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October 26, 2002
Matthews too hot to handle
With strong, gusty winds and temperatures in the high 30's a decision was made to modify the course for the road races held by the Murwillumbah Cycle Club on Saturday 26 October 2002.
Instead of the 55 kilometre Bald Mountain course a shorter route of some 47 kilometres to Chillingham and then back to Dulguigan via Upper Crystal Creek was set down for racing. While there are no real hills on this route, the strong winds and high temperatures still made the race challenging for most riders.
A handicap format was used for the combined A to D Grade race with a separate scratch race for E Grade. The handicap groups were limit (3 riders), 3 minutes (7 riders), 9 minutes (5 riders), 13 minutes (2 riders) with Rob Lyte the only scratch rider at 15 minutes.
Both the limit and 3 minute groups got away to a fast start with the help of a strong tail wind. This early fast pace took its toll though with the limit group breaking up on the way out to Chillingham and the 3 minute group dropping a couple of riders off over the same distance. The remnants of these 2 groups came together just after Chillingham and settled in for the longer run home into a difficult head wind.
The 9 minute group were also away to a quick start and worked well together to maintain this pace. Their efforts saw them reduce the gap to the earlier groups by 2 minutes at Chillingham and spurred them on towards Upper Crystal Creek. At this point they were some 3 minutes behind the front runners but had dropped 2 of their riders due to the relentless pace.
Both the 13 minute group and Rob Lyte were also off to a good start with the 2 riders on chopping block using the advantage of working together to stay clear of Lyte and slowly peg back the earlier groups. All 3 riders gained time on the front runners through Chillingham and Upper Crystal Creek although by this point it seemed that Lyte may not catch the duo ahead of him.
The 9 minute group were eventually caught on Kaehler's Hill by chopping block and this larger group set off after the others who were only a minute in front by this stage. The front group was noticeably tiring into the wind on the way back across the flats towards Kynnumboon and it was here that the chasing group made contact and then quickly dropped this group.
Shortly after Paul Matthews accelerated away and despite a spirited chase by the other riders in the group stayed clear until the finish. Darren Byers just couldn't quite catch Matthews but his efforts earned him second place with Brendan Egan third and John Anderson in fourth spot. First home of the next group for fifth place overall was Stuart Johnson. Fastest time went to Paul Matthews at 1 hour 12 minutes for an average speed of 39.2km/h.
E Grade raced over 36 kilometres to Chillingham and return. The testing conditions saw these riders keep together and share the work throughout the race. At the finish 'young' Allan Sulman got up over Dave Burns to take a well deserved win.
Racing next week will be over 50 kilometres of the Flat Course to Tumbulgum, Chillingham and return. Start time will be 3.00 pm DST or 2.00 pm EST (for Queenslanders) from Pat Smith Park, Dulguigan. All riders should check to make sure they have the right start time!
Results, 47 km handicap
1 Paul Matthews (Murwillumbah) 1.12 (39.2 km/h) 2 Darren Byers (Victors) 3 Brendan Egan (Murwillumbah) 4 John Anderson (Murwillumbah) 5 Stuart Johnson (Murwillumbah) Fastest Time - Paul Matthews 1 Allan Sulman (Murwillumbah) 1.20 (27 km/h) 2 Dave Burns (Murwillumbah)