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Heffron Park, Sydney, November 3, 2004

The Handicapper, Big Tom, Little Nick and The Doc...

By John Sunde

Summertime evening racing returned to Sydney's Heffron Park on Tuesday night when the 19th season of Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club's popular 30km group handicap criterium kicked off under heavy skies. Over 60 riders turned up for the first race of the summer with many new faces amongst the familiar ones who seem to just keep coming back year after year.

The other familiar ring was all the pleading like, "Put me in C grade, I haven't been training much", "I got dropped from that grade last time"...however it fell on deaf ears, as the man with form guide, Handicapper Frank Conceicao made his own decisions, which meant some riders found themselves with an armchair ride and some riders discovered their race was over after 2 laps.

C grade usually contains the riders with the widest range of abilities, but when a breakaway group of about six riders simply rode away from the rest of the bunch and actually started gaining on B grade, it was obvious C grade was going to take a lot of catching. The breakaway was joined halfway through the race by Rodney Menendez and Tom Reid and from then on, there was no looking back. At the bell, Big Tom Reid, who only started racing last year, launched the winning move when he attacked the break into the headwind and held them off for a solid solo victory in only his second outing at Heffron Park. Sebastian Trueba led the rest of break home as they gobbled up the top five placings and the money.

Meanwhile at the rear of the field and out of sight, a solid A grade bunch led by old hands, Anthony Spurgeon, Stewart Campbell and Liam Kelly caught an out of sorts B grade with six laps to go. Although the last few laps hotted up a little, the real pace of the finale was missing as the remaining backmarkers only had one place for each grade to claim. When a small group of four edged away on the last lap, it looked like the winning move until some hesitation crept in during the last headwind effort. Capitalising on a dream run from behind, Cyclingnews Editor and bronze medallist in this year's cycling Journalist World's, Doc Jeff Jones, launched the winning move to stay away for the A grade win.

In the bunch gallop behind, regular A grade placegetter in Randwick Botany's Saturday Heffron Park races, Nick Rathborne showed how a good handicap can pay off when he easily outsprinted the remaining B grade riders to win B grade.

A reminder to all riders that Tuesday night racing starts promptly at 6pm and that you must be entered and SIGNED ON by 5.50pm. A current Cycling Australia licence is mandatory, however any donations to the Handicapper's retirement fund are purely optional.



1 Tom Reid (Easts)
2 Sebastian Treuba (Penrith Panthers)
3 Karl Bellamy (Randwick Botany)
4 Steve Orfanas (Sydney)
5 Sean O'Neill (Randwick Botany)
1st A Grade: Jeff Jones (Randwick Botany)
1st B Grade: Nick Rathborne (Easts)

Local results 2004