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Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series #1

Heffron Park, Maroubra, NSW, January 6, 2003

Rodriguez off to a flying start

The opening round of the Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series was held at Heffron Park on Tuesday evening in almost perfect conditions for racing: cool, overcast and zero wind. Despite this, the numbers were slightly down from the norm with approximately 50 riders spread across three grades signing on. With two major criterium series on at the moment in Perth and Melbourne this was to be expected, but it was certainly no problem for Jose Rodriguez (Eastern Suburbs) who took out tonight's first race with a strong sprint.

The A Grade field contained less than 10 riders, and was going to have its work cut out to catch the B and C Grade bunches which were more than twice the size. The A Grade cause was not helped when Stewart Campbell blew a tyre at the end of the first lap, and could not change a wheel in time to rejoin the group. However with the likes of World Champion Stephen Wooldridge (Comnet), Ben Brooks (Jelly Belly) and Jose Rodriguez (Eastern Suburbs) present, A Grade still managed to set a tempo of well over 44 km/h to have B and C Grade within its sights with 5 laps to go.

Before crunch time came, B Graders Peter McDonald (Randwick Botany) and Duncan Green (Lidcombe) tried breaking away from their own group to catch the C Grade bunch in front of them. However it was to no avail, and the pair were swallowed up when the six remaining A Graders made contact with around 3 laps to travel. However Duncan Green did manage to pick up most of the sprint points and becomes the first leader in the sprint competition.

The C Grade bunch also fell victim to the relentless tempo of the pursuit and the race was together with 2 laps to go. Ben Brooks made an attempt on the final lap to take a solo win, but the Randwick Botany trio of Robbie Cater, Matthew Lucas and Jeff Jones put paid to it. Jose Rodriguez positioned himself perfectly in second wheel to prepare for the sprint, coming off the wheel of a teammate with 250m to go to hold off Canadian Chris Gruber for the win. The minor placings went to the Randwick boys, with Robbie Cater leading home Jeff Jones and Matthew Lucas for third. The first unplaced B Grader was Alan Bozunovic (Eastern Suburbs) while Duncan Markham gave Eastern Suburbs a clean sweep by claiming the first C Grader prize.

Results

Overall

1 Jose Rodriguez (Eastern Suburbs)
2 Chris Gruber (Canada)
3 Robert Cater (Randwick Botany)
4 Jeff Jones (Randwick Botany)
5 Matthew Lucas (Randwick Botany)
 
1st unplaced B grader
 
1 Alan Bozunovic (Eastern Suburbs)
 
1st unplaced C grader
 
1 Duncan Markham (Eastern Suburbs)
 
Sprints
 
7 laps to go
 
1 Matthew Lucas (Randwick Botany)
2 Duncan Green (Lidcombe)
3 Craig Dempsey (Eastern Suburbs)
 
5 laps to go
 
1 Peter McDonald (Randwick Botany)
2 Duncan Green (Lidcombe)
3 Alan Bozunovic (Eastern Suburbs)
 
3 laps to go
 
1 Duncan Green (Lidcombe)
2 Peter McDonald (Randwick Botany)
3 Scott Callum (Eastern Suburbs)
 
Final
 
1 Jose Rodriguez (Eastern Suburbs)
2 Chris Gruber (Canada)
3 Robert Cater (Randwick Botany)


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