy.  Brad has got a bit of building to do and while he rode in the wheels for the first half, a series of attacks from Rob and Graeme saw him distanced to ride out the race by himself.

In a repeat of last week the C Graders kept pace with, and occasionally went past the B Graders, however this week there were only two of them and eleven B Graders, both Graeme and Rob are in better knick than you might expect and will be a more than a handful in the handicap races coming up.


1st – Robert Young
2nd – Graeme Parker
3rd – Brad Eppingstall


2017 Australian Veteran Cycling Championships – Maryborough at Easter

2017 Australian Veteran Cycling Championships – Maryborough at Easter

2017 Australian Veteran Cycling Championships

Maryborough, Victoria

15, 16, 17 April


ENTRIES have CLOSED for these events

Australian Veteran Cycling Championships 2017 poster

March 19, 2017 – Coghills Creek, 59 km Graded Scratch racing

March 19, 2017 – Coghills Creek, 59 km Graded Scratch racing

Friendly faces everywhere – 19 March 2017

Graded Scratch

Coghills Creek circuit – 59 km

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Give a man a fish and feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.

Teach a man to cycle and he will realise fishing is stupid and boring.
– Desmond Tutu

A Grade

Tony Mirabella sprinted clear to win what was literally a recovery ride for this legend of Eureka.  Having raced the Collier, and placing in the top 10 the day before, Tony was content to sit in for the first two laps before dropping the hammer, on a make-shift A grade field.

A Grade? – Well, not really.  A couple of B Graders stepped up to pad out the field a bit and ensure that whoever took third place would get some cash.
Tony Mirabella was the only legitimate A Grader, or was he?  Richard Robocop Taylor proved yet again the dark horse of the field, the only other rider to test Tony in the finale, even had a crack at him late in Donovan’s Rd.  Obviously riding well at the moment he deserved his second place.
Rob “Big Mig” Phillips, Bob “Muncher” Morley and Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis rode along, the Big Mig to ensure a solid tempo, Muncher to close down Robocop and Fifi to make up the numbers.

B Grade probably went quicker for the first lap, everyone playing “nice” while Tony warmed up and so Fifi could feel like he was part of the race for a while.
Into the second lap, riding past the church, Fifi is panting when Bob nonchalantly asks “when is the this race going to start?” – Muncher is in sparkling form at the moment, Fifi as relevant in this race as a cat flap in an elephant house.  Tony must have heard this chit chat, coming out of the sharp left hand corner he attacks, Fifi missed that one and just as Big Mig’s tail light went out, so too did Fifi’s lights – all of them.

Muncher, Big Mig and Robocop go clear with Tony.  They settle and consolidate before Tony and Robocop go again, this time shelling Muncher, then Big Mig.
With Tony and Robocop going clear passed the quarry on the last lap, Muncher whistles Big Mig back, rather than chase as individuals.  Together they share the futile chase, and to duke it out for third.

Into Donovans and, undaunted by the fearsome reputation of his opponent, Robocop digs the spurs in and surprises Tony with his aggression.  Suddenly Tony realises he’ll have to race for the win today and engages top gear.  The pair are only separated by Tony’s kick for the line.Results:

1st – Tony Mirabella
2nd – Richard Taylor
3rd – Rob Phillips

B Grade

A grade might have slept in, or had a better offer, but B Grade were amassed in big numbers.  Nine riders on the whiteboard, including a newish rider Jeremy Humber – welcome Jeremy (p.s. not a bad start to your racing year at Eureka!).
Another race decided in the last 5 kms today.
The tip of a whip travels faster than the speed of sound, as does the fast finishing Paul Crack, with a sprint tuned-up at mid week crits, the sonic boom of his victorious sprint frightened dogs in Wendouree.  Easily eclipsing his remaining rivals for his maiden win at Eureka and write his name into the book of honour.
The newly retired, Craig Lightfoot has time on his hands to train and travel (more of the later recently and less of the other), however today this grey nomad went walkabout late in the race to seek enlightenment at a nearby ashram.
Mark “Mocha” O’Callaghan still displays the residual benefits of a summer triathlon campaign and his overly active adrenal gland ensures an animated race. Just when you think you’ve got him in the hurt locker, he’ll look up, smile and give you a cheer.
The McMillan clan coat of arms features a rampant black lion, brave and ferocious, the clan crest brandishes a two handed sword and a motto Miseris Succurrere Disco which translates to “I endeavour to care for the distressed” obviously “care” and “slaughter” meant the same thing in the 10th century. Roger “the Rampant” McMillan is no stranger to “distressing” other riders and then taking good “care” of them.
James “Mac” Knipe used Saturday’s Collier as a warm up for a big enough weekend of punishment, his old broken bones holding up to this very special fitness test.
James Gretton was looking pretty drawn after the race, partly due to the trials of racing a higher grade and partly due to his recent “slimming”.  James has stepped up in class this season, was only shelled late along with Mac and Lightie.
Jeremy Humber sampled Eureka racing last season, but just realised he’s a vet now and doesn’t have to race with mad teenagers anymore.  With a good result today we hope to see more of him.
The tireless Brian Lee – guaranteed to have a go from a long way out – especially with a field laced with such prodigious sprinting talents, the rest of the bunch needed to stay calm and absorb the inevitable but gradual acceleration.  A pleasing day out for Brian, finishing in the top 5.
The irrepressible Danny Fidel Whelan rounded out the field.  Fidel can only count to two, as that’s how many gears he uses in a race, and they are both huge, he forgot what the small ring is for years ago.  His tenacious racing spirit puts him at the front of the field when no one else would dare.

The pinch point in the race came on the rise in Donovans Rd with Mocha dialling up the pain, Paul, Jeremy, Brian and Roger responded, the rest were gapped.
The remaining five settled for a sprint, what did they have left?  The pace increased to flat out sprint, then Paul found the hyperspace button and in two pedal strokes disappeared into tomorrow.  With eyes popping out of his head, Jeremy held off Mocha.

1st – Paul Crack
2nd – Jeremy Humber
3rd – Mark O’Callaghan

C Grade

With a bus load of extended family members cheering from the side of the road, Jude Jonasson waited for the last rise up Donovan’s Road to pull out the broad sword and leave devastation in her wake.  The other two combatants Rob Young and Garry “Lance” Armstrong watched as Jude simply rode them out of her wheel and sail to a solid win.

60 km is a long race when there’s just three in the field, and small numbers usually mean that the winning break is late, if not a sprint finish.
Such it was today, the trio exchanging smiles and pleasantries on the start line but simmering just below the surface was the steely conviction of Spartans.  The first two laps were completed as a dress rehearsal for the main event, then it came time to win a bike race.
Faces turned grim, bigger gears were selected and plans were made…

Into Donovan’s Road for the last time and Jude sprung her cunning plan, launching on the rise and turning herself inside out to hold for the three kilometres to the line.  Garry, a seasoned campaigner was re-acquainted with his old friend “suffering” as he tried in vain to hold Jude’s wheel.  Rob was popped on the hill and try as he might the gap was a bridge too far.
Jude sailing into harbour clear for an impressive win, Garry then Rob rounding out the placings

1st – Jude Jobnasson
2nd – Garry Armstrong
3rd – Robert Young

March 5, 2017 – Windmill / Mt Beckworth, 55 km Handicap

March 5, 2017 – Windmill / Mt Beckworth, 55 km Handicap

Hear Them Roar – 5 March 2017

Club Handicap

Windmill / Mt. Beckworth circuit – 55 km


A tale of two lions – Tim and Tone Turn It On

On the start line the Scratch pairing of Tim Canny and Tony Mirabella weren’t given much of a chance in their chase, however the dynamic duo stepped up with a powerful display to capture the front of the race within the last km and sprint for victory.  Tim took out the sprint with his eyes closed and had to ask where he had finished.

The end result was a feather in the handicapper’s hat; 24 starters dispersed between six groups, with riders from Scratch, Limit, Second Scratch, and middle marks in the final five.  Mind you the “middle marker” was the handicapper.

First away was Graeme Parker (28 min) closely followed by Rob Young (27 min).  They quickly combined and with a tail wind on the uphill sections and some good solid riding, they preserved their lead almost to the line.  The headwind home and a storming ride from Scratch snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Eureka welcomed Garry Armstrong back to Vets racing and along with the Viking Princess Jude Jonasson they left the start line with 20 min in the pocket.  The pair parted ways just after mid race as Jude looked to push a bit harder to stay clear of a large pack of chasing riders looming behind.  While Jude didn’t quite catch limit she stayed clear until the final 3 km and worked home finishing in the top ten.

The 11 minute bunch was a unique collection, welcome back to Louis Nuspan and James Burzacott, and great to see James “Mac” Knipe back – broken back and all.  They joined the current VVCC aggregate leader Roger McMillan – as well as Brian Lee and Danny “Fidel” Whelan – to make a bunch of strong riders…but were they a strong bunch?
They rode well, even Fidel keeping his enthusiasms in check (well at least until they were caught), and kept their 2 minute advantage over the next bunch for a lap and a half.  Caught on Cricks Hill they all stayed in touch with the combined bunch until the climb up to the turn around.

Bob “Muncher” Morley thought 9 minutes was about right for his bunch of magnificent 7.
This bunch also welcomed a new rider to Eureka, Paul Crack, yet another tall rider for Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis to hide behind.  In fact with Duncan “Psycho” Bates, Mark O’Callaghan, Stephen Biram, and James Gretton, Fifi was in the land of giants and had to be careful not to get stepped on.
Morley’s marauders thought they had the race pretty much stitched up when they rounded the final corner into Donovan’s road, however their rear vision was myopic…Scratch plus Dean Wells hit them on the small rise and sent riders skittering in all directions.  Morley bellowed “Go” but most of the bunch didn’t have much “Go” left in them.
Muncher got a back wheel, Fidel and Fifi also just made it but couldn’t hang on when the next attack came.  Steve fought on picking up the dropped Fifi and Jude to roll home 9th.

The plight of Second Scratch was a Greek tragedy.  Five evenly matched riders – on paper and when race fit…set off with a 2 minute advantage over the scratch pair.  Their hopes increasing with every kilometre they rode without being caught.  If only they could make the turnaround their numbers would count into the wind on the run home.
Dean Wells reluctantly took the push out to Second Scratch with a grin.  Eureka welcomed Stuart Brien with a hard race, and Richard Robocop Taylor was rumoured to be racing A Grade crits in town.  Grant “Smokey” Dawson and Rob Phillips are tough as they come but perhaps a little more match fitness required.
Grant popped early reducing second scratch’s numerical advantage by one, with Rob Phillips starting to struggle a bit – which in all honesty is still enough to blow most people away!  Then the “Tim and Tone” show blew into town just after the church (about 30 kilometres into the race).

Tim – expressionless, majestic.  Tony – not so, and looking for some relief he was showing the signs of a guy who’d had a hard race the day before.  The combined group worked well on the run towards Mt. Beckworth.  At the base of the hill Rob was dropped…then Richard…then Stu, all abandoned to ride solo to the end, into a head wind – oh the joy of bike racing!
Dean turned himself inside out not to get dropped as Scratch pursued the front of the race.  But Dean wasn’t the only one suffering – groans and sighs were heard emanating from Tony, must have been the vindaloo.
As they caught the middle markers they could see the red jerseys of Graeme and Rob way up ahead…along way ahead.  The pace increased, the Morley bunch was caught and shelled (well, everyone but Bob).  They caught Graeme and Rob over the crest.  1000 metres left to race.

Tim, oblivious to the fact they had the lead, or perhaps very confident in his sprint, takes the lead.  Tony and Bob are too smart to get on the front!  Dean goes to the back and winds it up and lets fly with a Hail Mary play way out from the line.  Tim is easily onto Dean’s wheel…counted to three then whoosh…he is away, race over – first and fastest to the Dandelion.  Tony flies past to easily claim second.  Bob also surges past the failing wheels of Wells for a brilliant third.

Race Results:
1st – Tim Canny (Scratch)
2nd – Tony Mirabella (Scratch)
3rd – Bob Morley (9 min)
4th – Dean Wells (2 min)
5th – Rob Young (27 min)

Fastest Time – Tim Canny in 1h 22m 20s, ave. 40.2 kph

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