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Modella, August 31, 2002

Robert earns right to Crowe

By Mal Sawford

Great weather for this year’s Championship racing; clear, sunny skies and less wind than normal. Good fields fronted for the Elite and Masters races, but a clash with a significant Junior and Women’s tour not listed on the initial fixture kept the numbers down in those divisions.

As usual, the mass start Elite and Under 19 race attracted 3 types of entries: the Elite A Grade racers who would be disappointed with anything less than a top result; guys from the next rung down, who were hoping for super legs on the day to stay in contention; and riders who were happy to make up the numbers, aiming to last longer than last year and find out first hand how far behind the top guys they were this year!

Early favorite was Kristjan Snorrason (SBR), winner of the last 3 Championships, and hoping to continue his amazing winning streak. Was he fully recovered from the nasty fall that took him out of the Metropolitan Championships only a few weeks before? The dark horse was big Matty Chessum (Fitzroy Cycles), fresh off the plane from 3 months racing in Belgium, looking tanned and lean, and impressive at the previous weeks State Championships. A late addition to the favorites was Barcelona Olympian Robert Crowe who arrived at the venue seconds before the start after car trouble with his classic VW Bug. Thanks to the generosity of the bunch and race officials, the start was delayed 5 minutes to allow him to join the field.

The pace was on early, and it would be the new Belgian flyer Chessum first to get a gap. Powering away from the bunch, he maintained his advantage to the base of the hills, and wasn’t reeled in until the summit of the steep climb out of Ripplebrook. The bunch had disintegrated behind, with only 11 riders left in the front group.

There wasn’t much rest on the flat roads, with Chessum launching again early in the second lap, causing a split in the bunch with Snorrason, Crowe, Rob Young (SBR) and Garron Buckland (Le Tour Cycles) bridging the gap. An acceleration from Crowie as the hills loomed in sight had it down to 3, with only Chessum and Buckland able to follow.

By the left turn early in the Heath Hill climb, the gap was 300 meters and growing, and the trio would clearly not be caught. Crowe and Chessum would fight out the Gold and Silver medals, while Buckland had only the prize money to think of – as non club members aren’t eligible for the titles.

Robert Crowe escaped just after the turn onto the finishing straight to record a satisfying solo win – in fact his first Club Title to add to numerous State and National ones (it’s a bit hard to win Club races when you’re gallivanting around the world with the AIS!). ‘Coach’ Buckland, inspired by the 6.30am victory call from star pupil and brand new World XC MTB Junior Champion Trent Lowe, outsprinted an exhausted Chessum for second a few seconds later.

Snozza lead the remnants of the bunch home a few minutes later, to salvage a Bronze medal and 4th place prize money, with 23 riders surviving the course on the day. Liwa Becker and Phil Grant were the first B and C Grade riders home, in 15th and 16th place overall.

The Masters and Women set off as one peloton, and featured a number of riders who could have held their own in the Elite ranks. The bunch rode a hard tempo that discouraged attacks in the first lap, but proved to tough for the women.

Although the air turbulence generated by the impressive sideburns of Karl Wood (ProMotion Bicycles) had kept him from the top step of the podium at the Victorian Time Trial Championships, the horse power required to drive to a 3rd place finish came into its own on the hills around Modella today. Wood jumped away from the bunch in the hills on the second lap and soloed in for a good win.

A close sprint sorted out the minor medals, with Bruce Will, not normally known for his fast finishes holding off Tony Mason and multi Australian Championship holder Martin Peeters, the oldest rider in the field.

Debra Hobbs and Lizzie Williams (Gran Prix Cycles) were the last to lose contact with the Masters riders, and held a clear advantage over Meaghan Godfrey, riding alone in 3rd position. After nearly a lap and a half to get to know each other, the pair were still together approaching the finish. Hobbs lead out the sprint, and looked to be on her way to another Club Title, but a fast finishing Williams flew home and with a good throw on the line made it impossible for the judges to pick a winner. None of the other women had the legs to go round and face the hills for a second time today, so the Bronze medal went begging!

Chris Tassell took out the Under 17 race, getting away from the others on the first climb, only to have Jan Wilhoeft peg him back before Ripplebrook. Tassell surged away on the last climb and opened a gap of 200 meters. The pair time trailed the 8km to the finish, with Wilhoeft not quite able to close the gap for the second time.

Thanks as usual to race volunteers Maurice Murray, Barry Kelly, Mick Hollingworth, Eva Wilhoeft, Chris Phillips and Doug Moody. Regional racing resumes next weekend with a Chelsea race at Crib Point, check the website for details.


Elite/Under 19 Men 80km, 33 Starters
1 Robert Crowe (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Gold Medal)
2 Garron Buckland (Dirt Riders CC)
3 Matthew Chessum (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Silver Medal)
4 Kristjan Snorrason (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Bronze Medal)
5 Murray Spink (Dirt Riders CC)
6 Justin Davis (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
7 Rob Young (NSW)
8 Brian Sing (Dirt Riders CC)
9 Max Rainsford (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
10 Simon Hurren (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
11 David Hennessy (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
12 James Giannakakis (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
13 Heath Jackson (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
14 Rob Licciardo (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
15 Liwa Becker (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
16 Phil Grant (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
17 Frank Cipriano (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
18 Scott Hipwell (Blackburn CC)
19 Lee Robinson (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
20 Matt Jensen (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) Under 19
21 Ian Smith (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
22 Travis Peake (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
Women 80km, 6 Starters
1 Lizzie Williams (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Gold Medal)
1 Debra Hobbs (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Gold Medal)
Masters 80km, 13 Starters
1 Karl Wood (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Gold Medal)
2 Bruce Will (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Silver Medal)
3 Tony Mason (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Bronze Medal)
4 Martin Peeters (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
5 Geoff Whiter (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
6 Mark Windram (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
7 Mark Kotzen (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
8 Colin Rourke (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
9 Martin Fluendy (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
Under 17 40km, 3 starters
1 Chris Tassell (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Gold Medal)
2 Jan Wilhoeft (Carnegie Caulfield CC) (Silver Medal)
3 Greg Nicholson (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
4 Amy Phillips (Carnegie Caulfield CC)

Australian results from the past week

Cootamundra Cycle Classic Handicap
Collie CC
Footscray CC
Illawarra CC
Maryborough CC
Murwillumbah CC
Northern Districts CC
Randwick Botany CC


Complete Australian results for 2002