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Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club

Kulkyne Way, South Australia, May 13, 2005

"Hooray for Harry "

by Peter Winton

In a popular result, Phillip (Harry) Robbins won his first cycling race on Saturday by taking the chequered flag in Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club's 75km handicap event.

Conducted on Kulkyne Way from the Barndeet road intersection to the end of the bitumen past Colignan and return. Some 23 riders took part, including top former junior cyclist Michael Murdoch, making a belated but welcome return to local cycling races, and new members Peter Sergeant and Adrian Richardson, both from the triathlon ranks. Sandra Girvan braved the male-dominated event to be the sole female competitor.

On a fine afternoon with the breeze from a westerly direction the outward leg would benefit from a handy cross-tailwind. The largest limit bunch for quite some time had a nine minute buffer from the "chopping block" group and a further five minutes from scratch. To capitalise on the tailwind the front group of nine, Kev Gregory, Harry Robbins, Tom Athorn, Ian Japp, Cam Crothers, Peter Winton, Andrew Twaddle, Adrian Richardson and Peter Sargeant, would need maintain a 40km/h average speed to the turnaround point. The front group worked well together and achieved the pre-race planned halfway average and better with 41km/h on the trip computer. Whatever limit could do would surely be improved upon by the chasing bunches, or so it was considered.

The "chopping block", steered by stalwarts Arthur Anderson and Jack Lokan, included Michael Shipsides, Sean Gallagher, Greg Scott, Jeff Mitchell and Rob Akkermans. Club coach J C Lokan suffered a puncture within the first four kilometres and ruined his day out. This bunch never really got it together, although they did reduce the limit marker's 6km start to 3km on the upstream side of Colignan.

The scratch bunch was captained by national duathlon champion Kevin Tankard and included Peter Mulhearn, Michael Murdoch, Richard Hale and promoted riders Dion Bassi-Anstee and Peter Doody. For the newcomers to the "mark of honour" it was either going to be a 10 minute experience or 75km of struggle (quote: Peter Doody). Unfortunately it was the former.

Whilst the return leg of 37.5km was all headwind, limit bunch had enough workers to keep the average to 37km/h. Gradually, the energy output required to keep this up which means maintaining heart rates at more than 80% of maximum for two hours, the limit bunch disintegrated. Rising dunes around Wingara and Lindemanns Winery being major factors of this demise it was feared the scratch riders would overrun the tiring leaders. Robbins at this stage could sense it was do-or-die and he urged his bunch to keep working; keep taking turns on the front to keep the speed up.

In the approach to the finish, Gregory, Crothers, Robbins and Winton maintained their pedalling until Crothers broke from the bunch with Robbins right under his rear wheel, Gregory chose the opposite side whilst Sargeant and Winton watched on. Robbins grabbed Crothers 50 metres from the line and rode away to a clear two lengths gap to record his victory in a time of 2:01:03.

As this leading mini-bunch of 5 riders turned round to return to the staging area Kevin Tankard and Sean Gallagher raced across the line. Tankard (6th) taking fastest time in 1hour and 46 minutes. Sean Gallagher coming under notice from the handicapper for his excellent effort in finishing 7th.

Club handicapper, Ralph Morrish, praised riders for their honest efforts and reminded all of the need to be aggressive in preparation for upcoming Open events in South Australia.

Many thanks also to Billy Wass for assisting in marshalling duties in recent races.

Next Saturday's race is two laps of the Fletchers lake course, 106kms, commencing at 1:00pm in front of the Coomealla Club Motel. All riders intending to race to nominate by this Thursday with the Club handicapper and to be signed on no later than 12:45pm on the day.


1 P Robbins        
2 C Crothers       
3 3 K Gregory      
4 P Winton         
5 P Sargeant       
6 K Tankard        
7 S Gallagher      
8 P Mulhearn       
9 M Murdoch        
10 A Richardson    
11 G Scott         
12 I Japp          
13 J Mitchell      


Local results 2004