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Trophy Race - Heffron Park, Maroubra, Sydney, December 21, 2004

Rodriguez for three

By Jeff Jones

Jose Rodriguez (Randwick Botany/FRF) has added his name for the third time to the perpetual trophy awarded to the winner of the Eastern Suburbs Trophy Race at Heffron Park. In a closely fought out bunch sprint, Rodriguez held off defending champion Chris "CJ" Sutton (FDJ-NSWIS) and Nash Kent (Clarence St Cyclery), with Steve Fitzpatrick (St George) and eight time trophy winner Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello) rounding out the top five. With a moderate easterly wind blowing, a large (58 riders) and somewhat nervous combined A and B grade peloton lined up for 20 laps of the deceptively tough Heffron circuit. The usual suspects were there, save for Sutton's FDJ-NSWIS team, which had seemingly deserted him in his hour of need. And for those not racing, there was a svelte-looking Santa Claus, played by Matthew White, who was on hand to distribute Christmas cheer and general largesse.

The race got off to a false start after someone rearranged one of the directional signs on the back straight to point the bunch the wrong way at 45 km/h, resulting in a forced neutral lap. The front half of the bunch suddenly became the back half, but within a few laps the proper hierarchy was restored. The average pace wasn't particularly fast at around 42 km/h, but the crosswinds on both main straights soon had the bunch lined out in the gutters with the inevitable thinning effect. When the large field passed C grade, the accordion effect suddenly turned into a panic-stricken bottleneck, and most of the B graders and a few of the A graders found themselves off the back and chasing. Up in front, the face of the race did not change with more damage being done to the bunch by the likes of Troy Glennan (FRF), Peter "The Machine" McDonald (Caravello) and Brad Mills (Clarence St.), who were softening things up for their sprinters. The attacks only really started in earnest in the second half of the race, when numerous small groups tried to escape, only to find that one of the major teams had missed it and would chase them down. Chris Sutton (FDJ-NSWIS), eager to defend his last two victories in the Trophy race, was in several breaks and was always attentive in front, but the winning move never eventuated.

On the bell lap, some 25 riders were left to contest the win, and with $250 up for first place, Anthony Spurgeon was gunning it for a possible ninth win. But he was caught in a bit of traffic at the top of the straight as Jose Rodriguez launched a powerful sprint down the right hand side to comfortably claim the victory ahead of Sutton, Nash Kent, Steve Fitzpatrick and Spurge. In the C grade race, it was Randwick Botany/FRF's young improver Luke Davison who outsprinted Cameron Howe (Eastern Suburbs) and Katie Brown (St George) for the honours, with 31 C grade starters all up. Eastern Suburbs CC will take a break over Christmas and resume its Tuesday night racing on January 4 with the first round of the summer series.


A + B Grade - 20 laps (40.4 km)
1 Jose Rodriguez (Randwick Botany/FRF)    
2 Chris Sutton (FDJ-NSWIS/St George)      
3 Nash Kent (Clarence St Cyclery)         
4 Steve Fitzpatrick (St George)           
5 Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello)            
C Grade
1 Luke Davison (Randwick Botany/FRF)      
2 Cameron Howe (Eastern Suburbs)          
3 Katie Brown (St George)                 
4 Shaun Ballesty (Randwick Botany)        
5 Dan Innazzo (Eastern Suburbs)           

Local results 2004