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Murwillumbah Cycle Club
October 12, 2002
Burger leads in limit group
By Phil Ruge
The road races held on Saturday by the Murwillumbah Cycle Club were over the 55 kilometres of the Upper Crystal Creek course.
This route takes riders out through Chillingham to Numinbah before returning via Upper Crystal Creek to the finish at Dulguigan. Numerous hills and sections of narrow, twisting road mean that good riding skills and race tactics are necessary to do well in these events.
Due to a smaller number of riders this week a handicap format was adopted for the A to D Grade race with E Grade having a separate scratch race.
The handicap groups were limit, 8 minutes, 16 minutes, 23 minutes and 26 minutes. The 5 riders in the limit group got away smartly and worked well together until Boat Harbour where one of the riders was dropped. The rest of the group were undeterred and pushed on to the first turn around point at Numinbah.
The 8 minute group also got away to a quick start but despite sharing the work the pace was too much for one rider who was dropped before Chillingham. This group also pushed on towards Numinbah but by this point had only gained 2 minutes on the limit riders. The 16 minute bunch had in turn dropped a couple of riders on the outward leg of the course and had also only gained a couple of minutes on the front groups by Numinbah.
Both the 23 and 26 minute groups picked up the pace quickly with the 2 scratch riders catching the 23 minute group at Chillingham. Despite their efforts this larger group only managed to gain 4 minutes on the 16 minute bunch by Numinbah but pressed on after them towards Crystal Creek.
By the turn around at Upper Crystal Creek the limit group still held a 5 minute lead and were looking comfortable for a good finish. This was only marred by Jim Higgins having a puncture shortly afterwards but the remaining riders kept going towards the finish. There were 3 riders in the 8 minute group by this point but they picked up Jim who shared the work on the way home. Both of the following groups had gained a minute or so again by this turn around and kept up their efforts in a desperate attempt to chase down the front runners.
Unfortunately it was not to be with the remaining riders in the limit group crossing the finish line some 4 minutes ahead of the next group. First home was club stalwart Dennis Burger with Chris Bonner second and Stuart Johnson third. First across the line from the 8 minute group was Tom Allen to claim fourth spot with Frank Schirmer close behind for fifth. Fastest time went to Ashley Bryant from the scratch bunch at 1 hour 25 minutes for an average speed of 38.8 kilometres per hour.
The 5 starters in E Grade raced over 36 kilometres to Chillingham and return. Melanie King set the race on its ear by breaking away over Kaehler's Hill on the way out. Melanie rode strongly to gradually increase her lead over the next 30 kilometres to win by 3 minutes from Dave Burns who was the first of the other riders to finish.
Racing next week will be over the tough Nobbys Creek course. Start time is 2.00 pm from Pat Smith Park, Dulguigan. The next club meeting will be at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 16 October 2002 at the Tweed Tavern, Murwillumbah.
1 Dennis Burger (Murwillumbah) 1.44 (31.8 km/hr) 2 Chris Bonner (CATS) 3 Stuart Johnson (Murwillumbah) 4 Tom Allen (Murwillumbah) 5 Frank Schirmer (Murwillumbah) Fastest time - Ashley Bryant (Murwillumbah) 1.25 (38.8 km/hr) E Grade 36km 1 Melanie King (Murwillumbah) 1.12 (30 km/hr) 2 Dave Burns (Murwillumbah)