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Carnegie Caulfield CC
Springvale Necropolis, February 11, 2003
Sprint decides A Grade in favour of Wilksch
By Malcolm Sawford
Were your ears burning yesterday? Melbourne talk back radio's topic of the day was the allegedly inappropriate use of Australia's largest cemetery as a venue for bicycle racing. Despite the sudden controversy, 135 cyclists, the vast majority of whom have family or friends memorialized in the beautiful grounds, took part in the regular twilight Criteriums. The Club's decision to race at the Necropolis was not taken lightly, and involved a lengthy consultation process with the local council, Department of Youth, Sport & Recreation, the management of the facility and inspection of the grounds to make sure that our presence would have no impact on the grave sites or memorial areas.
Many people have been a little surprised at first at the concept, but after visiting the racing held after normal operating hours, have left happy that cyclists and spectators alike are treating the grounds with the reverence they deserve.
The A Grade race around the 2.5km Memorial Gardens circuit produced the first bunch sprint for the Elite riders this season despite the best efforts of a number of riders to continue the breakaway trend. Michael Gill, a former Junior State champion on the comeback trail after knee trouble, was the first to open a gap 15 minutes in, but even with the assistance of Paul Anders after a lap out front the attack was short lived.
The most dangerous escape of the day came from BikeNOW team mates Barcelona Olympian Robert Crowe and Rob Wilson, with track ace Todd Wilksch (Fitzroy Cycles) quick to join in. The trio held an advantage of up to 20 seconds during the middle stages of the race, but some strong chasing from David Sturt (SBR) and Dean Johnstone eventually saw the bunch regain contact.
The bunch stayed together until the final lap, when Anders made one last effort, but in the end the sprinters ruled, with the top placings going to the members of the day's big breakaway. In a tight sprint led out by Crowe, Wilksch took the win by half a wheel from Wilson and Crowe, with Michael Gill a bike length behind.
No luck for the sprinters in B Grade, with four riders going clear early, and finishing nearly half a lap clear after 55 minutes of racing. David Taylor, Tyrin Simpson, Echuca rider Doug Muller and Bryan Walsh combined well before a strong sprint from Taylor saw the recently promoted rider earn his first B Grade win. In the very competitive Women's division, Emma Rickards (SBR) showed a welcome return to form with a good sprint win over World number 6 Priska Doppmann and Helen Kelly.
The sprinters had to settle for the minor places in C Grade, after two riders broke away on the hilly Avenue of Roses circuit and were never seen again. Visiting Kiwi Gerard O'Flynn and Brendan Leihy were clear by 30 seconds at the finish, and despite their best efforts to engineer a dead heat, vindictive finish line judges gave the win to O'Flynn!
Alex Smyth opened a small gap up the hill on the final lap, and held on by a couple of lengths to snatch third ahead of the charging bunch led home by Lee Robinson. Alex Reinheir was the best placed Woman in the bunch, outsprinting Cheryl Hickman to cap off a good ride.
Andrew Stewart won the D Grade bunch sprint, and earned a ride in C Grade next week, getting the better of Dirt Riders President Chris Beales at the finish. Experts concluded that the turbulence from Beales' helmet visor had cost him the win! Russell Forbes and Under 15 star Peter Johnstone filled the minor places, with Gemma Goyne taking the Women's race ahead of Melissa Nichols.
Apologies to Scott Peoples, winner of Sunday's D Grade race at Glenvale Crescent, with officials managing to confuse the Shepparton youngster with the somewhat more experienced Phil Doran! At least the prize money ended up in the right hands!
Thursday night sees the running if the Club's major track race, the annual 50km Points Score. With $1000 prizemoney up for grabs, the event always attracts the cream of Victoria's endurance riders and is great spectator event. The main race kicks off at 6.00pm with the main race at 7.00pm at the Packer Park Velodrome in Leila St, Carnegie, and entries are still available on the night.
Criterium racing continues every Tuesday night on the circuit, with the Police Road gate (Melways Map 80 G6) opens at 6pm for race starts for all grades at 6.30. Criteriums are also held on Sunday mornings at Glenvale Crescent (Melways Map 80 B2) with a 9am start time. Next Sunday only (February 9th )the A and B Grade categories will be held as part of the St Kilda Festival, at the corner of Beach Road and Fitzroy Streets between 9am and 1pm. C, D and E grades will be held at the normal 9am start time at Glenvale Crescent.
All holders of current Cycling Australia licenses are welcome (don't forget to bring your license or receipt!) at all Carnegie Caulfield races, and non-members can have a go by taking out a three-race license for $33, deductible from your full membership if you decide to continue racing. Our continued thanks go to the Trustees of the Necropolis for making the fabulous facility available to Melbourne's racing community.
A Grade (1 hour+ 3 laps) 29 starters 1 Todd Wilksch (Horsham CC) 2 Robert Wilson (Footscray CC) 3 Robert Crowe (Carnegie Caulfield CC)) 4 Michael Gill (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 5 Guy Green (Blackburn CC) 6 Matt Jackson (Carnegie Caulfield CC) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 29 starters 1 David Taylor (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Tyrin Simpson (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Doug Muller (Echuca-Moama CC) 4 Bryan Walsh (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women 1 Emma Rickards (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Priska Doppmann (Switzerland) C Grade (50 mins + 3 laps) 38 starters 1 Gerard O'Flynn (New Zealand) 2 Brendan Leihy (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 3 Alex Smyth (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Lee Robinson (Carnegie Caulfield CC) D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 31 starters 1 Andrew Stewart (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 2 Chris Beales (Dirt Riders CC) 3 Russell Forbes (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Peter Johnstone (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) Women 1 Gemma Goyne (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Melissa Nichols (Carnegie Caulfield CC) E Grade (40 mins + 3 laps) 8 starters 1 Simon Lancaster (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Steve Gibson (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Jason Rushen (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Neale Adams (Carnegie Caulfield CC)