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Chillingham, February 1, 2003
Drought breaks over first road race of 2003
By Phil Ruge
After months of dry weather Saturday was wet and humid for the first race of
the new road season for the Murwillumbah Cycle Club.
The rain reduced the number of starters to just 33 spread over 5 grades from
A to E. Given the wet conditions the race was reduced to 36 kilometres to Chillingham
and return with everyone advised to ride carefully in the slippery conditions.
E Grade with 4 starters were first away and set a steady pace towards Chillingham
in the rain. Both Alan Sultman and young Jackson Wardrop did the lion's share
of the work in this race and eventually pulled away from the other riders. They
continued to share the work right to the finish where a long sprint saw Jackson
just get to the line for first with Alan in a close second place.
D Grade had a good field of 10 riders at the start but these were reduced when
several riders suffered flat tyres in the wet conditions. The remainder of the
field were undeterred and maintained a good pace with most riders sharing the
work. On the return run there were several attacks but none were successful
and the bunch were together for a sprint finish. At the end Jeff Baston held
off the others for first place with young Lee Hall in second spot for his first
ride in D Grade! Third home was Lindsay Crisp followed by Tom Allen and Stuart
Despite having only 5 starters C Grade got underway quickly but sensibly in
the wet conditions. This group stayed much together as well throughout their
race with only a late surge by Tim Beck and Sam Tate breaking up this group.
Tim and Sam used the resultant gap to their advantage to stay clear and finish
in that order. Third home shortly after was Mike McCall.
B Grade had a good field of 9 riders. This group kept up a constant pace with
Brian Richards and John Anderson frequently at the business end of the race.
Despite their efforts the bunch were together coming back towards Dulguigan
with a sprint finish looking more likely as each kilometre slipped by. In the
final straight Tony Sunderland drew away to take first place with Paul Howard
and Craig Reston close behind to claim second and third places respectively.
The 5 riders in A Grade also set off at a constant pace in the wet conditions.
However, this was too slow for Rob Lyte who broke away at Kaehler's Hill and
rode strongly to build up a lead of some 30 seconds by Chillingham. Unfortunately
all his hard worked came to nothing as he had the only fall of the day at Crystal
Creek on the way home. Whilst he wasn't hurt he was out of the race which opened
things up for the other riders. They kept together until the finish where Stephen
Storer sprinted clear for first with Dean Heathcote second and Chris Thompson
Racing next week will be over 45 kilometres (weather permitting!) To Chillingham
and Upper Crystal Creek. Start time is 3.00 pm (NSW) from Pat Smith Park, Dulguigan.
Any enquiries can be directed to Dennis Burger on (02) 66 743166 or Jim Higgins
on (02) 66 723620.
1 Jackson Wardrop (GoldStars) 1.11 (30.5 km/hr)
2 Alan Sultman (Murwillumbah)
1 Jeff Baston 1.03 (34 km/hr)
2 Lee Hall (GoldStars)
3 Lindsay Crisp (Murwillumbah)
4 Tom Allen (Murwillumbah)
5 Stuart McPherson (Murwillumbah)
1 Tim Beck (Murwillumbah) 1.00 (36 km/hr)
2 Sam Tate (Murwillumbah)
3 Mike McCall (Murwillumbah)
1 Tony Sunderland (Murwillumbah) 0.56 (39 km/hr)
2 Paul Howard (Murwillumbah)
3 Craig Reston (Murwillumbah)
1 Stephen Storer (GoldStars) 0.54 (39.5 km/hr)
2 Dean Heathcote (Gold Coast)
3 Chris Thompson