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Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club
Heffron Park, Maroubra, NSW - November 28, 2006
It's a Fortuna family affair and another C grade win
By John Sunde
Mr FRF Couriers Frank Fortuna easily accounted for the C grade sprint when he lead home his son Anthony to make it a Fortuna one, two to give Cgrade their third overall win from five races.
At least the racing was a step up in aggression and commitment from the previous week with a solid turnout of over 70 riders all putting in from the start. B grade made a fast start and while it never looked like they were going to repeat last weeks effort of an overall win, the pace was a little more consistent with the guidance once again coming from the experienced riders like Scott Callum, Warrick Edwards, Nic Rathborne (Easts), Kevin Black (Randwick Botany), Sean Vale (Waratah), Stan Genakis (Sydney) and Alex Frame (Sutherland). Memo younger riders - your Mum's say it is OK do a turn - it won't hurt you.
At the back end of the field A grade were again down on numbers with only a dozen riders to close down the 1' 30" gap to C grade, although the return of Ben Isaksen (Lidcombe), Pete McDonald (FRf Couriers) and Stewart 'Computer' Campbell (Easts) added some weight to their cause. The regular A grade engine room of Tim Willing (Midland), Liam Kelly (Sydney) who was fresh back from smashing 11,000 Kiwis around Lake Taupo at the weekend, David Early and Alan Bozunovic (Easts), Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello) and of course tri bar convert Dave Whyman (Clarence St) were all doing their part to drive it.
The racing might have been a step up, but unfortunately like the Wallaby scrum, the fine art of handicapping still seems be a work in progress. At least Wallaby coach John Connolly can claim a shortage of quality props, but at Heffron it would appear it's just a reluctance by some riders to challenge themselves. Can't really imagine Phil Kearns ever saying, "but please coach can I play in reserve grade today." Then again maybe the handicapping is perfectly balanced which explains why C grade has won over $700 in prizemoney!
With the Randwick Botany/FRF Couriers cartel setting the pace in C grade and favourable wind conditions to help them maintain a high speed, pulling them back was always going to be a big ask for the chasing A and B grade bunches who came together just inside four laps to go. No surprise then that C grade still had a length of the straight advantage when they lined up for the sprint. Yes, handicapping can be such a complex art, especially when the same race format has only been going for 21 years.
Just like the FRF vans which carry the slogan 'we deliver the goods', company boss Frank Fortuna did exactly that when team mate Neil Morris delivered him to the line for a convincing win - if recent handicapping guidlines are anything to go by, then he could enjoy at least another five C grade wins before stepping back up to B grade. Frank even had enough time to glance over and check out how son Anthony was going. Anthony held on for second after being challenged all the way by the sole Easts rider in the top five, Mark Ardouin. Neil Morris was still in the money for fourth, while Steven Foster picked up his first envelope for fifth.
Reduced to sprinting for one place each, some of the sting went out of the A and B grade chase in the closing laps and it was a select A grade group lead out by Dave Whyman who were gunning for the A grade envelope. After going so close in previous races, it was Tim Willing who had the perfect run to the line, despite Liam Kelly and Peter McDonald trying to find a way through up the inside on the grass. A change in race strategy by Mark Stoneham (Bicisport) paid off handsomely as he left the best for last to notch up his first Tuesday night B grade win - obviously reaping the benefits of his 200km ride at the weekend.
December already and only 3 more 'sleeps' till Christmas. The next two races will be usual handicap format, then Tuesday 19th December is the big money Eastern Suburbs Trophy Race - more prize details next week. Don't forget big time pro cycling comes to Cronulla Beach on Sunday 17th December. If you haven't been invited to race with Robbie, Brownie, Benny K, Big Steve, Macca, Whitey, Mark, Gatesy, Hoppy, Brooksy and Wilo, then you've still got time to enter one of the support races on NSW Cycling
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Sunde
A Grade 1 Tim Willing (Midland) 2 Peter McDonald (FRF Couriers) 3 Liam Kelly (Sydney) B Grade 1 Mark Stoneham (Bicisport) 2 Sean Vale (Waratah) 3 John Sunde (St George) C Grade 1 Frank Fortuna (Randwick Botany) 2 Anthony Fortuna (Randwick Botany) 3 Mark Ardouin (Easts) 4 Neil Morris (Randwick Botany) 5 Steven Foster (Randwick Botany
Local results 2006