Results and Reports for February 14, 2002


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Carnegie Caulfield Track Racing

Packer Park Velodrome, Carnegie, February 14, 2002

By Mal Sawford

After a washout last week, the annual 50km Elite Points Score was postponed a week, and what a difference in weather! The temperature was still around 35 degrees at the 7pm start, not a cloud in the sky and barely a breath of wind. Perfect conditions for spectators, but the heat would be tough on the 23 riders to take to the start line for one of the premier endurance events on the domestic calendar.

Fifty kilometers equates to 135 laps of the Carnegie Caulfield velodrome, and star pursuit rider Chris Carr (SBR) obviously didn't intend to waste any of them, attacking the bunch as they rolled off. Unfortunately, the starting whistle hadn't been blown, and officials struggled to get the message through as he settled into pursuit mode! Eventually he was flagged down and the field brought back together for the official start.

The first sprint for points was scheduled for 120 laps to go; with subsequent sprints at 10 lap intervals until a double points sprint at 60 laps to travel. Only 5 laps between sprints until the finish, with the final sprint also worth double points. The prize list extended to 10th overall, with extra cash at the double points sprints, and as a bonus for the first rider to 'take a lap' from the field.

Two laps out from the first sprint, Carr slipped the field and had a good lead to take the first points on offer. Last year's winner and new Schroeder Iron signing (but riding in his Skilled Geelong Bay Series SBR Elite colours), Hilton Clarke took 2nd in an ominous sign that the fact this was his first track race in almost a year wasn't going to hold him back.

Clarke would go on to take out the next 3 sprints, miss out any points at 80 laps to go, then score the next 2 sprints including the double points sprint at the half way mark to build up an unassailable points lead: 33 points at 60 laps to go, and his nearest rivals, Forges Wheel winner Nick Sanderson and big Robbie Wilson well behind on 9 points.

After each sprint, Clarke kept the pressure on the pedals into the back straight, stringing out the field but not attracting any company to make it worthwhile to continue with a breakaway effort. Finally, after the sprint at 55 laps remaining (won by Sanderson) he forced a split, with younger brother Jonny (VIS/ProMotion Cycles) and Richard England. Lee Godfrey (VIS) charged to the head of the main field trying to pull them back, and had Brad Edmunds, Sanderson, Dean Johnstone and Dennis Bowen-Day (Grand Prix Cycles) following closely behind.

After the sprint for 50 laps to go, only 4 riders remained in the select front group; race leader Hilton Clarke, Richard England, Chris Carr and Lee Godfrey. The surge in pace saw the retirement from the race of Wilson, and Sanderson's 2nd placing in danger as the front 4 looked hell bent on taking a lap.

With the race sown up, Clarke was content to miss a few turns as his companions closed the gap to the field, and only moved forward in an effort to keep his points tally ticking over. He was taken by surprise when he accelerated to claim the prizemoney for taking the lap, with Carr going into to overdrive to snatch the prize put up by local star of yesteryear Bill Dove.

The closing laps of the race saw Jonny Clarke start to dominate, winning the sprints at 30, 20, 15 and 10 laps to go. He rode off the front with Ray Turner (Repco/Diamond Back/Park Tools), Ewin Williams and hill climbing sensation William Walker for company, while Hilton was happy to block at the front of the pack knowing he could not be beaten. Jonny was unsuccessful in taking the lap which could have vaulted him into second place, and had to settle for 5th in the end, 1 lap down. His 'error' in riding an 88" gear (he planned on using the same 90" gear as his brother) paid off as his legs stayed fresh as the heat took its toll on the majority of riders in the field.

Fittingly, the two brothers regrouped to contest the final sprint ahead of the tiring remnants of the bunch, with Hilton allowing Jonny to take the double points, while he crossed the line with both arms in the air saluting the appreciative crowd. Such was the sprinting domination of the Clarke brothers that only 7 riders completed the race with more than 10 points, as they took out all but 4 sprint wins.

The countback for 10th place proved very interesting with 5 riders on 2 points, 1 lap down. Edmunds and Williams lost out by not having a 3rd place finish, and the verdict went to Johnstone who just finished ahead of the cagey Doug Garley (Terry Hammond Cycles) and Turner. Garley knew the money would go to whoever did best in the final sprint, but didn't quite have the legs to get over Johnstone on the line.

Hilton and Jonny will officially team up to try to win the Victorian 50km Madison Title, to be held as part of the Warragul Cycling Carnival this weekend. On tonight's form, they are going to take some beating!


Race time: 1:06:10 (45.3 km/h)

1 Hilton Clarke (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)     69 (9 sprint wins)
2 Lee Godfrey (Geelong West CC)                     20
3 Chris Carr (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)        14 (1 sprint win)
4 Richard England (Blackburn CC)                    10

1 lap down

5 Jonny Clarke (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)      42 (6 sprint wins)
6 Nick Sanderson (Ararat CC)                        29 (3 sprint wins)
7 William Walker (Brunswick CC)                     14
8 Andrew Mason (Bendigo CC)                         4
9 Dennis Bowen-Day (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)  3
10 Dean Johnstone (Balance Carnegie Caulfield CC)   2


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