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Randwick Botany Cycling Club Centenary Races
Heffron Park, November 15, 2003
100 years and still rolling
By Tony Horneman
Perfect weather greeted over 200 junior and senior riders at the Randwick Botany Cycling Club 100-year Centenary Race Day on Saturday.
Randwick Botany CC was formed in 1903 as Ascot Cycling Club when local interest in the new sport of bicycle racing was sparked by a race from the city to La Perouse via Botany. The club staged road races in various locations in the eastern suburbs for more than 70 years before moving to its current home at Heffron Park, Maroubra, in 1976, where the Centenary Race was conducted.
Seven events were staged, starting with the U9/U11 Handicap over 6km. Under 9 riders Brett Meindertsma (Hinchinbrook), Michael Docker (Lidcombe Auburn) and Jordon Wilson (Manning Valley) showed a thorough understanding of handicap racing by working together to keep the Under 11s well behind them. The Under 11s fragmented as they tried to make up the 1min 30sec time gap. The Under 9 trio took the first three places.
The U13/U15 Handicap over 8km was much closer, with the older boys catching the younger ones in the closing stages. Randwick Botany juniors Luke Davison and Adriano Maradini rode strongly but finished just out of the placings. Alex Carver (Lidcombe Auburn) was first, followed by Cullam Docker (Lidcombe Auburn), Justin Meindertsma (Hinchinbrook), Nicholas Spratt (Penrith Panthers). The fastest time was recorded by Nicholas Spratt.
In the U17 Scratch Race, riders raced for 25 minutes, then completed 3 laps. Anthony Bennett (Auburn Lidcombe) proved too strong finishing first followed by Gregory Beer (Penrith Panthers), Christopher Guillan (Southern Cross), Jackson-Leigh Rathbone (Penrith Panthers) and Keegan Aitchison (Southern Cross). Cheeky Monkey Cycle Shop sponsored two sprint 'primes' during the race which were won by Anthony Bennett and Jackson-Leigh Rathbone. Both riders were presented with colourful Cheeky Monkey jerseys.
A strong field of Elite and Masters women lined up for the 30km Handicap race for the $500 first prize. Time gaps were worn away by mid-race with most riders together for the later stages. Randwick Botany rider Suzi Jackson mixed it with the top riders including 2003 Australian National Road Series Champion - Kate Nichols (St George) and Australian Time Trial Champion and NSW Roadwoman of the Year - Natalie Bates (Parramatta CC). Kate Bates (Parramatta) greeted the judges with a two-handed salute as she crossed the line just ahead of Kate Nichols, Jessica Ridder (Bathurst), Skye-Lee Armstrong (Parramatta) and Amanda Spratt (Penrith Panthers).
120 Open B, C and D Grade riders came together for a huge 30km handicap. With so may riders on the 2km circuit, eight groups were started 30sec apart. The large field started to come together mid-race when Randwick Botany Club President John Buckton make a strong breakaway on lap 6 and was joined by Frank Fortuna (St George/FRF Couriers). The pair put 50m on the peloton, but sat up to when they saw the 'scratch' bunch making their move. Half the field remained to fight out the closing stages, clocking over 50kmh down the straight assisted by a northern breeze. Judges required the use of video images to determine the winner of the race. Cycling NSW State Manager Tom Skulander was the 'video ref' who declared John Kenny (Eastern Suburbs) winner, only centimeters ahead of Matthew Lucas (Randwick Botany). Both riders lunged for the line. Jerzy Sowa (Poland), Roland Lang (Waratah Veterans), Paul Hanley (Canberra) filled the minor placings.
The highlight of the race program was a historic Pennyfarthing race. Alan Sumner from the Dulwich Hill club was kind enough to arrange six Pennyfarthing bicycles for the 4km race. Triple world champion Pennyfarthing rider Phillip Dixon (Bicicsport) lined up with the other hopefuls. It was a marvelous sight to see the Pennyfarthings going along the tight Heffron Park circuit on their solid rubber tyres and no brakes! Flying down the final straight, the riders legs were a blur as they jokied for the best line to the finish line. Patrick Jones (Randwick Botany) boots slipped off the pedals with 100m to go, allowing Phil Dixon to take another win in his Pennyfarthing racing career. Third place went to Dean Preddy (Eastern Suburbs) with George Pappas (Dulwich Hill) fourth.
Dixon backed up for the final race of the day, on a more modern road bike (with brakes) for the Elite Men 50min plus 3 laps race.
The who's-who of Elite riders lined up to compete for $1000 first place, including Australian U23 Time Trial Champion Shaun Higgerson (FRF Couriers / Randwick Botany), Australian Time Trial Champion and NSW Roadman of the Year Peter Milostic (FRF Couriers), World Masters Champion Liam Kelly (Randwick Botany) and Rodney McGee (Parramatta) from the NSWIS-FDJeux.com team. The King of Heffron Park - Anthony Spurgeon (Team Caravello) also raced. Three groups formed during the race with the front group recording a 2min 51sec lap mid-race. That's over 42kmh average speed. NSWIS-FDJeux.com team members Chris Sutton and Rodney McGee, supported by Richard Moffet and Dave Tanner, worked together during the race which put Sutton across the line first, followed by Brad Mills (Clarence Street), Luis Trueba (Lidcombe Auburn), Jose Rodriguez (Eastern Suburbs) and Rodney McGee.
Racing was followed by a fully catered Centenary Celebration Dinner in a marquee at Heffron Park. Special guests included long-time President of Cycling NSW Alex Fulcher, current Cycling NSW President Robert Bates, SBS Sport Presenter Michael Tomalaris and 80-year-old Phyllis Gilbert, the daughter of Snow Wilson, who served as Club Secretary for 34 years from 1934. The master or ceremonies for the evening was club member Chris White.
The event was sponsored by the Newington Inn - Petersham, DS Labels, Cheeky Monkey Cycle Company, FRF Couriers, Probikekit.com, Jan and Cohen Real Estate, Caravello Joinery, Kellogg's, Swift Solutions, Cadbury Schweppes, Europa Cycles and Phyllis Gilbert.
A Grade, 50min + 3 lap 1 Chris Sutton (St George) 2 Brad Mills (Clarence Street) 3 Luis Trueba (Lidcombe Auburn) 4 Jose Rodriguez (Eastern Suburbs) 5 Rodney McGee (Parramatta) Pennyfarthing Race 4km 1 Phillip Dixon (Bicisport) 2 Patrick Jones (Randwick Botany) 3 Dean Preddy (Eastern Suburbs) 4 George Pappas (Dulwich Hill) BCD Handicap 30km 1 John Kenny (Eastern Suburbs) 2 Matthew Lucas (Randwick Botany) 3 Jerzy Sowa (Poland) 4 Roland Lang (Waratah Veterans) 5 Paul Hanley (Canberra) Fastest: John Kenny Women Handicap 30km 1 Kate Bates (Parramatta) 2 Kate Nichols (St George) 3 Jessica Ridder (Bathurst) 4 Skye-Lee Armstrong (Parramatta) 5 Amanda Spratt (Penrith Panthers) Fastest: Kate Bates
U17 25min + 3 laps 1 Anthony Bennett (Auburn Lidcombe) 2 Gregory Beer (Penrith Panthers) 3 Christopher Guillan (Southern Cross) 4 Jackson-Leigh Rathbone (Penrith Panthers) 5 Keegan Aitchison (Southern Cross) Prime 1: Anthony Bennett Prime 2: Jackson-Leigh Rathbone U13/U15 Handicap 8km 1 Alex Carver (Lidcombe Auburn) 2 Cullam Docker (Lidcombe Auburn) 3 Justin Meindertsma (Hinchinbrook) 4 Nicholas Spratt (Penrith Panthers) Fastest: Nicholas Spratt U9/U11 Handicap 6km 1 Brett Meindertsma (Hinchinbrook) 2 Michael Docker (Lidcombe Auburn) 3 Jordon Wilson (Manning Valley) 4 Phillip Arias (Hinchinbrook) Fastest: Phillip Arias