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Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club
Heffron Park, Sydney, February 7, 2006
A grade left out in the cold as Andy Portess wins
By Captain John Sunde
Another quality A grade field finished out of the overall placings when they were 100m short of catching the leading C grade field at the finish which was convincingly won by Andy Portess (Randwick Botany). Portess outsprinted Michael Bolt (Bicisport) and Trek Bikes series leader Aaron Richardson (Easts), who extended his lead to 13 points for the Series prize of a Trek Madone 5.9SL frame.
It was another exciting night of racing, which also had its share of interclub rivalry, accusations of unfair handicapping and just for a change, protests over short cuts and extra laps out during the race. The night got off to a 'retro' start when the sign on was setup in the Heffron Park carpark and the race numbers were the size of a plastic tablecloth, complete with SunTour logo - recognition to the heady days of the Superbe 6 and 7 speed clusters. Fortunately riders were still able to take advantage of the hospitality of the Randwick Botany clubrooms, canteen and bathroom facilities. Maybe Easts will set up a portaloo in the car park next week.
The handicapping issue is always a hot topic for debate, especially when A grade put in a huge effort, only to fall short by a few metres in the home straight. The issue is not so much the time gap, but the sheer size and quality of the C grade field. Last night was no exception with 45 riders in C grade and at least 15 of those riders more than capable of riding B grade. Winner Andy Portess actually won B grade two weeks ago at Randwick Botany's Saturday club race, yet gets to ride C grade on Tuesday night. Mike Bolt last raced at Heffron before Xmas, starting in B grade, yet started in C grade last night and easily got second. Trek Series leader and age group triathlete, Aaron Richardson has competed in the past two Australian Ironman events and finished less than 20 minutes behind winner and Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack in the 160km cycling leg. When it comes to a 30km criterium around Heffron Park though Aaron is allowed to line up with 10 female competitors and the over-50-years brigade (not that there's anything wrong with being over 50) of Barry Maroud, Roger Shackleton, Frank Conceicao, Hans Visch and Neil Morris. Kind of explains why C grade stay away.
One rider who has no intention of hiding in C grade and had an awesome race was Queensland belle, Sally Cowman who started in B grade in only her fourth race at Heffron Park. Firstly she handled the B grade pace, then when A grade got up with five laps to go calmly handled the extra speed only to loose touch on the last lap but still finishing in front of 25 other B grade riders. Oh and that was after Sally had tapped out 130km in the morning! Two more riders stepping up for the night were John Kenny and Scott Callum who started in A grade.
With the sheer numbers and loaded riders, C grade were always going to be hard to catch on a night with a big southerly blowing. A grade gave it their best shot despite their 20 strong bunch splitting mid race when Chris Sutton (Cofidis), Jose Rodriguez (Clarence St), Josh Fleming (Sutherland), Pete McDonald (FRF Couriers), Pete Fitzpatrick (St George), Paul Rowney (Easts) and Tim Willing (WA) got across to B grade after the 5 laps to go sprint. Miraculously Liam Kelly (Sydney) also managed to position himself in the lead group however after some stern words from Troy Glennan (FRF Couriers) at the end of the race it transpired that Kelly's effort to get into the break wasn't a miracle after all.
In the Sprint King comp, Matt Lucas (Randwick Botany) closed the gap on Dave Evans (Clarence St) down to 1 point when he took maximum points in the seven and five laps to go sprint primes.
C grade were just far enough in front to be out of danger on the last lap and not even an awesome last turn from Cofidis pro CJ Sutton could get the remaining A and B grade bunch up for the win, so once again C grade mopped up the points and money on offer for the first five places.
In the gallop for A and B grade honours, Jose Rodrigeuz (Clarence St) won A grade for the third time in five weeks only to go home with the envelope, but no points in the series - those 21 points would come in handy now. In the battle of B grade, Chris Reynolds (Randwick Botany) looked good all the way down the straight only for John Sunde (St George) to grab the win just on the line.
The Trek Bikes Summer Series 2006 continues every Tuesday night through to 28 March 2006. Racing starts promptly at 6pm. You'll need a current Cycling Australia licence and an Australian Standards approved helmet.
1 Andy Portess (Randwick Botany) 2 Mike Bolt (Bicisport) 3 Aaron Richardson (Eastern Suburbs) 4 Anthony O'Brien (Waratah) 5 Emma James (Randwick Botany) A Grade Jose Rodrigeuz (Clarence St) B Grade John Sunde (St George) Trek Bikes Poinstcore 1 Aaron Richardson 20 pts 2 Andy Portess 11 3 Paul Watzlaff 7 3 Stuart Dangerfield 7 5 Anthony O'Brien 6 6 Jose Rodriguez 5 7 Mike Bolt 4 7 Marko Turner 4 7 Karl Bellamy 4 7 Chris Sutton 4 11 Simon Parker 3 12 Frank Fortuna 2 12 Andrew Duggan 2 12 Tim Willing 2 15 Anthony Spurgeon 1 15 Brad McGarry 1 15 Shane Howley 1 15 Emma James 1 A/B Grade Sprint King 1 Dave Evans 35 pts 2 Matthew Lucas 34 3 Jose Rodriguez 16 4 John Kenny 11 5 John Peppard 6 6 Scott Callum 7 6 Tim Willing 7 7 Chris Reynolds 6 7 Brad Mills 6 7 Peter McDonald 6 10 Richard Vial 5 10 Sean Vale 5 10 Liam Kelly 5 10 Stan Genakis 5 10 Josh Flemming 5 10 Stuart Dangerfield 5 16 Jonothan Cridland 3 16 Alan Bozunovic 3 16 Chris Reynolds 3 16 Chris Sutton 3 20 Michael O'Brien 2 21 Steve Wooldridge 1 21 Peter Fitzpatrick 1 C Grade Poinstcore 1 Aaron Richardson 17 pts 2 Andy Portess 9 3 Paul Watzlaff 5 4 Marko Turner 3 4 Anthony O'Brien 3 4 Chris Taylor 3 4 Mike Bolt 3 8 Karl Bellamy 1 8 Simon Parker 1 Sprint Primes 7 laps to go 1 Matthew Lucas 2 David Evans 3 Michael O'Brien 5 laps to go 1 Matthew Lucas 2 David Evans 3 John Peppard 3 laps to go 1 Tim Willing 2 Peter McDonald 3 Peter Fitzpatrick Final 1 Jose Rodriguez 2 Peter McDonald 3 Tim Willing
Local results 2004