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Murwillumbah Cycle Club
August 24, 2002
By Phil Ruge
Cold and windy weather with occasional showers of rain greeted the smaller number of 26 riders who were on hand for the weekly road race conducted by the Murwillumbah Cycle Club on Saturday 24 August 2002 over the demanding Bald Mountain course.
This was the same route that the Club Championships had used the week before and its 55 kilometre length crosses undulating country in the north western part of the Tweed Valley. With winter having a last fling the difficulty of this course for cycle racing rose considerably!
With only 3 riders in A Grade and 4 riders in B Grade a modified handicap which also included the 5 C Grade riders was to be the format for these races. Whilst it is a handicap individual places are awarded for each grade.
The 5 C Grade riders were first away and settled in quickly to the tough conditions. The bunch worked together until Chillingham where John Anderson opened up a gap on one of the smaller climbs. His lead grew to over a minute on the way to Bald Mountain and continued to grow despite the efforts of the other riders. Anderson proved to be the form rider of the day as he stayed clear of all the other riders over the remaining 35 kilometres of the race to take first place. Second home in C Grade some 4 minutes later was Mike McCall with Lindsay Crisp third and Peter Larsen fourth. Sandra Bury the first woman to finish for the day's racing.
Meanwhile the 4 B Grade riders had worked well together to stay clear of A Grade over the 35 kilometres to Numinbah. However, A Grade were not going to let them stay away and once together the larger group set off at a fast pace in an attempt to catch the C Grade riders. This was not to happen though and in the subsequent sprint for the line Brendan Egan was first in A Grade with Paul Matthews second whilst Wilf Hubac was first in B Grade with Jeff Collier second.
D Grade had a larger field of 10 riders but participated in a modified handicap also with the 4 E Grade riders. The race was on from the start in D Grade as they sought to make up the 12 minute advantage that E Grade had been given. The pace began to tell by Bald Mountain with several riders dangling off the back of the bunch and by Numinbah the group had been further reduced.
The E Grade riders had done well though and were not caught until Chillingham on the homeward leg of the race. D Grade attacked as the 2 groups came together with only Trevor Brennan from E Grade able to stay with the faster riders. Further attacks occurred on the following kilometres but each was chased down by a bunch that was determined not to let anyone get away.
At the finish young Dennis Brown proved again that he had the fastest set of legs on the day to just hold off Stuart McPherson for first place after a long sprint. Third across the line was Trevor Brennan after a great ride with the consistent Tom Allen fourth and Phil Ruge in fifth place. Brennan's efforts also saw him take first place in E Grade for the day.
Race next week is the second and final round of the John's Cyclesport Cup series. The race distances are 80 kilometres for A and B Grades, 70 kilometres for C and D Grades and 60 kilometres for E Grade. The entry fee is $10 per rider and start time will be 2pm from Pat Smith Park, Dulguigan. Presentations for this series will be held immediately after racing finishes.
Results, 55 km
A Grade 1 Brendan Egan (Murwillumbah) 1.25 (38.5 km/h) 2 Paul Matthews (Murwillumbah) B Grade 1 Wilf Hubac (CATS) 1.28 (37.5 km/h) 2 Jeff Collier (Murwillumbah) C Grade 1 John Anderson (Murwillumbah) 1:31 (36 km/h) 2 Mike McCall (Murwillumbah) 3 Lindsay Crisp (Murwillumbah) 4 Peter Larsen (Murwillumbah) First female rider - Sandra Bury (Murwillumbah) D Grade 1 Dennis Brown (Murwillumbah) 1:37 (33.95 km/h) 2 Stuart McPherson (Murwillumbah) 3 Tom Allen (Murwillumbah) 4 Phil Ruge (Murwillumbah) 5 Ken Smith (Gold Coast) E Grade 1 Trevor Brennan (Gold Coast) 1:46 (31 km/hr)