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Port Fairy Cycling Club
February 28, 2004
When you wish upon a star
By David Tozer
Anyone who happened to be star gazing last Friday night would have been intrigued to see the "blue moon" shinning brightly in the sky. For Port Fairy Cycling Club's scratch riders it was a definite portent of things to come. So long had it been since the last scratch victory that scratch riders were starting to wonder whether they should be hoping for Halley's Comet rather than a blue moon.
On the day of the race around 30 riders were greeted with almost perfect weather conditions. The handicappers deliberated over the make up of the groups and the time gaps between each of them, eventually deciding on a format that would lead to one of the closest and most exciting finishes the club has had over the last 15 months.
Recent two time winner Dennis Lemke led his group of four riders of first, they had a three minute start on the second group and a total of 19 minutes start on the scratch group. One be one the groups were sent off by race official Isobel Mclaren, who had to report Ronnie Hollingsworth for a blatant false start. Hollingsworth must have been a tad nervous as he was riding off scratch for the first time in a number of years, after winning a fortnight ago.
Riders had to contend with a light breeze into their faces on the trek out to the turn around point. The usual sizing up of relative gaps at this point appeared to indicate that the front groups would be caught. The back-markers would have been happy with the ground that they had caught up and with the second scratch group led by Phillip Morris and Wayne Collins, in their sight it appeared to be a matter of scratch by how much?
The joining of the second and third scratch groups changed the dynamics of the race. This larger group suddenly became stronger and more likely to stay away from the scratch riders. With three kilometres to go the race was in the balance. A small lead group was just in-front of the main pack and the scratch group was about 100 metres behind. Between the three groups were a number of riders that had been discarded from their respective groups.
The scratch group needed someone to sacrifice their chances in order to catch the front-runners, Brian McNamara put in a massive effort that allowed the back markers to catch the main bunch. Many riders were caught by surprise and a fair amount of chaos followed. This chaos was compounded as the pack blasted past the small lead group with only 300 metres to go before the finish. Matt Rice, a rider from Colac started the final sprint with a long lead out. Heath Riley, of Hamilton, took over and hurtled toward the finish line but his run lost momentum about 150 metres from the line allowing Andy Graham to pull out from Riley's slip-stream and sprint to the line to take a well earned victory, Graham was by far the strongest rider on the day.
For those cyclists not taking part in the Folk Festival racing will again take place at 2.00pm Saturday at the Port Fairy Showgrounds.
1 Andy Graham (Scratch) 2 David Tozer (Scratch) 3 Craig Taylor (Scratch)
Local results 2004