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Brindabella Challenge - NE

ACT, Australia, December 2-4, 2005

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Event 1 - December 2: Criterium (postponed to December 4)

McDonald gives FRF-Caravello a 'real' victory

By Jeff Jones in Fyshwick

After claiming what could be termed a 'virtual' victory in the scratch race the previous day with future team member Troy Glennan (MG X-Power/Bigpond), FRF-Caravello dominated Sunday's points race criterium with Peter McDonald amassing the most points ahead of Michael Tolhurst (Canberra CC). The pair had attacked on the first lap, together with McDonald's FRF teammate Brendan Jones, and cleaned up the points as most of the remaining bunch comprised FRF and Canberra CC riders.

The races were held as a substitute for the washed out criteriums on Friday night, and attracted a sizeable entry list spread across five grades. But the course was nowhere near as kind as the one in Canberra's CBD. Held in a wetlands area in Fyshwick, to the east of Canberra, it was a classic hotdog circuit. It measured 2 km and had two U-turns at each end. Added to this was the strong crosswind that was blowing all day, which quickly fragmented the bunches and favoured attacking riders. Finally, the race was run in a points format, with a sprint at the end of each lap for 2 and 1 points, the final sprint being worth 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

The lower grades fought it out first, with Lewis Gough beating Shane Scott by 3 points to win B grade; Hamish Nicol scoring 10 points to pip Richard Bourne (9 pts) and Ben Curtis (5 pts) in C grade; Mark Stevenson tieing with Simon Pellatt on 7 points but being declared the winner of D grade; and Grant Chellew (11 pts) comfortably beating Christopher Dean (6 pts) and David McCook (4 pts) to claim the E grade honours.

The A grade field was made up of just 17 riders, and with FRF-Caravello starting with six, and Canberra CC with another half dozen or so, there was not much on offer for the rest, despite the presence of MG X-Power/Bigpond powerhouse Rob McLachlan. After a flat out sprint from the start to get to the first U-turn, the pace settled down for the first lap until Peter McDonald, Brendan Jones (FRF-Caravello) and Michael Tolhurst (Canberra CC) attacked just before the finish line to clean up the first points. The three quickly gained a gap as FRF and Canberra immediately shut down the race, and it was basically all over.

There were some attempts to chase the three leaders, but a lack of coordination and numbers proved to be too much. However, a group of four managed to split off the front with two more FRF riders: Joe McDonnell and Robbie Cater making it, and they picked up Brendan Jones late in the race to make it five. The remainder of the riders dangled tantalisingly 20 seconds behind the second group, with Rob McLachlan and John 'Pothole' Forrest keeping everyone in the gutter and out of reach of the groups in front.

The chase was academic anyway, as McDonald and Tolhurst were a minute up the road and gaining with every lap. McDonald was the stronger of the pair, and had the race in the bag even before the final sprint for 5 points, which he won anyway. Tolhurst was satisfied with second while Brendan Jones had done enough early on in the race to claim third place ahead of Cater, Pearson and McDonnell. Four FRF-Caravellos in the top six capped off a solid weekend for Australia's newest Continental team.


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Images by Gerard Knapp/Cyclingnews


A Grade
1 Peter McDonald          24 pts
2 Michael Tolhurst        13
3 Brendan Jones            5
4 Rob Cater                3
5 Joel Pearson             2
6 Joe MacDonnell           1
B Grade
1 Lewis Gough             11 pts
2 Shane Scott              8
3 Antony Bishop            7
4 Bradley Morton           4
5 Matthew Meisel-Dennis    3
6 Tom Palmer               3
7 Hugh Kimber              2
8 Neil Skipper             2
C Grade
1 Hamish Nicol            10 pts
2 Richard Bourne           9
3 Ben Curtis               5
4 Simon Gallagher          4
5 Christopher Short        4
6 David Dickson            3
7 Darren Robbie            3
8 Howard Galloway          2
9 Gregory Nelson           2
D Grade
1 Mark Stevenson           7 pts
2 Simon Pellatt            7
3 Jim Veal                 4
4 Phil Anderson            3
5 David Hamer              3
6 Kevin Hennessy           2
7 Peter Mclennan           2
8 Ally Roche               2
9 Heath Chester            1
E Grade
1 Grant Chellew           11 pts
2 Christopher Dean         6
3 David Mccook             4
4 Michelle Wainwright      3
5 Paul Duckworth           2
6 John Warren              2
7 Michael Kumala           1
8 Kay Pendlebury           1

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