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Murwillumbah Cycle Club
October 5, 2002
Scratchies finally get up
By Phil Ruge
After months of trying the scratch riders were finally successful in the handicap race conducted by the Murwillumbah Cycle Club on Saturday 5 October 2002.
This week's course was the full Tyalgum circuit which goes out to Chillingham and across to Tyalgum before returning via Bray Park and Boat Harbour to the finish at Dulguigan. The two major obstacles on this course are the climbs between Chillingham and Tyalgum and its length. At some 62 kilometres it is the longest course on the club's regular racing calendar.
The 23 starters were divided into 4 groups of limit, 8 minutes, 18 minutes and the scratch riders at 24 minutes. The 4 limit riders set out well to make the most of the gusty tail wind over the first part of the course. They worked well until Chillingham where they split up as the climbs began.
The 7 riders in the next group also got away to a quick start with Tom Allen encouraging his compatriots to make the most of the initially favourable conditions. This group worked well to Bald Mountain where the steep climb saw the group reduced to 5 riders. These riders were together going over Tyalgum Hill but a new rider to the club, Peter Evans, was unfortunate to run off the road on the descent into Tyalgum.
The remaining riders regrouped after Tyalgum and set off after the front markers who were progressively caught on the road into Eungella. Meanwhile the 2 remaining groups had literally flown out through Chillingham and across the hills with the scratch group being driven by the youngsters Rob Lyte and Paul Howard. Although the 18 minute group had ridden quickly over this part of the course they were caught at Tyalgum by the scratch riders.
Up ahead the front runners were battling into a gusty head wind in an attempt to stay clear of the faster riders who they knew would not be too far behind. Both the scratch bunch and 18 minute group combined well to power back towards Bray Park picking up some slower riders on the way. One of these was Peter Evans who had remounted after his fall and was determined to finish what he had started!
The faster riders had the front markers in their sights by Bray Park and swept them up soon after reaching North Arm Road. Several of the 8 minute riders jumped onto the passing train but found themselves left behind over Kaehlers Hill with some 5 kilometres left to the finish. There were plenty of attacks over these remaining kilometres but it came down once again to a sprint finish.
First home after an impressive ride was Rob Lyte with Chris Selden second, Ian Walker third, Paul Matthews fourth, Brad Connor fifth and Stuart Ellick in sixth place. The first woman to finish a short time later was Gail Zinn from the 8 minute group after a typically courageous ride.
Rob Lyte also took fastest time at 1 hour 36 minutes for the 62 kilometres.
E Grade had a 36 kilometre race for its 5 riders to Chillingham and return. Despite the arduous conditions the group kept together and fought out a sprint finish. First across the line was Lee Hall with Jackson Wardrop second and Eric Hall in third spot.
There will be the usual scratch races next week over the 55 kilometres of the Upper Crystal Creek course. Start time is 2.00 pm from Pat Smith Park, Dulguigan.
Results, 62 km handicap
1 Rob Lyte (Murwillumbah) 1.36 (39 km/h) 2 Chris Selden (GoldStars) 3 Ian Walker (Murwillumbah) 4 Paul Matthews (Murwillumbah) 5 Brad Connor (Gold Coast) 6 Stuart Ellick (murwillumbah)