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November 2, 2002
Heathcote takes cool sprint finish
By Phil Ruge
A mild overcast day on Saturday provided a pleasant change for riders after the hot weather of the past few weeks for the Murwillumbah Cycle Club's weekly road races.
This week's course was the 'Flat Course' to Tumbulgum and then out to Chillingham before returning to finish as usual at Dulguigan. The distance is 51 kilometres and as the name suggests covers roads that are flat to undulating with very few hills along the way.
A, B and C Grades combined this week for a handicap event for their 12 starters. These riders were divided into 2 groups with the 5 limit riders being given a 5 minute start on the remainder of the field. The first group got away smartly and worked well together out to Tumbulgum and back to Chillingham. However, the second group were flying over this part of the course and whittled away at the front runners to pick them up just after the turn at Chillingham.
This larger group then settled somewhat for the homeward run into a troublesome headwind back to Dulguigan. Despite some surging within the bunch and several attacks the group kept together until the finish where the inevitable sprint sorted out the placegetters. First across the line was Dean Heathcote with John Kane second, Chris Selden third, Kane Oakley fourth and Brendan Egan in fifth place. Fastest time went to Heathcote at 1 hour 15 minutes for an average speed of 40.8 kilometres per hour - fast indeed!
Separate scratch races were held for D and E Grades.
In D Grade the 9 starters set off at a steady pace towards Tumbulgum with all riders sharing in the work. After the turn the pace picked up on the way back with 1 rider being dropped before Dulguigan. Once onto Kaehler's Hill Dennis Brown attacked and was quickly joined by Phil Ruge. These 2 riders built up a lead of several hundred metres on the bunch and set about swapping turn for turn on the road out to Chillingham.
However, determined riding by the chasing bunch never let the breakaway's lead extend any further and they were finally caught after some 15 kilometres just after the turn at Chillingham. Things settled over the next 10 kilometres or so before Brown and Ruge attacked once again on the return up Kaehler's Hill. Onto the flats these 2 were joined by Dennis Burger but the bunch were right on their wheels as they were not going to let anyone go this close to the finish!
There were a couple of further attacks but the bunch were basically together coming into the final straight. Dennis Brown wound it up from a long way out and stayed clear to take a good win. Second home was Stuart MacPherson followed by Frank Schirmer, Tom Allen and Phil Ruge.
The 3 E Grade riders covered 36 kilometres to Chillingham and return. This group also worked well together to maintain a quick pace over the course. At the finish Alan Sultmann jumped away from Dave Burns who needed all of his strength and speed to get over him just before the line to take the win. Alan was quite content having taken the race right to the line!
There will be no racing next Saturday as it is the Club's Annual Presentation Night. The cost is $15- per head and further details are available from Dennis Burger on (02) 66 743166. The Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 6 November 2002 at 7.30 pm at the Tweed Tavern, Murwillumbah. All riders and interested people are welcome to attend.
Combined Handicap (A, B and C Grades), 51km 1 Dean Heathcote (GoldStars) 1.15 (40.8 km/hr) 2 John Kane (Murwillumbah) 3 Chris Selden (GoldStars) 4 Kane Oakley (GoldStars) 5 Brendan Egan (Murwillumbah) D Grade, 51km 1 Dennis Brown (Murwillumbah) 1.29 (34.2 km/hr) 2 Stuart MacPherson (Murwillumbah) 3 Frank Schirmer (Murwillumbah) 4 Tom Allen (Murwillumbah) 5 Phil Ruge (Murwillumbah) E Grade, 36km 1 Dave Burns (Murwillumbah) 1.12 (30.1 km/hr) 2 Alan Sultmann (Murwillumbah)