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Sizzling Summer Series #1

Creastmead, Qld, February 12, 2006

By Cycle MOK

In what has become an institution in South East Queensland Racing, the Sizzling Summer Series held by the Logan Cycling Club has kicked off the early season in Queensland. Presented by sponsors Lifecycle, Healthworks on the River Gym, Carmens Auto Trimmers and Larkin Teys Consulting, this 4 race series held through February and March has always produced fast and furious racing, with good cash rewards for the strong men early in the race season. Adding weight to rider's participation is the knowledge that every race entry has contributed to the further success of the Amy Gillet Foundation

Over 70 riders would take the start in the Men's Elite field, with riders represented from Team Flight Centre, Team Healthworks-Cannondale, SCOTT-Spin City, Vino's-Ffast, PENSAR-UQ, Lifecycle, FRF-Caravello, Anatomic, MB Coaching, Victor-Merida and Yellow Jersey. Teams made up the majority of the race with close to 20 individuals rounding out the numbers, notably Kane Oakley of Team Cycling News- Fondriest, Former Tenax Pro and now Queensland Academy of Sport rider David Betts, Former SUBWAY pro Cameron Hughes and in form Pearl Izumi-Keywin rider Craig Mackie.

The race would take in a Kermesse-style 2km plus course and included 2 intermediate sprints. The circuit never enjoying any flat section would test the riders as they rolled, pedalled, sprinted and suffered over a blend of super fast hot mix and off camber medium gradient high speed corners, with some brickies sand thrown in for good measure. The finish was a wide open, hot mix down hill sprint with estimate speeds of 65-70km/h to be achieved by the winner.

Cycling Queensland's Chief Commissaire Joe Frendo sent off the riders and the pace was high from the get go. The first to attack was Matt Smith (MB Coaching) and with another stay in Belgium just ahead for this man, he was soon to be joined by Jon Coulter (Healthworks-Cannondale), Kane Oakley (Cycling News- Fondriest) and three other riders. With $1000 to the series winner and $250 for each race winner on offer, the group was given very little breathing room and was brought back to the super fast peloton. Ever aggressive Mark Ledgerwood (Yellow Jersey) would then launch the counter and he was joined by Jack Anderson (Pensar-UQ), Craig Mackie (Pearl Izumi-Keywin) Shem Guthrie (Team Flight Centre). This group was given some latitude over the next few kilometers, but with an ever increasing breeze on the back straight and several teams not present there collective strength was not enough to hold off the bunch.

As the four mavericks were collected by the group, the successful break was immediately formed with several known strong men going forward with no response from peleton. Stuart Cowin (Team Healthworks- Cannondale), again Craig Mackie (Pearl Izumi-Keywin) Brendan O'Connell (Victor-Merida) Peter Herzig (FRF Caravello) David Betts (QAS), Shane Gil (Gold Stars) and Shem Guthrie (Team Flight Centre) moved forward with speed and power and quickly established a sizable gap. With most of the stronger teams represented, the seven riders collective strength would ultimately mean that those left in the bunch would be racing for the minor placings. But only just!

With an obvious synergy in the breakaway, attempt after attempt was made to reel in the seven escapees. As they were surprisingly un-represented in the break, Team Yellow Jersey made their way to the front and turned it on. With Queensland's most successful rider in 2005, Kiwi come Aussie hard man Jarron Poad mustered his riders together in what were several kilometers of mega hard bike racing. Steven George, Jarron and Mark Ledgerwood entered warp speed in trying to reel in the break but the seven up front, strong, motivated and working together meant that it was not to be. Their efforts, along with the escapees contesting 2 Healthworks on the River sprint prime's allowed the bunch to eat into the leader's time significantly though, and what was once an out of site group was now only 300 meters in front at about 25 seconds at best. Taking the first Prime was Shane Gil (Gold Stars) with the second prime being taken by Healthworks-Cannondale rider Stuart Cowin

Coming into the final stage of the race, it was Brendan O'Connell (Victor-Merida) who would make his bid for victory as he found the 11 cog. A known trakie, credentialed with some good pursuiting skills, Brendan's credible attempt would be brought back by a super David Betts (QAS) and current Queensland State Road and ITT Champion Peter Herzig (FRF- Caravello). Still ever present were Stuart Cowin (Healthworks-Cannondale) and fast finisher Craig Mackie (Pearl Izumi-Keywin). Shem Guthrie (Team Flight Centre) was also still strong. The break were now presented with time keepers informing them that their once 45 second plus lead was quickly diminishing with major efforts again form the Yellow Jersey boys assisted by Malta's Commonwealth Games representative Nick Formosa (Vino's- Ffast) and Peter Garrone ( Pensar-UQ)

With O'Connell now back in the group of seven and suffering for his 11 tooth fury, counter after counter was made in the closing kilometers, with each rider looking for series leading points and dollars for their efforts, not to mention kudos. Coming into the sprint, O'Connell now shelled, Mackie, Cowin, Betts, Gil, Guthrie and Herzig must of felt the breath of the peloton as their lead had dwindled to just under 10 seconds. Rounding the corner into the finishing straight, Betts (QAS) decides that it is time for him to polish the 11 and turn the big dog, aiming directly at the finish. Glued to him is Cowin (Healthworks-Cannondale), Mackie (Pearl Izumi-Keywin) and Herzig (FRF-Caravello) with a now distant Guthrie (Flight Centre) and Gil (Goldstars). With 100 meters from the line to go, Craig Mackie ups out of the saddle and heads toward 70km/h with no answer from his fellow sprinters. Smashing the pedals, the former international made it look easy as he celebrated victory in Race 1 of the series. Race 2 of the series is scheduled for 26th February and is an 8am start for the Men's elite field, entries via CQ online, all welcome


1 Craig Mackie (Pearl Izumi-Keywin)        
2 Peter Herzig (FRF-Caravello)             
3 Stuart Cowin (Healthworks-Cannondale)    
4 David Betts (QAS)                        
5 Shem Guthrie (Flight Centre)             
6 Shane Gil (Gold Stars) that took sixth.  

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