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Eastern Suburbs Trophy Race
Heffron Park, Maroubra, December 18, 2002
Chris Sutton too strong for class field at Heffron
By Jeff Jones
FDJ-NSWIS rider Chris Sutton has won the annual Eastern Suburbs Trophy Race, held on Tuesday evening at Sydney's Heffron Park circuit. Sutton beat home Eastern Suburbs rider Jose Rodriguez after the pair escaped with six laps to go of the 19 lap race. They managed to hold the bunch at bay in the final laps, with Jelly Belly's Brent Dawson taking the sprint for third place.
104 riders - the largest field of the season - turned out for the traditional end of year event, which has been dominated for over a decade by local sprinter Anthony Spurgeon, earning himself the nickname of 'King of Heffron Park'. Tonight there were plenty of riders and teams with aspirations to the throne: Trek, Caravello, St George, FDJ-NSWIS, Avanti, Easts, Randwick Botany, Sutherland and Bicisport. However it's unlikely that Spurgeon's eight win record will be bettered within the next 10 years, unless it's by Spurge himself!
The big field was split into an A/B combined race with 62 starters and a C grade event with 42 participants. With the usual Heffron Park gale force winds not a factor this evening, the racing was fast and furious. A third lap crash put paid to the hopes of a few, but by that stage the peloton had already split into pieces as World Champions Graeme Brown and Stephen Wooldridge stirred up the pace, along with Sutton, Rodriguez, Spurgeon, Dawson, Rod McGee, Paul Rowney and Stewart Campbell. A gradually thinning group of 25 riders made the cut, and battled out the remainder of the 19 laps.
On lap 13, a massive turn by Graeme Brown served as the springboard for three riders to escape: Chris Sutton, Jose Rodriguez and Brad Mills. The trio quickly opened up a 10 second gap, but it was going to take some serious work to hold off the peloton behind them, which was seemingly intent on a bunch finish. Brad Mills found it to be too much and dropped off after one and a half laps in front. That left Sutton and Rodriguez to finish off the job.
With two laps to go, Wooldridge, Dawson and Brown upped the pace in the peloton to try and pull the leaders back, but Chris Sutton responded with a similar monster effort to put the race beyond the reach of the chasers. The pair stayed clear with Sutton comfortably accounting for Rodriguez in the sprint. A few seconds back, Brent Dawson took the bunch kick for third followed by Nathan Russell and Anthony Spurgeon.
The 15 lap C grade race was taken out by Craig Dempsey (Easts), who beat Frank 'FRF' Fortuna (St George) and Sean Ballesty (Randwick Botany) in a bunch sprint.
Tuesday night racing at Heffron Park resumes on January 7, 2003 at the usual 6pm start time.
Images by John Sunde
Images by Paul Mirtschin/Cyclingnews.com
Trophy Race A/B Grade, 40km 1 Chris Sutton (FDJ-NSWIS/St George) 2 Jose Rodriguez (Eastern Suburbs) 3 Brent Dawson (Jelly Belly) 4 Nathan Russell (Northern Suburbs/Giant) 5 Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello) 6 Rod McGee (FDJ-NSWIS/Parramatta) 7 Adam Radford (Eastern Suburbs) 8 Nash Kent 9 Graeme Moffatt (Trek Bikes) 10 Stewart Campbell (Eastern Suburbs) (62 starters) C Grade, 30km 1 Craig Dempsey (Eastern Suburbs) 2 Frank Fortuna (St George) 3 Sean Ballesty (Randwick Botany) 4 Chris Young (Eastern Suburbs) 5 Andrew Gibbons (Marconi) 6 Katie Brown (St George) 7 Tim Rice (Sydney) 8 Mark Roberson (Randwick Botany) 9 Roger Shackelton (Waratah) 10 Glen Ion (Waratah) (42 starters) Previous winners 1982 Ken McMillan (Randwick Botany) 1983 Gary Stewart (Clarence St Cyclery) 1984 Gary Stewart (Clarence St Cyclery) 1985 Barney St George (Skipper-Spear & Jackson) 1986 Gary Stewart (Skipper-Spear & Jackson) 1987 Gary Stewart (Skipper-Spear & Jackson) 1988 Gary Stewart (Skipper-Spear & Jackson) 1989 Bob Rasenberg (Holland) 1990 Anthony Spurgeon (Eastern Suburbs) 1991 Anthony Spurgeon (Eastern Suburbs) 1992 Anthony Spurgeon (Eastern Suburbs) 1993 Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello) 1994 Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello) 1995 Jose Rodriguez (Randwick Botany) 1996 Paul Rowney (Eastern Suburbs) 1997 Stewart Campbell (Eastern Suburbs) 1998 Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello) 1999 Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello) 2000 Anthony Spurgeon (Caravello) 2001 Liam Kelly (Eastern Suburbs)