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September 14, 2002
Crystal Creek presents dogs and punctures for MCC riders
By Phil Ruge
It was a warm and windy afternoon on Saturday for the weekly road race conducted by the Murwillumbah Cycle Club over the Upper Crystal Creek course.
This course is 55 kilometres long and travels out through Chillingham to Numinbah before returning to Upper Crystal Creek on the way back to the finish at Dulguigan. The undulating and often narrow roads on this course coupled with a number of short but steep climbs demand attention from the riders if they wish to do well in these races.
Both A and B Grades combined this week with the 4 A Grade riders giving the 6 B Grade riders a 2.5 minute start for their race. The B Grade riders made the most of this start and worked very well together and with a fast pace were still in front at Numinbah. They were finally caught by the 3 remaining A Grade riders at Upper Crystal Creek after some 40 kilometres of racing!
The larger group kept the fast pace going with several riders launching attacks over the closing kilometres of the race. Prominent amongst these was John Anderson who was enjoying his first ride in B Grade. John's attempts were unsuccessful and it was a group of 3 riders who opened up a gap with 2 kilometres to go and stayed out front to the finish. First home was Chris Selden with Ian Walker second and Graeme Harvey in third place.
C Grade had 12 riders in their bunch. This race was on from the start with some riders scrambling to keep up with the quick pace. Things only got worse in the hills beyond Chillingham and a group of 4 riders were clear by Numinbah. These riders were Stuart Ellick, Shaun Swain, Mike McCall and Brent Roberts. They continued to build their lead back into Upper Crystal Creek where disaster struck the group. A dog ran out into the path of riders, hitting Roberts' bike and bringing he and McCall down!
McCall was quickly up and riding again but Roberts decided to call it a day! In a sporting gesture Ellick and Swain waited for McCall and the trio then headed for home. On the line Swain out sprinted Ellick for first place with McCall taking a well earned third spot. The first woman to finish a short time later after a strong ride was Diane Monk.
The 15 riders in D Grade were the largest group for the afternoon. They also got down to racing quickly but the pace, the hills and mishaps such as punctures and broken spokes slowly whittled down this number. By the time Upper Crystal Creek was reached only 8 riders remained in contention and despite several attacks on the way home were still together coming into the final straight. Wayne McIvor dug deeply to take first place with Frank Schirmer second, Tom Allen third, Richard Anderson fourth and Gail Zinn fifth on her first return race at Murwillumbah.
E Grade raced over 45 kilometres to Chillingham and Upper Crystal Creek before returning to finish at Dulguigan. With only 5 starters everyone had their work to do but they combined well to maintain a steady pace over this distance. At the end both experience and strength came into play with Stan James first in a sprint finish followed by Eric Hall and then Lee Hall in third spot.
Racing next week is Nobbys Creek with a 2.00 pm start from Pat Smith Park, Dulguigan. The next club meeting will be held at the Tweed Tavern, Murwillumbah at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, 18 September 2002. All members and interested riders are welcome.
A/B Grade 55 kilometres 1 Chris Selden (GoldStars) 1.27 (38 km/hr) 2 Ian Walker (Murwillumbah) 3 Graeme Harvey (Murwillumbah) C Grade 55 kilometres 1 Sean Swain (Murwillumbah) 1.33 (35.5 km/hr) 2 Stuart Ellick (Murwillumbah) 3 Mike McCall (Murwillumbah) First woman: Diane Monk (GoldStars) D Grade 55 kilometres 1 Wayne McIvor (GoldStars) 1.38 (33.7 km/hr) 2 Frank Schirmer (Murwillumbah) 3 Tom Allen (Murwillumbah) 4 Richard Anderson (Murwillumbah) 5 Gail Zinn (GoldStars) E Grade 45 kilometres 1 Stan James (CATS) 1.27 (31 km/hr) 2 Eric Hall (GoldStars) 3 Lee Hall (GoldStars)