November 20, 2016 – Championships Day – Scratch racing on Weatherboard

Ken Heres Bobcat & Backhoe Hire
Championships Day

20 Nov 2016



The day of reckoning…

C Grade Championship – McMillan WINS!

On a very warm day for a road race, John Faulkner, James Gretton, John Creek and Roger McMillan ensured the race was HOT by lifting the pace each lap.
The temperature seemed to keep rising as the four men matched each other until the last lap when John Faulkner lost contact.

With three remaining to fight out the placings – assuming they could keep clear of Faulkner – race tactics came to the fore.
There was a big issue though…concerning to both Gretton and McMillan was the fact that neither knew who the big bloke was that they were racing with…or his ability.  Naturally, Creek was also wondering what he was up against!

Gretton risked an attack early on the last lap, however he didn’t get the break he was hoping for so he sat up.  This would go down to the wire, the three riders headed down towards the final corner all trying to visualise how the race would play out.
Turning at the pig farm the flies and the hot head wind met the trio as they lined up for the long 2.5 kilometre ride to the finish line…which is not visible until the last few hundred metres…because of the rise… McMillan was leading the way when finally the finish line came into sight.
He opened his sprint first and opened a small gap…but Gretton was still there and gradually drew up to McMillan’s rear wheel. McMillan could see Gretton coming.
McMillan digs deep, pushes as hard as he can and holds on for the win from a gallant Gretton.

1st – Roger McMillan
2nd – James Gretton
3rd – John Creek

B Grade Championship – Knipe SUCCESS!

The race started out with Rob Parker, Danny Whelan, Terry Collie, James Knipe and Mark O’Callaghan for their championship on the Weatherboard circuit.
Not much happened on the first lap with each rider ensuring he was well warmed up for the task ahead – as well as casually checking out the opposition.  Fireworks on the second lap when Knipe put in a strong dig over the rise in Hendersons Rd.  This surge had Collie just off the back and turning himself inside out to try and rejoin.
Next to go was O’Callaghan when he unleashed the attack from hell halfway up the Avenue Rd.  Only Whelan was able to go with him as O’Callaghan put his Triathlon training to good use and just kept applying the pressure.
Parker and Knipe were left looking at each other – mainly wondering “who is that guy” – with a 50 metre gap to the duo up front.
Knipe jumped off Parker’s wheel and managed to cross the gap alone.  These three then worked turns to make sure no one could get back to them.
Parker kept up the chase and had the three leaders desperately trying to stay clear.

Across The Avenue and down Henderson Rd they kept their margin.  The long grind to the finish line had Whelan on the front (happily obliging to the task) doing all the work into the headwind.
Coming into the sprint and O’Callaghan opened up first – getting a couple of metres on Knipe who rallied, drew alongside and then crossed the line first with only a tyre width to spare.

1st – James Knipe
2nd – Mark O’Callaghan
3rd – Danny Whelan
The field in the Championship Race head north along Avenue Road
photo – Neil Braszell 

Eureka Club Championship race – Ley VICTORIOUS!

Greg Ley rode away from a large pack to claim victory in the 2016 Championship race.  Recent cold weather and strong winds were a distant memory as thirteen riders assembled for the Club Championship race in warm conditions.  Cloud cover was present for most of the race, and this helped keep the riders from baking, however many suffered cramps during the 76 kilometres.

Tony Mirabella was off the front early and everyone was happy to let him be up the road.  Andrew Rushton and Dean Wells kept a watchful eye that the gap didn’t blow out too far. They ensured the early pace would keep everyone honest.  Brendan Schiemer was itching to go and it was obvious that he was restraining himself from expending too much energy early.
Not Matt Bowman though, he launched before the group hit the Hendersons Rd rise for the first time.  He soon had riders scrambling…then braking as he suffered a flat halfway up the rise.  Schiemer was onto the grass and the pace slowed as everyone sat up to make things safe.  Luckily for Bowman he had a spare wheel in his car (which was parked at the the Avenue Rd intersection) and the group sat up and rolled to let him rejoin.

Attacks were few and far between in the Championship race.  Most riders carried two water bottles and it was expected to be a war of attrition.  Some riders like Rob Ellis were happy to keep the group rolling along.  Others like Rick Calvert and Rob Phillips were making sure they were always in the first half of the group.
A few riders had stepped up to ride the “big” race – Peter Livitsanis and Brett Dedman were both out to test themselves and see how long they could last.  Matt Ayres had thrown his hat into the ring – expecting to be in pain at some stage of the race.
The two smokeys were Greg Ley and Richard Taylor. Ley was in great form the previous week and a forward showing was not going to surprise anyone.  Taylor was out to have fun and make his presence felt.  It is rare for him to show up to an event and not have some sort of form.

Ok, the preamble is over…the rest of the race…

Not much really happening beyond fast down Weatherboard, surges up the Henderson Rd rise, slow and boring up The Avenue and surges back up to Weatherboard.  It pretty much played out like that on every lap!  Bowman did take off like a rocket down Weatherboard on the third time down to the chicane.  That attack had everyone scrambling again as he stretched them out.  Through the chicane and again he pushed.
These early attacks were enough to have some riders struggling and Livitsanis and Ayres would be the first to succumb…
Up the rise and a surge by Ley to join Bowman has gaps opening everywhere – in fact so significant were the gaps, that race Referee Bill Goldfinch marked SIX riders as being dropped as they turned into Avenue Rd.
Ley and Bowman sat up when they realised Rushton, Schiemer and Mirabella were all hot on their heels.  The easing of the pace allowed Wells and Calvert to rejoin.  Phillips and Dedman also made their way back over the next few kilometres.

Schiemer rolled off the front and soon had a healthy gap (note – it wasn’t even halfway through the race!).  No one behind wanted to set the pace and so Schiemer’s advantage grew out to over 100 metres.  Wells attacked out of The Avenue and stretched them out in a line.  Rushton came through, followed by Mirabella and Taylor…the chase was on and Ellis was off the back (this would be a common occurrence for Ellis who reckoned post race that he was off the back over a dozen times during the race).
Unfortunately after 15 kilometres out front, cramps set in and Schiemer was seen to be looking around.  With the increase pace the catch came very quickly and then everyone started looking around again.

Mirabella and Taylor would both do short surges off the front from time to time, however everyone seemed to be suffering at a similar rate.
Dedman was particularly impressive in clawing his way back each time he was dropped.  Rarely venturing near the front, his tactic was conserve as much energy as possible for the next surge…and the surge after that…and so on.
Rushton was nearly always in the front two or three riders.  This kept him in a prime position to shut down any attacks…or drive his own effort.
Ley and Calvert both started spending more time near the front.  Calvert often setting the pace and Ley often surging on the short rises.  In fact, Ley seemed to be getting stronger as the race wore on.
Taylor was the same (spending more time up near the lead) and you can never tell what is going on with him because he always seems to be looking around and smiling like a kid in a lolly shop!
Bowman was starting to yo-yo off the back and it wasn’t too long before he exited stage left.

Up the Hendersons Rd rise for the second last time and the bunch is pacing itself nicely as Wells and Calvert try to block the road (theory being that Mirabella, Rushton and Schiemer can’t hurt you up a hill if hey can’t get past!).  Ley finds a gap and quickly shoots through, thankfully for his rivals he sits up at the top.
Dedman has finally dropped away.  The bell sounds as they turn into Avenue Rd – 60 kilometres down.

A dawdling pace up The Avenue allowed for some banter between riders as they reflected on so many riders still being in the hunt with 15 kilometres to go.
No attacks of any note as the group race for the final time up the rise in Hendersons Rd which sees Ley on the front and leading the charge, then powering up the rise and then opening a gap.  He has Rushton and Wells scrambling to keep in touch.  The big guns in Mirabella and Schiemer are sitting just off the lead with Taylor, Calvert and Phillips all accounted for.  The elastic finally broken for Ellis (still, fair effort considering he raced the Ballarat Sebastopol CC “Misery 100” the previous day!).
Across The Avenue and Schiemer attacks down the right.  Wells leads the chasing pack then Phillips takes over as they close the gap down.
Nearing the little rise just before the pig farm and riders are stretched across the road watching each other.  Ley is up out of the saddle and puts in a surge to quickly open a twenty metre gap.  The chase is a shambles as riders try to find a wheel to follow.  Schiemer and Rushton move clear of the pack and start to close in on Ley.

Down to the corner and Ley has a twenty metre lead on Schiemer and Rushton as he takes the turn – but wait…a car is coming from the highway!
The chase riders sit up until they realise the car is turning and they won’t be impeded.  Ley got through before the car was close, however he is only just up the road, but the chasers have been blown apart by the semi stoppage at the corner.
Calvert and Wells scramble across to the bunch who have sat up – no one wants to take the lead and chase Ley down.

Two kilometres to race and Ley has a fifty metre gap.  Seven riders are sitting up looking at each other.
‘Blow that!’ says Wells and he moves to the front and tries to set a pace which won’t put himself in the red.
The others all take a sit… Ley is riding to wattage now.  He was on the verge of sitting up just after the turn, but seeing the others sitting up he has thrown caution to the wind and is time trialling to the line.

One kilometre to go and the finish line starts to come into view.  Ley holds his fifty metre lead.
Wells still leads the chase and everyone else is sitting and waiting to sprint for second place.
Ley pushes and pushes.  He peaks over his shoulder, he peaks under his shoulder.  Nearly, there…
The sprint is on behind him with Taylor opening up from over 300 metres out.  Legs are seizing up as everywhere as the others all jump out of their seats – except for Schiemer who has cramped so much he daren’t risk standing.
The pack bear down on Ley but they are too late and can only get within twenty five metres.

Greg Ley – YOU are the new Eureka Club Champion!

1st – Greg Ley
2nd – Tony MIrabella
3rd – Brendan Schiemer
4th – Andrew Rushton
5th – Rick Calvert
Greg Ley punches the air and becomes the 2016 Club Champion.
photo – Neil Braszell

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