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Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club
Heffron Park, Sydney, November 22, 2005
Koreans star in thrilling finish
By John Sunde
Korean Olympic track rider, Sun Jae Jang had to summon all of his superb track handling and finishing skills to fight his way through a field of over 40 riders to lead home a fast charging A grade field for overall honours in Tuesday nights battle of the stars at Heffron Park. After last weeks washout, it was all back to normal with gusty winds, threatening skies, 14 Korean track riders adding some international flavour, random helmet checks, dodgy handicapping and 105 gung-ho riders ready for battle in what turned out to be a thrilling nights' racing.
The Korean national squad of 8 men and 6 women, who are in Sydney as part of their preparations for the Asia Cycling Championships in India next month, had the benefit of a pre race briefing from Easts head honcho Frank Conceicao - ever seen a hand waving Portuguese explain to a Korean with limited English how to ride a straight line around a 2km circuit with 10 corners? Something must have sunk in because the Korean A grade men put in a very impressive performance on a circuit they had previously struggled on.
The Korean's presence certainly added some much needed horsepower to the A grade field who were able to ride a smoother tempo than previous weeks. B grade had another erratic ride with ex MTB pro Paul Rowney once again doing the damage and at the critical five laps to go, the 35 starters were down to a mere dozen riders. But the on again, off again pace meant they couldn't deliver the knock out blow despite having C grade lined up in their sights in the closing laps.
Further back in the race A grade were humming along nicely, despite protests from Anthony Spurgeon that Easts' big motor, Stewart Campbell, should attach a tail light to his bike so that everyone would know where the back of the bunch was. With three laps to go it was still touch and go whether the race would come together as the three grades were still separated by about 500m. At the bell, A grade finally made the connection, thanks to some big efforts from MTB/Road all rounder Pete Hatton and the Koreans.
The last lap had more mayhem than being on the terraces watching a Portuguese soccer game when the Benfica fans start firing flares. In the confusion, the A grade train went in every direction whether there was concrete or grass available. When it cleared, Korean Sun Jae Jung had too much speed despite being challenged all the way by NSW track star Steve Fitzpatrick and Liam Kelly who held on for third place. Equally accomplished on the road or track, Sung Baek Park got home for fourth, while Stewart 'Computer' Campbell finally found his way to the front to claim fifth spot.
In the battle for honours in the other grades, Tayla 'too kool for skool' Aitchinson got the envelope for C grade and in B grade, Matt Lucas benefited from some very favourable handicapping to win B grade and surely earn himself a spot back in A grade along with a few other burglars.
A reminder that Tuesday night racing starts promptly at 6pm. You'll need a current Cycling Australia licence and an Australian Standards approved helmet. If you're planning on racing on Saturday afternoon at Heffron Park , don't forget the change of starting times to 4pm and 5 pm for Randwick Botany club racing.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Stuart Baker
1 Jae Jang Sun (Korea) 2 Steve Fitzpatrick (St George) 3 Liam Kelly (Randwick Botany) 4 Sung Baek Park (Korea) 5 Stewart Campbell (Easts) B Grade 1 Mathew Lucas (Randwick Botany) C Grade 1 Tayla Aitchinson (Southern Cross) Club Pointscore after week 3 1 Randwick Botany 20 pts 2 International 10 3 Southern Cross 10 4 Easts 5
Local results 2004