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Victoria, May 14, 2005

Cyclists sneak under the handicapper's radar

By Justen O'Connor

The pressure on the handicapper is always intense, especially when new cyclists arrive for their first race and underestimate their ability. With 16 minutes head start on the scratchies, the winner had already changed and showered by the time the other bunches crossed the line. In his first race, Mark Oakley-Brown smashed the opposition to bits and won by three minutes. He won't get that kind of 'head start' ever again.

Oakley-Brown, Brendan Pridmore, Chris Herrgen and Dave Axford set off first with a start of 16 minutes. They were together for part of the lap as Oakley-Brown and Axford worked together up the first climb before Dave realised the big man was too strong. Mark rode the remaining 25km on his own. No one else saw him again until after the finish.

The next bunch looked evenly matched and with 6.5 minutes start on the scratch bunch they were always going to be difficult to catch. They co-operated well and finished together. Dave Baillie led them up the climb each time and worked to stay away, but the others reeled him in along the flats. Micheal Pridmore led home Col Brown, Brendan Pridmore hung on when this bunch caught him, Roger Bell showed he is strong enough to go with the more experienced C-Graders and Dave Baillie confirmed the theory that climbers can't sprint.

B Grade was split into two bunches. The B2 group off 2.5 minutes consisted of Tim Lee, Simon Cuckson, Luke Handley and Rob Monk. Simon, without much time on the bike, found the going a little tough and was dropped on the first lap. Handley and Lee took it easy up the climb the second time so they could make the most of Monk on the descent and flats. Luke was too strong over the final stages and led home Rob. Tim sat up when he realised the bunch was never a chance of catching those in front.

B1, off 1 minute, was led by Geoff Thompson and also contained James Henry, Pete Bailey and visitor Dean McIntosh. They worked hard together but not enough to make significant inroads, and were eventually caught by the scatchies Thomas Sandner, Steve Twining and Trent Brown in the mid stages of the first lap. This bunch had to be content to fight out a sprint for 10th place. Tim Lee won the sprint with Thommo in 11th, followed by James, Steve, Thomas, Pete Bailey and Dean.

Rob Monk has agreed to help Staf organise the next handicap which promises to have all bunches finish within 10 seconds of each other. Next week's racing is at Picnic Point. Please check the roster on the club web site ( for marshalling duties.

Local results 2004