July 5, 2015 – Charlie Braszell Hcp – 56 km – Weatherboard circuit

July 5, 2015 – Charlie Braszell Hcp – 56 km – Weatherboard circuit

Charlie Braszell Handicap. Weatherboard circuit. 56 km.

Tony gets his Mojo back


A cool head, expert positioning and a timely sprint saw Tony Mirabella edge out Phil Cartledge to win this year’s “Charlie”.

The perpetual trophy will rightly have Tony’s name on it as the 2015 winner, but the race only came together with 200m to go, thanks largely to a race-sacrificing drive from Andrew Rushton.

The mid-winter sunshine brought 18 sturdy lads out for this year’s edition of the Charlie Braszell, a race dedicated to the memory of Charlie and established to encourage club riders to get out and race in what is usually the dull grey cold that is a Ballarat winter.
The sun was out but a chilly NW wind was building and would make life difficult in the Avenue.
First off was Stay-away-all-day-breakaway Ray Hodgson and today he had a companion, Mal Rock, and 26 min on Scratch.  Two up around Weatherboard with a North Westerly is a challenge that not many would relish.  Mal is battling to find some fitness and form but rode well to stay clear for as long as he did.  The inspired little champ Ray rode like two men today, and when Graeme Parker rolled up on his side the new duo looked to be bound for blue ribbons and chocolate.
If the race was 200m shorter they would have won it.  Today Ray was a very worthy winner of the “Most Aggressive” ride of the day.

Chasing Ray and Mal was another odd pairing of Graeme Parker and Greg Curnow off 18 min.  Greg finds himself drifting out in the marks and struggling to find that form that usually makes him such a handful to reel in.
Graeme was in solid form and eventually had to cut Greg loose as he pressed on to catch the front of the race.  He found the long-suffering Ray late into the race and decided working with Ray was the smart move.  This pairing held off all comers until the shadow of the finish flag.

Over the last few races it’s been the bunch with Brian Lee in it that has either got up or proven difficult to catch, and this was again true today.  His companions in the 12 min trio, Ron Larkin and Albie “Honolulu” Govan, had to throw a noose around the exuberant Lee who was keen to press on.  Three riders with three strengths, Brian when the road goes up, Ron for the long flat drags and Albie for the downhill, downwind stuff.
Once they worked that out, the trio made good ground on the race lead and kept a good break on a building peleton behind them.

The low kms training regime on his CX is working a charm for Bob “Sponge Bob” Morley, riding probably his best race all year.
Third last year in a race that means a lot to Bob, and with 7 min and Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis and Michael “the Dr” Veal for company he never missed a beat and even looked comfortable when second scratch and then scratch arrived and lifter the pace 10% each time.
The Doc is returning to racing and was a bit underdone today, the white flag going up about half way when second scratch arrived on Weatherboard Rd.

Three minutes back, give or take a minute, was the second scratch quartet of Grant “Smokey” Dawson, Darren “Flattop” Terry, Dave “Pixie” Peters and Rob Phillips.
Grant got a late start for being a good sportsman helping out Phil, but turned it on to catch up with his mark.
A good day for these riders, all big and strong and made for this sort of weather, they pushed hard into the wind and maintained a solid tempo.  Two laps in they dropped Dave who retreated to the relative comfort of scratch, where he rode particularly well to stay with scratch and stay in the race.  They caught Morley’s mob about mid race and three became five as all but Veal made the back wheel.
Bob and Peter mucked in as best they could but the headwind in the Avenue was reserved for the stronger second scratch riders, Rob and Darren.  Despite what seemed a reasonable clip nothing could be seen up the road and going into the last lap it was obvious they were going to need more fire power to bring the race back.  Turning into the Avenue for the last time with the front of the race still 5 min up the road, the foot came off the gas as the combined bunch awaited the assistance of Scratch.

How Phil Cartledge actually got to the start line is a saga that is best left to his memoirs, a combination of vehicle breakdown and bike malfunction conspiring to wreck is weekend.  Together with Tony Mirabella, Brendan Schiemer and Andrew Rushton they had some work to do to bring back 4 mins on second scratch and 26 min to Ray.
They picked up a few strays on the way including Dave Peters and Michael Veal but it wasn’t until they had rounded into Weatherboard Rd for the last time that they caught the combined second scratch and 7 min bunch.
Now a large bunch of ten was chasing the 5 riders up the road. Predictably, Phil railed the chicane corner at 50km/hr and Tony charged up Henderson’s Rd hill for the last time.  These manoeuvres testing the fortitude of the bunch, but as they crossed the Avenue, bound for home, the race appeared one km ahead.
Darren, Phil and Andrew continued to press, even Tony had a dig to see who had legs, Brendan and Andrew jumping to the challenge to close him down.  At the piggery corner the front markers were still holding 500 m and when the Scratchies started eyeballing each other for the fastest time sprint, the race seemed lost.  Enter Darren Terry who pushed forward lifting the enthusiasm for the race win and when he started to falter, it was Andrew Rushton who stepped up, sacrificing his race to make the bridge into the wind.
With 150 m to go the chase bunch blew past Brian, Albie and Ron.
With 100 m to go the pace lifted again and Graeme and Ray were caught.
With 50 m to go Tony launched, Phil on his hip, the two go to the line with nothing in it, Tony just taking the win.

The minors went to whoever was left, Peter Livitsanis stole third, Bob Morley took a stunning fourth and a tiring Darren held on for fifth.

Special thanks to the Braszell family for sponsoring the race.


1st – Tony Mirabella (Scratch)

2nd – Phil Cartledge (Scratch)

3rd – Peter Livitsanis (7 min)

4th – Bob Morley (7 min)

5th – Darren Terry (4 min)

Fastest Time – *Andrew Rushton (Scratch)

Most Aggressive/Ride of the Day – Ray Hodgson (26 min)

*Andrew awarded FT for being the next Scratch rider over the line (Race condition: Only 1 prize per rider)


Main photo at top of page –
L-R rear: Geoff Braszell, Phil Cartledge (3rd), Andrew Rushton (Fastest Time)
L-R front: Neil Braszell, Tony Mirabella (1st), Peter Livitsanis (3rd), Ray Hodgson (Most Aggressive/Ride of the Day)


L-R: Neil Braszell, Tony Mirabella (1st), Geoff Braszell


L-R: Neil Braszell, Phil Cartledge (2nd), Geoff Braszell


L-R: Neil Braszell, Peter Livitsanis (3rd), Geoff Braszell


L-R: Neil Braszell, Andrew Rushton (Fastest Time), Geoff Braszell



A Braszell track bike, circa 1950’s



June 28, 2015 – W.A.R.S. race 2 – 59 km – Coghill’s Creek Graded Scratch

June 28, 2015 – W.A.R.S. race 2 – 59 km – Coghill’s Creek Graded Scratch

2015 Winter Aggregate Race Series sponsored by Europa Café

Europa Cafe logo s

W.A.R.S. race 2, Coghills Creek, Graded Scratch Races

**race reports courteous of various scribes**

A Grade

It took less than half a lap for Tony Mirabella to observe there was no need for this pace in a scratch race.
A quick glance at the speedo confirmed he was indeed correct.  The rider, Timshel Knoll-Miller (from Warrnambool VCC) was clearly intent on making it a big day out.  Guy Falla seemed up for it and the rest of A grade just hung on.

A couple of thrusts on Quarry Rd were contained but when Timshel went on Coghill’s Creek Rd it took a fair dinkum effort to bring it back.  A couple of parries by the regulars on Donovans Rd didn’t amount to anything and lap one was completed as a bunch.

Lap two was a case of de ja vu, although Timshel attack occurred earlier, this time on the Quarry Rd climb & although Brendan Schiemer chased he couldn’t bridge the gap alone.  With some concerted team effort it came back together just before the turn at Coghill’s  Creek.  Again there were a few subtle attempts to sneak away heading south, but to no avail.

Lap three saw Tony and Phil Cartledge were dropped on the flat – racing Saturday perhaps not ideal preparation – given the extra pace.  That pace was obviously not sufficient for Timshel.  Another massive effort up Blowhard took another concerted teamwork to close down, but there were four together by the turn.  A sedate final leg turned into something else altogether up the Donovans Rd climb.
Timshel* set the pace to the start of the sprint and then set off.  Timshel wins, Guy came close, Sparky was a little back and Brendan got left behind.

* Timshel became the third Warrnambool Vets rider to take a win at Learmonth in the past few weeks.


1st – Timshel Knoll-Miller
2nd – Guy Falla
3rd – Andrew Rushton

B Grade

Enough riders who only “make up the numbers” if they race in A grade were available to create a strong B Grade race.
Stand-in handicapper Bob Morley issues challenge to Dean “The Phantom” Wells: ‘I expect you to win this Deano’.  

The field immediately starts to take good even turns up Learmonth-Sulky Rd past the quarry.  First time up the rise and Dean “The Phantom” Wells rolls through quickly to try and stretch the field.  Then Rob “Steam Shovel Bill (from Mr Squiggle)” Phillips and Grant “Smokey” Dawson roll through like nothing had even happened!
Up the long drag towards the crest on Coghill’s Creek Rd and the group is working quite well together.  Although, it is already noticeable that Darren “Earthmover” Terry is not having a good day, he’s sheltering out back.  Over the crest and again The Phantom comes through quickly to try spreading the field again.  No dice though, Duncan “Psycho” Bates is stuck fast to his wheel, then rolls through and lifts the pace himself.
Heading down towards Coghill’s Creek and there are a few bunches up ahead.
Smokey comments ‘Bob looks like he’s out for a training ride in C Grade’.
Through Coghill’s Creek and The Phantom takes off from the rear of B Grade to try and stretch the field out (again) as they pass C Grade then E Grade.  This only excites Steam Shovel Bill, Psycho and Smokey.  They set a fast clip down Clunes-Learmonth Rd (after the sharp left turn) and the field is in single file until the rise in Donovan’s Rd.  Within sight of the finish line on the first lap The Phantom drops his water bottle causing a little panic at the back of the field.  Smokey carries two bottles of special tonic and offers one up.  After some technical advice, The Phantom is able to actually get a drink.

Onto the second lap and the same four keep rotating turns whilst Earthmover camps out back.  Is he pulling their legs?  Two things are noticeable on this lap, the group is not working smoothly and it is getting colder as some mist blows in.
Turns on the front are disjointed.  Riders could be there for ten seconds, or they could be there for 500 metres.  One thing for sure is that no one has the confidence to launch a serious attack!
The only excitement is seeing the neon flash – Timshel Knoll-Miller, Warrnambool VCC – pass by on the Coghill’s Creek Rd.
Where was the rest of Scratch?  Oh, here they come.
B Grade got to watch the “chase” all the way to the sharp left turn, then Scratch was gone.

Onto the final lap and it appeared that no one actually had a plan to shake things up.  Was this going down to a sprint?
The average speed had gradually dropped off on the second “big” lap – what would unfold on the “small” lap?
Erratic turns on the front meant that riders had to pace themselves in case they were left out to dry.  All riders – except Earthmover who stuck to his guns and followed – got left out in front for long turns.
The final time up the crest on Coghill’s Creek Rd and the B Grade’s numbers swelled as Tony “The Itallian Stallion” Mirabella was scooped up after easing off the back of A Grade.  Tony dropped onto the back of B Grade for a sheltered ride home.
With 8 kms to go, Pyscho started getting left out in the front for longer and longer turns.  Were the Eureka riders ganging up against the Central rider?  Earthmover rolled up to the front of the bunch and made his presence felt.  Then Earthmover even started to roll through with everyone (except The Phantom who made sure he didn’t get onto the front).  Up the Donovan’s Rd rise and the field is ambling along.  No one is prepared to use any extra energy than required.  Psycho rolls onto the front with 2.5 km to go and everyone takes a sit.
Over the crest and Tony starts to provide commentary – ‘You have to be patient here’.  ‘You can’t go from too far out’.
Inside the last kilometre and the field is still in single file behind Psycho.  The pace keeps dropping off.
Less than 500 metres to go and if the pace drops any further the sprint will be from a standing start!

Psycho is in front, Earthmover is next, Smokey is sitting midfield, Steam Shovel Bill is sizing things up and then The Phantom launches from the rear of the pack with about 350 metres to go.
A small enough gear to wind up as quick as possible (out of the Tony Mirabella play book), then click click, that gear will do.
The Phantom opens a big gap and now just has to hold it.  He looks back and sees something in black coming out of the pack, is it close?  He looks for that second surge and finds nothing!
Another quick look behind and he knows he is clear.  The line, finally a win!
Earthmover comes in second, he was closing all the time but the line beat him in the end.  Steam Shovel Bill comes through in third, then Psycho who had been left in front for the last 2.5 kms.  Rolling over in 5th was Smokey, questioning why his special tonic works for someone else but not him.

1st – Dean Wells
2nd – Darren Terry
3rd – Rob Phillips

C Grade

John Creek continued his good form by effortlessly taking out the C Grade scratch race on Sunday.

The fact it was a small field did not effect the quality of the race.  With eventual winner John Creek (the perennial bridesmaid), Bob Morley, Brian Lee and Ron Larkin who had been promoted after showing good form, rounded out the field.

There was a little activity early in the race as as the heavily built and lightly trained Morley had a couple of early digs but the race settled down with all riders rolling over.  Brian Lee thought he would test newcomer Larkin a few times but Ron was up to the task each time.  C Grade overtook D Grade and thought they would leave them behind, but D grade then passed again to let the higher grade know they were going a little slow.  This ignited Creek Morley and Lee and they lifted the pace and left the junior bunch behind.  There was one last effort on quarry hill to unhinge Ron Larkin but to his credit he hung on.  

So it looked like coming down to the Donavans Road sprint.  The pace dropped to a crawl as no one wanted to lead out the bunch. The wily Creek dropped to the back of the bunch virtually nominating Morley as the one to beat.  Morley knew he was on a hiding to nothing and he went wide and struck out for possible victory 200 m out.  John Creek covered Morley and then came off him 70 m out to take an easy and well deserved victory.  Morley held on for second and the mercurial Larkin rode past the spent Brian Lee for the ride of the day and third place.

1st – John Creek
2nd – Bob Morley
3rd – Ron Larkin

D Grade

Starting crew: Rob Young , Greg Curnow , Kevin Lee, Ed Rozycki and me (Tony Herbert).

First lap up and fairly even over “quarry hill” – which later proved to be the deciding part of the course in the final analysis –  down along Coghill’s with good group synergy and work sharing.  Likewise left turn and headed along Donovan’s.  Once we hit the uphill inclines first lap up Donovan’s, Ed, Kevin and I started pulling a few extra rotations between us with Rob and Greg chiming in when they could.  Over the finish line first time around and still a pretty good tight bunch.

Second lap fairly neat heading up towards quarry but it became evident Ed was feeling good about hill work as he kept pulling away with me just hanging and Kevin onto my tail.  Rob and Greg started to struggle just about at the gates of the quarry and started the slide back.  About here Ed started kicking on hard with me managing to just hang on.  It stayed this way almost up to Coghill’s with me holding on with no idea what was going on behind.  At the intersection Ed relented and we noticed the other three were out of sight.  After a short conference we decided this was going to be the status quo for the rest of the race and started doing turns down Coghill’s feeling we were all alone out there.
About a third of the way down Coghill’s I took a turn to the front up the road then sensing Ed wanting to get right back in front but on closer inspection it turns out it was Kevin.  He must have ridden like a crazy man as we were going as hard as we could.  Then we worked neatly as a threesome along Coghill’s until C grade got us not far from Rocky’s marshal point.  Then rather strangely they slowed down and we ended up on their tail not sure what to do so we just sat there.
After been cautioned by Ronnie about the illegality of our actions (who knew ?) I led our threesome around C grade and we led away for about two kilometres but then got soundly picked up and spat out the back!

Last lap.  We then settled back into tidy three working until quarry hill came along.  Ed then ramped up the pace significantly with me second in line with Kevin hanging on to my tail very tightly.  Ed then started to pull away and would have turned Coghill’s at least 300 metres ahead of us.  That’s pretty much how it stayed up until we turned into Donovan’s. Kevin and I might have pulled Ed back a bit but he always looked comfortable.  Kevin started sliding away backwards from me as we headed up Donovan’s.  Try as I might that distance to Ed never got any closer although it didn’t seem to be growing either.  That’s how it ended up!  

I can honestly say Ed was always comfortable, particularly uphill.  Kevin was very neat and gave lots of good advice to muggin’s me.  I’m aware he has a nasty back injury at present and in reality couldn’t get any of his power into it.  Can’t say much about Greg and Rob after second lap quarry hill.

1st – Ed Rozycki
2nd – Tony Herbert
3rd – Kevin Lee

E Grade

“Stay Away” Ray Hodgson and “Big John” Faulkner, this dynamic duo duked it out over an abridged distance, just the two large laps.

They must enjoy each others company as they were never separated by more than a wheel length and toiled away at a good clip, averaging just on 30km/hr for the race.

The finale was really a good natured “argument” about who was supposed to win, neither gentleman wanting to attract any attention from the handicapper for future races.

Finally it was Ray that crossed the line by default a good back-up hit out from the day before’s Eastern Open at Newham.

1st – Ray Hodgson *
2nd – John Faulkner

* Ray backed this effort up with his first WIN at Super Vets (held at Paraparap by Geelong & Surf Coast CC) on the following Wednesday!

12th July – Combine race hosted by Colac Vets CC at Cororooke – FLYER

12th July – Combine race hosted by Colac Vets CC at Cororooke – FLYER

Eureka riders – please note that entries for this event have now closed.

Good luck to everyone who has entered.

150712 Taylor Combine Flyer

June 21, 2015 – Mirabella Trophy – 60 km Handicap – Mt. Misery-Langi Kal Kal circuit

June 21, 2015 – Mirabella Trophy – 60 km Handicap – Mt. Misery-Langi Kal Kal circuit

Mirabella Trophy.  Mt Misery-Langi Kal Kal circuit.  60km.

High Voltage Sparky blows the fuse box


Obviously powered by the sun, a re-energised Andrew Rushton rewired his season, as he surged away from Scratch and his fellow second Scratch riders to win this year’s edition of the Mirabella Trophy race.

This year’s race coincided with the winter solstice – halfway out of the dark for us winter warriors – but the bright blue skies and lack of wind belied the fact that Ballarat is usually very bleak at this time of year.  Mind you, a -4 deg C start in lycra is still quite bracing.

With quite a few of the usual front markers not making an appearance the first bunch to knock the frost off was an eclectic band.  The gap between the front and back of this bunch could be measured in kilometres with Mal Rock (fresh from a month on the spuds), and Greg Curnow (slowly making a come back) tested early and shelled by the stronger Rotten “Ronnie” Larkin and Graeme “Powerhouse” Parker.  Rob Young continues to show marked improvement hanging onto these two until the back of the race arrived late on Ercildoune Rd.

Seven minutes back was the trio of Dave “Pixie” Peters, Bob “Mr CX” Morley and Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis.  Bizarrely, Bob has officially stopped training and is a lot stronger for it, very impressive on the Mt Misery climb and perhaps even eclipsing Pixie in terms of time on the front.  Pixie welcomed a move out, but after being dropped on the first hill and coughing and wheezing his way around the circuit was left wondering if he should be further out.  Fifi tagged along enjoying the sunshine, with the trio made steady progress on the disintegrating bunch ahead.  Bob hadn’t ridden the extension to the course before and was wondering how far it was ‘Are we there yet?’, ‘It’s not far now’ replies Fifi – which really meant “hope you brought your passport and a cut lunch”.

A particularly strong second scratch bunch of 5 had a 6 minute deficit to make up and it took two thirds of the race to do so.  In his own race, Tony Mirabella had dropped himself into second scratch just to be a tourist.  Andrew “Sparky” Rushton knows whats watt and was in stronger form than the week before and the bunch benefitted greatly from the bullock train of Dean “The Phantom” Wells and Darren “Earthmover” Terry.  The fifth rider in the bunch, Grant “Smokey” Dawson was dropped inside the first 5 kms.  Nearing halfway and the bunch then lost Tony when he “forgot” about the Langi Kal Kal extension on his own race.  Darren imploded at the same time as Tony missed the turn.  This left Sparky and The Phantom to hold off Scratch for as long as possible – with Earthmover clinging onto their tails.

The Scratch quartet soon became a trio when Matt “Riff Raff” Bowman blew a gasket less than a quarter into the race.  The remaining three – Phil Cartledge, Brendan Schiemer and Guy Falla rode an impressive race.  Three chasing a strong five soon became four chasing when Smokey joined their ranks.  Smokey was even able to swap a few turns with the Scratch lads.  Four then became five when Tony “Italian Stallion” Mirabella joined Scratch on the road to Langi Kal Kal.

Despite the bizarre set of mid race bunch substitutions Scratch was able to catch 2nd Scratch on the Langi Kal extension.  The combined group of 8 was now the biggest bunch on the road with only 6 riders ahead of them.
They caught Mr CX, Pixie and Fifi on Black Bottom Rd, all of whom latched onto the back, happy for someone else to do the work out front.
Parker, Young and Larkin were rounded up a few kms down Ercildoune Rd.  With the front of the race achieved the pace went out of the race.  Sparky had his legs on today and was feeling comfortable enough to remark that the race had suddenly turned into a Sunday morning coffee bunch ride, too bad the riders he was talking to couldn’t respond and had their tongues hanging out.
Dean “The Phantom” Wells tried to keep the pace at least a little above pedestrian leading the procession like a pacing derny.
To their credit Parker and Larkin were still in the mix and travelling comfortably.

With no one really taking an aggressive attitude the chat in the bunch was about who was going to have a go on the Weatherboard hill – odds on was Darren, Phil and Guy.

The headwind and a hard chase must have discouraged the first two, and the compact group stayed as one to about half way.  But Guy was the man for the job, eyeballing the bunch he realised his main adversaries were sitting back a bit and he only had a couple of the weaker riders on his wheel, so he took a leap off the front.  Sparky and Phil had to dig deep to get around and onto his wheel to shut him down by the top of the rise.

The race wound back together on the downhill run with the bunch waiting for the inevitable throw for the line, who would it be, who would flick the switch?  With 200 m to go, suddenly around the outside Graeme “Powerhouse” Parker lights up the race with a brutal attack, Sparky grabs the wheel with Cartledge, Schiemer and Falla all following the lead out.  Graeme’s cannonball run ends 100 m out, when Sparky volts over the top and immediately removes the shorts of the other three, taking a three bike lengths lead.

Phil offers some resistance and gets within a length and a half, but Sparky has the flux capacitor at 88 and charges to the win, Phil a clear second and a dog fight between Schiemer and Falla sees Brendan generate enough to secure third.
A long way back, in fifth, Fifi has something to be positive about, managing to get over Pixie and Darren.

For staying away for two thirds of the race, then mixing it with the much younger and faster boys, and finally laying out the field in an impressive final attack, Graeme Parker receives Ride of the Day.


Special thanks to the Mirabella family for sponsoring the race.

All club members convey their deepest sympathy and condolences to Tony and family for the recent loss of Tony’s dad.

Vale Mario Mirabella.


1st – Andrew Rushton (2 min)

2nd – Phil Cartledge (Scratch)

3rd – Brendan Schiemer (Scratch)

4th – Guy Falla (Scratch)

5th – Peter Livitsanis (8 min)

Fastest Time – Phil Cartledge (Scratch)

Ride of the Day – Graeme Parker (15 min)


L-R: Tony Mirabella with Phil Cartledge (2nd placegetter and Fastest Time).


L-R: Brendan Schiemer (3rd), Andrew Rushton (1st), Tony Mirabella (race sponsor), Phil Cartledge (2nd and Fastest Time), Guy Falla (4th), Peter Livitsanis (5th).


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