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Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club
Wentworth NSW, March 14, 2004
By Peter Doody (standing in for PW)
On what can only be described as a perfect Sunraysia autumn day, Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club conducted a 40 minute criterium in the twin river town of Wentworth, NSW, as part of the Coomealla Triathalon Club Series. Wentworth is where the Murray and Darling Rivers join and travel on towards South Australia (do your own geography).
The local triathlon club held their event first then the criterium was run on a modified rectangular street circuit just after 10.30am with a temperature of 19.5C and a light southerly breeze. In what turned out to be an inspired decision, the race panel decided on a mass start graded scratch that provided for quite a spectacle for the large watching audience, but more on that later.
It didn't take long for the sparks to fly - well the witches' hats anyway. On the first corner of the first lap proper Brendan "who's taken my spare wheel" Liddle managed to clip a witches hat throwing it into the path of Dion Basse-Anstee who ran straight over it putting it into the path of yours truly who skillessly avoided it. At least the crowd didn't have long to wait to see some action. The pace was high and too high for a few including Greg Scott who dropped off the pace.
Where did you get that spare wheel from Greg?
Due to the size of the bunch, attacks came and went with the usual suspects like Liddle, Baste-Anstee, Mark Busch and Scott Giles going off the front but being quickly brought back. Even Jack Lokan stirred them up a few times with a number of 'cop a load of them apples' bursts off the front.
With a very close B and C grade series it seemed that the local chicken population was in serious danger due to all the "foxing" that was going on. The C graders seemed to be in the thick of the action with Rob Akkermans appearing to be on some "line altering" drugs. Firstly he gave Richard Hale an invitation to check out the dirt on the inside of a corner and then whilst following the writer took up a self made invitation to do the same. Might have been something to do with the fact that he had sent an SOS late on Saturday looking for a back wheel so that he could race. Neck and neck in C grade I graciously lent him a wheel but maybe he wanted a closer look at my rear Eurus to see if he should have asked for it. Sportsmanship is alive and well in Sunraysia, as long as it doesn't cost me the summer series!
Back to the action and not to be outdone I decided to try out the new "Teschner two wheel slide" cornering technique at about 35 kph on the last corner of the second last lap. Much to everyone's surprise and relief the Teschner stayed clean but the same couldn't be said for my knicks (mental note - don't put the knicks in with the general washing). The bell for the last lap caused the usual surge with the leading riders in B and C grade trying to get a line to be into the last corner first for the 250m sprint to the finish. The sprint came down to three-way tussle with, yes you've guessed it, Busch taking the honours from a fast finishing Steve Fenwick with Liddle third. This is the second week that Fenwick has had it over Liddle and surely this and how close he came to snatching a victory today will see him graduating to his rightful place in A grade. Makes you wonder if he did as few k's as he says he does how good you could be... natural talent I suppose Steve!
So it was Busch in A, Fenwick in B and Doody in C grade. The talk after the finish involved dastardly plots to try and knobble Busch but I can tell you Bushy I distanced myself from them completely. Trust me… I'm Irish (and St Pats Day is just around the corner). What a morning for cycling in the region and if the look on some of the spectators faces as we flashed by them is anything to go by we might just be starting to win the battle to lift our profile again. And if we can get a few of the tri club members racing in the upcoming winter series, roll on winter!
(Hopefully usual transmission will resume next week with the return of Peter Winton as the scribe!)
Results, 40 minute criterium, mass start, graded finish
A grade 1 Mark Busch B grade 1 Steve Fenwick C grade 1 Peter Doody Full placings were not available at time of writing
Local results 2004