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Port Fairy CC
Lone rider holds off pack
By David Tozer
The Port Fairy Cycling Club would have been pleased to see a field of well over 30 riders competing in Saturday's 31-kilometre road race. Considering the fact that a number of the regular riders were in South Australia watching the professional cyclists in the Tour Down Under, the club expects that a 40 plus field is likely in the next couple of weeks.
The handicapper framed the groupings of riders so that every group had a chance of taking the prize, this is an extremely difficult task considering the varying ranges of ability, fitness and experience.
Dennis Lemke was the first rider to head off. Unlike last week, Dennis was able to make excellent progress in the light breeze and pleasant conditions. Over the next 24 minutes the rest of the riders set off in their groups, in pursuit of the lone limit marker. Heather Campbell (19 minutes), Keith Mcleod (Seven minutes), Matthew Kane (Four minutes) and Jade Frankel (Scratch), were the riders to watch.
The scratch group knew they had their work cut out when they considered the 24-minute gap they had to bridge. Considering that the race is only over a 31-kilometre course that takes the fastest riders approximately 44 minutes to finish, a gap of 24 minutes is considerable. Their fears were compounded when they could see Lemke coming back toward them at approximately the ten-kilometre mark. It was obvious at this point that it would not be a day for the scratchies.
In fact, Dennis ensured that all of the bunches would be chasing in vein by keeping a steady pace and driving home a well deserved victory. Dennis was apparently unaware of the fact that handicap races are meant to end in close, exciting finishes! Fortunately, for the writer, the rest of the field went by the script. Heather Campbell had pulled away from here group in a bold attempt to steal second place, however the group containing Neil Duncan and Rob Urquart was looming at an alarming rate. This group had engulfed a number of riders and seemed destine to capture Campbell as well.
The large chasing group was working at an absolute optimum, Keith Mcleod looked set to pick up yet another podium but in an effort that defied the odds Heather Campbell surged to the line to take second by less than half a wheel to another podium regular, Neil Duncan, who had managed to get his wheel just past Rob Urquart (fourth) and Keith Mcleod (fifth).
In a much less exciting finish, Jade Frankel staked his claim for best local sprinter by taking out the fastest time.
Cyclists are reminded that the Wednesday night Graded Criteriums will again be on at the St Pats School course starting at 6.30pm, Entry $5. Handicap racing will resume at the Port Fairy Showgrounds from 2.00pm this Saturday 31st January 2004.
1 D. Lemke 2 H. Campbell 3 N. Duncan 4 R. Urquart 5 K. McLeod Fastest Time J. Frankel
Local results 2004