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Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club
Heffron Park, Maroubra, October 28, 2003
Evening racing returns to Heffron
One of Sydney's most popular summer club races got underway last night with the first race of the season at the popular Heffron Park circuit. The Eastern Suburbs Club, under the stewardship of Pat Johnston and race supremo Frank Conceicao have been conducting Tuesday night summer criteriums with a 30km graded handicap format for almost 20 years, which caters for not only for those new to racing, but also for many of Australia's European pros and track stars who return home for the summer.
The start of summer always brings strong afternoon north easterly winds and last night's season opener had a stiff headwind along the back section of the course which had everyone looking for cover. The race format has three grades racing at approx 1m 30sec time gaps over 15 laps of the 2km circuit.
A grade only started with 10 riders and in the blustery conditions, it was always going to be a tough call for their small bunch to close the gap on the larger B grade (20) and C grade (26) bunches. That didn't prevent them from trying to ride each other into the ground and after 5 laps they where down to a core of just 6 with Stewart Campbell, Simon Price (Easts) super vet Liam Kelly (Randwick Botany), mountain biker Peter Hatton (Clarence St Cyclery), recently returned Dave Whyman in his Canadian racing Ital Pasta team colours and of course the king of Heffron, Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello).
The C grade bunch were making good time in the wind and seemed to be maintaining their starting advantage over the B grade bunch which once again boasted a mixture of keen, younger riders and older powerhouses like Dr Bob Hampshire who was anxious to keep the pace up. As many riders fought to either hold the wheel or shelter from the wind, the sting went out of the B grade effort and C grade, helped by slighter larger numbers managed to position themselves comfortably for the overall honours.
By the closing stages of the race, A grade were now down to just Dave Whyman and Peter Hatton who were desperately battling to reach an indecisive B grade. Always looking for an early season advantage, John Sunde decided it was time to go and with 2 laps left set off to try and claim the B grade win, but not before an impressive chase from Matt Lucas (Randwick Botany) who had looked very comfortable all night. One last jump on the hill into the wind saw big John get away for the B grade win.
Pete Hatton claimed the A grade win from Dave Whyman and his form last night will surely make him a favourite for this weekend's Australian Mountain Bike Nationals in Mount Beauty, Victoria.
However, the night belonged to C grade who claimed the top 5 overall places. Mr FRF Couriers himself, Frank Fortuna, obviously spurred on by his team's performance in last week's Herald Sun Tour won the bunch sprint to hold off 4 Sydney Cycling Club riders who filled the minor placings.
Tuesday night racing starts promptly at 6pm every Tuesday night through summer. Arrive early to enter and sign on and you will need to bring a current CA/UCI licence. Don't forget Randwick Botany's "100 years of Cycling Race Day" at Heffron Park on Saturday 15th November - entries close 30 October, full details at www.randwickbotanycc.com.
Overall 1 Frank Fortuna (St George CC) 2 Karl Bellamy (Sydney CC) 3 David McHugh (Sydney CC) 4 Steve Orfanos (Sydney CC) 5 Kevin Black (Sydney CC) 1st B Grade: John Sunde (St George CC) 1st A Grade: Peter Hatton (Clarence St Cyclery CC)