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Upper Crystal Creek, April 12, 2003
By Phil Ruge
Saturday was overcast but mild for the Murwillumbah Cycle Club's road race, this week held on the very pretty Upper Crystal Creek course.
The route took the 61 starters out through Chillingham to Numinbah before turning back to Upper Crystal Creek and onto the finish at Dulguigan. Whilst this course is fairly straightforward there a number of climbs and sections of narrow road that make good positioning in the pack essential if riders wish to finish well in these races.
A Grade had a small field of 7 riders this weekend. This didn't stop them from making a real race of it though with a fast pace and plenty of attacks the order of the day. With no riders willing to give in the bunch was together coming into the final straight where a strong sprint saw Rob Lyte first home with Chris Selden second and Ashley Gowie in third place.
A slightly larger field of 9 riders contested the B Grade race. Attacks were again the order of the day but no riders were allowed to stay off the front for long as the bunch brought each one back time and again. Like A Grade the bunch were relatively intact at the finish where new club member Stephen Scotcher finally got through for a well deserved win. Second home was Paul Howard followed by John Anderson, David Edwards and Stuart Ellick in that order.
C Grade had a good field of some 20 riders for their race. The pace in this event was on from the start with a number of attacks being launched once the road began to go upwards. This saw a number of riders dropped but the remainder kept together through Upper Crystal Creek and on towards home. At the finish Mitchell Alatalo was too quick for his compatriots and took the win ahead of Mike McCall second, Frank Schirmer third, Ealden Tucker fourth and Diane Monk in a very creditable fifth spot to also be the first female rider to finish in this grade.
A large field of 22 riders started in D Grade. This group remained intact until Couchy Creek where a number of riders slipped off the front. However, they were quickly brought back into the fold and any further attacks were also given the same treatment to ensure that the bunch would be together for the sprinters at the end. With just 100 metres left to race 'fast' Fred Mason looked to have it sewn up but the evergreen Ted Mathot surged past to claim victory! Third home was Barry Lambert followed by Bruce Syme and Stuart MacPherson. Gail Zinn was the first female rider to finish in D Grade as part of this bunch.
Just 3 riders contested E Grade over 45 kilometres to Chillingham and Upper Crystal Creek. These riders worked well with each other over the course and required a good sprint to finally determine the winner. This was 'Happy' just ahead of Alan Sultmann with Richard Hennes third.
Racing next week is the annual Masters Easter Carnival. This is a 3 day open event for Masters and women riders only. Entries close on Wednesday 16 April 2003 with no late or line entries. Further details are available from Dennis Burger on (02) 66 743166.
Normal club racing will resume on Saturday 26 April 2003 from Pat Smith Park, Dulguigan. Start time is 2.00pm EST with a scratch race over the 55 kilometre Bald Mountain course.
A Grade, 55 km 1 Rob Lyte (Hinchinbrook) 1:25 (39 km/h) 2 Chris Selden (GoldStars) 3 Ashley Goewie (CATS) B Grade, 55 km 1 Stephen Scotcher (Murwillumbah) 1:27 (38 km/h) 2 Paul Howard (Murwillumbah) 3 John Anderson (Murwillumbah) C Grade, 55 km 1 Mitchell Alatalo (Gold Coast) 1:34 (35 km/h) 2 Mike McCall (Murwillumbah) 3 Frank Schirmer (Murwillumbah) 4 Ealden Tucker (Murwillumbah) 5 Diane Monk (GoldStars) First female rider to finish. D Grade, 55 km 1 Ted Mathot (CATS) 1:40 (33 km/h) 2 Fred Mason (CATS) 3 Barry Lambert (Central Coast) 4 Bruce Syme (Murwillumbah) 5 Stuart MacPherson (Murwillumbah) First female rider - Gail Zinn (GoldStars) E Grade, 45 km 1 Happy (Murwillumbah) 1:30 (30 km/hr) 2 Alan Sultmann (Murwillumbah) 3 Richard Hennes (Gold Coast)