W.A.R.S. – round 1
Graded Scratch racing – 5 June 2016
Mt. Misery reverse, 46 km
Round 1 of the W.A.R.S. and it was a no holds barred, knock ‘em over, drag ‘em out affair.
Two new riders were not given any quarter…and willing racing was the order of the day around a familiar, yet different course. The Mt Misery course is a different beast in reverse, requiring a review of race tactics. A good field of 18 racers in three grades tested their mettle.
Special thanks to out generous sponsor of the series, Kathryn and Jason Haire at Europa Café.
The winners of each race receiving a $30 voucher to enjoy in the café and the winner of the overall series will receive honour, glory and a $100 voucher.
Thanks also to the Phantom for the contribution to the A Grade report.
There is a buzz around the club at the moment – partly due to new riders and their successes – and partly due to an ever increasing number of competitive A Grade riders and their changeroom trash talk.
A new race circuit requires a whole new range of tactics.
The Ballarat based riders train around the circuit in the clockwise direction – so did they have an advantage?
Matt Ayres was completely lost on the new circuit and would require tips from the others throughout the race so that he knew what to expect…would he even be a factor at the finish?
From the start the A Grade bunch was haphazard at best, however Phil Cartledge ignited the pace over the Weatherboard crest and raced down the hill towards the right hander with gay abandon. Through the turn he quickly opened a 100 metre gap, such was his speed. The bunch sat up to allow a gap, then Dean Griffin organised the bunch into rolling turns. After a few kilometres they reeled Phil back in – the bunch noting how well he was riding even with the perennial bug he seems to be lumbered with.
Along Ercildoune Road a few riders attempted some quick darts off the front, none attracting anyone interested in pressing the matter and they were all easily covered by Griffin and Peter Canny.
Andrew Rushton went off the front for a short while, but he too was soon brought back into the fold. Dean Wells took over the pace making as they entered the narrow section of road – he had the field weaving all over the tarmac in an effort to discourage attacks – however Phil came through before the turn onto Black Bottom Road and stretched the bunch out as he swept through the corner. The move caught Wells out and he was happy to receive a tow back to the bunch from Matt Ayres.
The bunch regrouped only for Rushton to again roll off the front and open a small gap. Tony Mirabella sensed an opportunity and crossed to Andrew. The pair were able to eke out a margin of around 100 metres, but under the road captaincy of Griffin, the bunch rolled turns and kept the duo within stones throw.
Rushton’s efforts off the front were more to gauge his own fitness level than try a long range assault, he eventually eased off and left Tony to his own devices. The bunch managed the gap behind Tony as the race turned eastward and climbed to the high point of the course along Waubra-Ercildoune Road. Rushton’s fitness finally gave out and he eased off the back.
After cresting the peak the bunch worked quickly together and caught Tony – a high pace ensued as they raced towards Addington. Riders scrambled for position as they closed in on the sharp right turn, Phil again winning out and he opened a gap as he powered out of the turn. Matt responded and quickly closed the gap. Canny then assumed the pace making up Edmonston Road, with the two Deans sitting outside him to block the narrow path and stop any sneaky attacks. Nearing the top of the final climb Wells made an attack that was negated by Phil. Griffin dragged the rest of the bunch across and again it was gruppo compacto.
Canny took over the pace making again as they charged down towards the final turn and started to close in on the B Grade race. Phil kamakazied through to get the lead before the left turn – he ended up overshooting the tarmac and found himself in the gravel, but kept upright and was soon back in the mix.
Matt asked where the finish line was as the the bunch regrouped not far behind B Grade. This could pose a big problem…would both bunches be sprinting at the same time?
‘This isn’t a fast enough lead out for you boys to sprint’ Wells quipped to Phil before taking off in pursuit of B Grade. The boys quickly fell in behind and they roared down the gully, passing B Grade at the bottom.
It was full speed ahead as they cleared the rise – until Wells’ run ended over 700 metres from the finish line. Canny found himself on the wrong wheel and started looking for options, Griffin was already jockeying for a new position and Phil was trying to work out where everyone was. Tony out wide at the back started to wind up for a long range sprint, but had to check as the Tail Car squeezed past on the outside. Time seemed to slow as the bunch spread across the road – but really it was just the speed dropping even further as everyone tried to keep their powder dry.
Tony again found his gear and went from nearly 400 metres out – was it too far?
A short moment of hesitation by the others allowed a small gap to open and it looked like Tony might yet win the day. Phil, Canny and Griffin all started their sprints and Matt started to wind up.
150 metres to go and Tony still has the smallest gap over Phil and Griffin, but here comes Matt. He sweeps through with only Tony ahead, catches him inside the final 50 metres and takes the win with a clear margin. Welcome to Scratch!
1st – Matt Ayres
2nd – Tony Mirabella
3rd – Phil Cartledge
A gallant platoon of 7 prepared to battle the first race of the W.A.R.S. in B Grade – their mission…to race the aptly named Mt Misery circuit and survive.
The field greeted a new recruit, Mark O’Callaghan, a rangey fellow who although somewhat apprehensive looked comfortable and acquitted himself with honour and bravery, and is therefore mentioned in dispatches.
Brian and Kevin Lee also found themselves with the daunting prospect of a challenging parcour and impetuous company, the heat of battle tested Kevin’s resolve and once the race reached the cima coppi, you could stick a fork in him – he was done. Meanwhile Brian soldiered on, undeterred and huffing and puffing his way up the climb, he could not be shelled.
Duncan Psycho Bates was in rare form, obviously been training and dropped some weight he animated the race with several sorties and digs down the Ercildoune Rd when everyone else was looking for cover. His race plan was obviously a war of attrition, trying to wear down the sprinters and climbers.
You couldn’t miss Michael “Mr. Giro” Veal, either his fluorescent pink overshoes pulled your eyeballs out of your head or his antics on the shoulder of the road questioned his sanity. Mr Giro road a strong race, riding tempo up the climb to deter a salvo from the smaller riders and stretching their puny legs on the flat.
Bob “Spongebob” Morley is an enigma, every week he is in the contest, riding smart and riding hard, how he can be that competitive with the modicum of training is one of life’s mysteries. Bob hardly ever comes to the front in a scratch race, too smart for that, but today he decided at times that he would be the hammer and insisted that the rest chase him for a change.
After testing eachother along Ercildoune Rd, and up Black Bottom Rd, the compact field turned left and began the climb up Mt Misery. The lonely giant windmills were the cue for Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis who had been waiting his turn, as soon as the road went up he went to the front, via the gravel on the side of the road.
Fifi and Mr Giro exchanged turns on the front gradually winding up the tempo, trying to split the field. Popeye was gone but somehow the rest made the top. The next test would be after the descent and the left turn at Addington, a series of small rollers with a couple of pinch points that Fifi, Mr Giro and Pyscho tried to exploit, the field was strung out but the elastic was still in tack as they turned for home.
The corner was a lot tighter than anticipated which slowed progress and with everyone settling for a final sprint the field came back together.
Not an easy sprint to judge, you can see the line a long way out and one final little rise usually knocks the stuffing out of those that go too early.
Mr Giro slowed things to a crawl, inviting an early attack. Pyscho obliged and took off at the cemetery corner, Fifi grabbed his wheel, knowing full well that this attack would end in tears. Spongebob had laid his money on Mr Giro and was waiting patiently on his wheel.
As the steam started to come out of Pyscho, Mark O’Callaghan countered, Fifi saw this one as far more dangerous and swapped wheels and the two separated from the rest. Bob saw he had made the wrong bet and jumped off the cramping Mr Giro and took off in pursuit. Fifi got to his spot on the road and launched his sprint, despite Spongebob closing Fifi held to the line to take the win, Spongebob in second and a great second effort saw Mark hold on for third.
1st – Peter Livitsanis
2nd – Bob Morley
3rd – Mark O’Callaghan
Another new rider to Eureka and another standout performance from Steve Linnane who stood up to win his first ever bike race.
Steve was in great company for his first race, the Amazing Mandy Rudwick, and the seasoned veterans John Faulkner and Neil Braszell, all provided excellent race coaching. So good in fact was their instruction that not only did Steve hang on, but he sprinted clear to win the race, grinning from ear to ear.
Mandy continues to impress and worked hard all race ensuring the race was a test of endurance, the climb favouring her above all others, she powered along and in the process shelling a couple. Rather than the big attack and a solo ride to the finish as it is quite often the case, it was a different race plan around a slightly unfamiliar course – keep the watts up but don’t go into the red.
Neil Braszell’s return to racing continues, each race his improvement is obvious and he’s come a long way since the early season crits on production drive. Similarly, John Faulkner is gently easing his way back into racing, a difficult guy to chase down when he is on song, the backmarkers all fear a return to form from this gutsy competitor.
1st – Steve Linnane
2nd – Mandy Rudwick
3rd – John Faulkner
The Eureka Vets CC are excited to announce that Europa Café are continuing as sponsor of the Winter Aggregate Race Series.
Jason is on his comeback trail after a nasty fall during the 2016 Cec Cripps open race at Maryborough on Easter Monday.
Just like the exciting new meals on the menu at Europa Café, the W.A.R.S. are also bigger and better in 2016.
Seven rounds of racing will decide the ultimate winter cyclist. In between racing, visit Europa Café which is located right in the centre of Ballarat at 411 Sturt Street. Just a block and 1/2 “up” from the Town Hall, Europa Café is perfectly situated close to the Central Square shopping precinct.
Europa Café is a spacious, inexpensive family style café, where the coffee is great and the buzz is lively.
The lunch/dinner menu is seasonal and ranges from Italian to venturesome and imaginative Middle Eastern and Asian dishes.
The wine list is extensive and admirable with many by the glass.
All day breakfast at Europa Café has become something of an institution.
If you are visiting from out of town you should have at least one breakfast during your stay…
if you are a local Kathryn, Jason and the team look forward to seeing you again and again and again…
Open everyday from 7:00am for breakfast and lunch.