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Riverland CC

Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club invitational, September 2-3, 2006

Ward Powers to Victory

Lee Stevens
Photo ©: Amanda Steele
(Click for larger image)

Five Riverland Cycling Club members returned home triumphant after participating in an invitational event hosted by the Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club on the weekend with each rider receiving at least one major placing over the two days of competition.

The invitational consisted of a 66km handicapped road race staged along the Werrimull Rd on Saturday afternoon and a 2.2km Kermesse along the Mildura riverside on the Sunday morning. The events were held as support races to the Tour of the Murray, which forms part of the Tattersall's Cup series.

RCC President Bob Pankhurst, himself a former veteran of professional racing, was the first of the RCC members to set off as part of a 3-man limit group. Leaving at 12 minutes, Mick Gray and Craig Ward loomed ominous in their 8-man 3rd -limit grouping. Gray was looking fit on the back of his fastest time victory in Veterans racing Port Broughton last weekend, as did Ward who recorded a PB in a club time trial last Sunday.

Craig Ward
Photo ©: Amanda Steele
(Click for larger image)

At 14:15 minutes, Josh Steele joined 5 others in the pursuit to catch the leaders and at 16:30 minutes, 2005 RCC Club Champion Lee Stevens was the last of the Riverlanders to leave, taking his place among the elite in the 5-man chopping block group.

Many riders struggled to maintain their fluid levels and positions as a hot north-westerly cross-wind brought in a humid change. Pankhurst was passed at 20km, Ward was nearly dropped from his grouping several times and Steele’s group became fragmented after only 20 minutes. Stevens was one of only 2 chopping block riders to latch on to the scratch riders as they stormed past on their outward run and after repeated surges, Stevens and Steele lost their placings.

The 12 minute bunch were too strong for the rest of the field and at 500m to go, Ward surged, leading fellow visiting Horsham rider Gerard O’Brien and Gray. Ward, who has less than a year of competitive road cycling experience, looked all the more impressive as he steamrolled across the line, easily beating O’Brien who claimed 2nd , and Gray who claimed 3rd .

Riverland Riders Reign Supreme

Mick Gray
Photo ©: Amanda Steele
(Click for larger image)

A graded Kermesse on was held on Sunday morning as a precursor to the main event, the 11th and last stage of the Tour of the Murray.

Stevens was the first RCC rider off the mark, taking his place in the A-Grade bunch. Stevens kept his focus and bode his time until the final stretch, when he positioned himself to execute a successful sprint for 2nd place behind M-CCC Veteran Kevin Tankard.

Steele and Ward were in a strong B-Grade line-up. Steele narrowly missed out on a sprint bonus during the 35 minute race and Ward was narrowly defeated by Kelly within the last few metres, but was content with his 2^nd placing to go alongside the win on Saturday. Steele continued RCC’s good luck and claimed 3rd .

Gray easily outclassed his fellow C-Grade riders in his 30 minute race, powering around the rest of the field to claim the sprint bonus and a comfortable 1st place.

Josh Steele.
Photo ©: Amanda Steele
(Click for larger image)

The D-Grade group included Pankhurst, who looked strong over the undulating and technically difficult course. Cheered on by club supporters and a swelling crowd he sprinted to claim yet another RCC placing to take 2nd.

Fellow RCC rider Hamish MacKirdy, who was competing in the Tour of the Murray, raced the final stage of the Tour on the same Kermesse course later in the day. MacKirdy had to withdraw from the stage as the culmination of the effects of 6 days of racing at frantic pace took its toll. MacKirdy was overall very satisfied with his results in the Tour, which took riders from Echuca to Mildura.

Next weeks racing will be held on the Cooltong circuit, starting on the Old Wentworth Rd at 9:15am. All interested riders are invited to attend. For further information, visit

Local results 2006