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Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club
Heffron Park, Sydney, December 6, 2005
Speed machine Steve Fitzpatrick, again.
By John Sunde
St George speed machine Steve Fitzpatrick unleashed another impressive finishing performance to win outright honours for the second consecutive week when he led home a small A grade break after all three grades had come together on the final lap. Hot, fast conditions prevailed for Tuesday night's race, and with a slightly smaller field of only 80 riders, the pace was fast across all three grades with A grade clocking the fastest 15 laps of the season.
C grade almost had a sniff of victory in the closing laps but there were just too many big hitters in the A grade bunch with victors from last weekend's Brindabella road race Troy Glennan (FRF/Caravello) and mountain bike race Peter Hatton (Clarence St Cyclery) both very prominent in keeping the pace honest. B grade even made a race of it in the opening laps after reborn B-grader, Paul Rowney (Easts) found his Olympic legs and frequently had the bunch in the hurt box. Must have been the pre race pep talk from his team manager DS Concy.
It didn't matter in the end as the A grade juggernaut swept past B grade at three laps to go and continued to apply the pressure, with Randwick Botany duo Robbie Cater and Liam Kelly doing their bit on the front. In amongst all this, the St George track trio of Steve and Peter Fitzpatrick and Gavin Bates were biding their time, sitting on the right wheels, moving up when they needed to and riding with skill that has produced a host of champions in red and white over the years.
C grade weren't caught until the last 'pimple' and in the mayhem of Robbie Cater jumping up the inside and Liam Kelly leading the remainder of the strung out A and B grade bunch up the outside, a small group of six hit the straight in the clear. After an early charge from Benny Isaksen (Lidcombe) it was speed machine Steve Fitzpatrick who once again showed a clean pair of heals to cap off a superbly ridden closing lap. The top five placings were almost the same names from last week in a different order, with Benny Isaksen leading home Pete Fitzpatrick and Robbie Cater, while Stewart Campbell edged out Liam Kelly for fifth spot.
The race wasn't over yet as the charge for the coveted king of B grade was still being played out. Timing is an important part of claiming the B grade title especially when the closing laps are raced at maximum pace. This weeks king Alan 'Bobo' Bozunovic (Easts) timed it to perfection when he celebrated his first win on his new, sleek looking custom Trek Madone SL. Karl Jenner (Easts) made it 2 wins for Easts, you happy now Frank, when he was able to hold on to an earlier break he had on the last lap and he must now be getting very excited about his imminent promotion to B grade.
The racing has been as demanding and exciting as any season over the past 20 years, the pre race, sideline and post race dramas have continued to reach new levels of notoriety and all of a sudden next weeks race is the last handicap race prior to Xmas. The final race of 2005 of course is the following week when the prestigious annual Eastern Suburbs Trophy Race will be held, but more on that next week.
1 Steve Fitzpatrick (St George) 2 Ben Isaksen (Lidcombe Auburn) 3 Peter Fitzpatrick (St George) 4 Robert Cater (Randwick Botany) 5 Stewart Campbell (Easts) B Grade Alan Bozunovic (Easts) C Grade Karl Jenner (Easts)
Local results 2004