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Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club Winter Championship
August 10, 2002
Terrific Tankard Still Top Dog
By Peter Winton
In a thrilling three rider bunch sprint, Kevin "the big engine" Tankard took out the MCCC Open Championship on Saturday, August 10, 2002. In a close second was Chris Baudry from Rob McNally one second further behind. Viewing the stirring finish from head on it appeared Rob McNally was to finally have "his day" when he grabbed the wheel of the leading Baudry at the 200m mark. Not to be outdone however, Kevin Tankard rushed down the right-hand side almost at the instant McNally stormed over Baudry 100m out. This barnstorming sprint by Tankard distracted McNally momentarily, enough to grab the lead and in the closing metres Baudry was able to find something extra to get over his challenger and finish in the number two spot.
On a day of 26 degrees Celsius and a strengthening northerly wind, 21 riders took part in the Club's winter championship held at the "Riverside" circuit. In recent years this event has become a combination of the Open and the Veterans championship. The "two races in one" spectacle is over the 10 km circuit of the home base and provides for a 4km "fast" section followed by a 3km pay-back of headwind and hungrier bitumen to tear the guts out of tyres and legs
The so-called neutral first lap (at 38 km/h) allowed the lower ranked cyclists a chance to warm their legs but came loaded with anticipation as to when "Crazy" was going to attack. It was never a secret that he would, but where? Chris didn't let anyone down, he was off within 200m of the end of lap one with three little surges. Not until the Palms Caravan Park was it that Ian Beruldsen and Rob McNally joined the crazy one out the front and shared a 70m gap. The peloton was not panicking, instead waiting for the "big engine" to make his move. At the 4km mark on lap two he did, from somewhere near the rear, the race had "officially" started. The attrition rate of riders was almost instant.
The Tankard effort to close the gap broke the peloton like a stone through a window pane, there was rider debris all over. Nathan Welsh uttering vomiting noises, blocked the president in getting the wheel of Peter Mills, those behind him would have been struggling as Tankard, Pollock, Dwyer, Shipsides and Mills worked like soldier ants to claw back the stay-away trio. A bunch of five, Wightwick, Brade, Liddle, Phillips and Winton then had the unenviable task of catching up as the lead group were joined by the strong pack led by Tankard. As hard as they rode and gained valuable metres, Baudry would attack and raise the intensity of the leading bunch and send the chase bunch back a further 100 metres. Soon, Wightwick had enough and sought refuge by the way-side. Dwyer had been spat out by the leaders and the chase pack offered him a spot in their number but he decided against that. Just where had Anderson, Lokan, Robbins and Co disappeared to?
Winton soon lost motivation as his group was now nearly 2 km off the pace, he let the group slip away and waited for the next bunch. Brade and Phillips working hard with Liddle to keep hopes of gathering up dropped riders alive. Forlorn hopes I might add!
Pollock was the next to go from the lead pack and be stuck on his own. His strength however, seeing him through on his own. At the bell lap the lead group now Tankard, Baudry, McNally, Shipsides, Beruldsen and Mills had settled into the familiar cat and mouse stage of scratch racing, one moment 42km, next 22 then 36, as they do. The chase groups and tailenders all sticking to their guns as they each received the bell.
What a race, a tough, hard task made into a fair dinkum scratch event by the efforts of Baudry with his constant attacks on the "body" of the peloton. It is something us mere mortal members of the Club need a bit more of to toughen our resolve.
Results, 80 km scratch
1 K. Tankard 2.15.57 2 C. Baudry 0.01 3 R. McNally 0.02 4 M. Shipsides 0.13 6 P. Mills 0.33 7 B. Pollock 2.16 8 M. Phillips 2.39 9 B. Liddle 2.45 10 Brade 2.53 11 A. Anderson 6.49 12 P. Mulhearn 8.09 13 D. Priest 15.52 Open Champion - K. Tankard Vet Champion - R. McNally