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Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club
Dareton, South Australia, May 21, 2005
Gallagher takes honourable win
By Peter Winton
Sean Gallagher is the winner of race 7 in the 2005 Bicycle Superstore Winter series with his second win of the Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club's 'Autumn Classic', held over a gruelling 106 kilometres of the roads north of Dareton and Wentworth.
The L & V Westcott perpetual shield is now festooned with the Sean Gallagher name twice, all in the short few years Gallagher has taken up the sport. A field of 21 riders made the effort to travel to the start line at the Coomealla Club Motel to put themselves to the test of two laps of the Fletchers Lake circuit, the winner's time being a shade under 2 hours and 50 minutes. Peter Mulhearn earned the honour of fastest time by clocking 2 hours and 44 minutes from the scratch mark.
Four bunches covered the field - firstly, the limit at 28 minutes, with Tom Athorn and Peter Sargent doing a tandem act. The 23 minute bunch had Dave Priest, Harry Robbins, Cam Crothers, Kevin Gregory and Peter Winton on board. This group held some sort of a chance to pinch the prize but would require every rider to remain intact and do their bit, alas, this was not to be with the unrelenting wind across the lower Darling River floodplain taking it's inevitable toll on the leg strength of riders lacking a couple of hard rides. Cam Crothers was in trouble on the climb up Fletchers Lake hill and Dave Priest struggling at the end of lap one.
The 'chopping block' at 11 minutes, so called due to the relative small time gap to the scratchmarkers and the fact that being rounded up by the Club's best riders during a race compares to being put to the sword, was by far the biggest bunch, comprising 10 riders. Dion Bassi-Anstee, Peter Doody, Jack Lokan, Rob Akkermans, Michael Shipsides, Sean Gallgher, Ian Beruldsen, Greg Scott, Jeff Mitchell and wily veteran Geof Marshall. More than half this group have won Club trophies or series jerseys in recent times, if not, they've been recent race winners. The race outcome would certainly be dictated by this collection. Greg Scott struggled with a back injury and Rob Akkermans made an untimely exit from this bunch to join up with scratch later on. Geof Marshall was also lacking some race fitness.
Waiting patiently (or perhaps not) in scratch, a modest group of four stood ready; Kevin Tankard, Peter Mulhearn, Scott Giles and Richard Hale. This group broke up early with a back complaint suffered by Giles. Losing this rider dented the chances of scratch making up the time required over this demanding circuit. The second limit bunch, with Kevin Gregory in fine form and working like a swiss clock, captured the limit group prior to the Pooncarie turn on lap 1. Athorn and Sargent were soon jettisoned, unable to maintain the steady pace into the headwind and this collective stayed away from chopping block until the 70 kilometre point of the race, somewhere around the Tapio station entrance gates.
With the increase in tempo that goes with being caught by a chasing group it wasn't long before Winton ran out of legs, and was soon followed by Robbins and Mitchell. Scratch were not sighted by the time this group reached Wentworth and high hopes were now being held by many riders to survive the day and vie for a podium finish.
In the closing finale and riders having sorted the etiquette out it was Sean Gallagher who ultimately drove to the line the strongest for an honorable win. The handicapper is sure to review his standing on this fine effort.
Next week's event is a 64 kilometre handicap at the Merbein cemetery circuit with the start time reverting back to the normal time of 1:30pm. Riders to be signed on no later than 1:15pm please.
1 S Gallagher 2 J Lokan 3 P Doody 4 I Beruldsen 5 K Gregory 6 C Crothers 7 M Shipsides 8 D Bassi-Anstee 9 P Mulhearn 10 R Akkermans 11 K Tankard 12 J Mitchell 13 R hale 14 P Robbins 15 P Winton 16 G Marshall.
Local results 2004