On Wednesday riders contested the Fred McClelland Constructions Graded Scratch Races on Range Road. The course was from Chinamans Lane over the rolling hills to Lambs Lane and back. Ideal racing conditions with only a light breeze facing the 17 riders who signed on.
A Grade set off first and by the half way mark Michael Beard, Glen Apps and visiting English rider, George Smith had opened up a slight lead over veteran Neils Laugesen. The trio gradually increased their lead in the fast run to the finish line. George Smith lead the charge on the final short climb before the downhill sprint to the finish line. Only Michael Beard was strong enough to go with him but by Baw Baw Road was beginning to fade. George took advantage opening up a 5 second gap and holding on for the win. Michael Beard took out second place with Glen Apps third.
B Grade was a very evenly matched field and the racing was tight of much of the race. Recently promoted rider Mark Stutchbury was the first to fade as the pace increased followed shortly after by Phil Champion who is still not yet at full fitness. Tour da Country Rider, Gary Sheehy, Josh Daniel and Gavin Moroney continued to swap off turns in the run toward the finish line and by Baw Baw Road the cat and mouse games began as each looked to position themselves for the sprint. In the mad dash to the line Gavin Moroney poked his wheel in front for the win narrowly over Gary Sheehy with Josh Daniel a further second back in third place.
C Grade rider Chris Berry has been dreaming of a win for years either in a solo breakaway or out sprinting the peloton. Unfortunately in reality his best efforts have only been the odd minor podium place and occasional winner of the raffle. In some of the tightest racing seen all season virtually nothing separated the riders in C Grade for the whole race. Chris Berry lead the group on the flatter and downhill sections of the ride, Michael Hall and Nadine Moroney rode tempo on the climbs while David Carmichael chipped in with some solid turns at the front. Chris Berry, who had been struggling to hold on up the climbs, found himself leading in the run passed Baw Baw Road. Nadine Moroney made a move to the front just before Chinamans Lane with Michael Hall and David Carmichael in tow. Nadine chanced her arm and opened up a sprint but Michael and David quickly followed her wheel only to open the narrowest of gaps on the inside and just like in his dreams Chris Berry took full advantage sprinting into the gap and bursting out of the peloton to take line honours. Michael Hall and David Carmichael took out the minor places.
Nothing separated the D Grade riders over the entire journey. Fiona Berry rode strongly up the climbs with Ted Goad taking the lead on the downhill sections. Fiona Berry looking very strong lead the peloton into the turnaround with Tony Wade and Ted Goad close behind. Each little attack on the return leg was quickly shut down by the others and no one was given the opportunity to make a breakaway. Consequently nothing separated the field in the final sprint to the finish line. At Chinamans Lane a determined Fiona Berry moved into the lead. Ted Goad fought back only to see Fiona wrestle back the advantage with Tony Wade simply enjoying the contest unfolding in front of him. One final effort by Ted on the line saw him awarded the win over Fiona in what must have been the narrowest of margins as both riders were awarded the same time.
Big thank you to the volunteers - timekeeper Mrs Bush, Chief Commissaire Phil Bush, traffic controllers Mick Hookham and Wayne Bensley and Mick Redman and Andrew Oberg in the lead/follow cars.
Next Wednesday racing, January 31,is on Middle Arm Road for the Ganter Constructions Handicap. Sign on is opposite the cemetery by 6pm and racing starts at 6.30pm. New riders are always welcome.
Fred McClelland Constructions Range Road Graded Scratch Races 20kms
- 1st George Smith 29:34 40.6km/hr
- 2nd Michael Beard 29:39 40.5km/hr
- 3rd Glen Apps 30:39 39.1km/hr
- 1st Gavin Moroney 31:43 37.8km/hr
- 2nd Gary Sheehy 31:43 37.8km/hr
- 3rd Josh Daniel 31:44 37.8km/hr
- 1st Chris Berry 34:05 35.2km/hr
- 2nd Michael Hall 34:06 35.2km/hr
- 3rd David Carmichael 34:07 35.2km/hr
- 1st Ted Goad 40:06 29.9km/hr
- 2nd Fiona Berry 40:06 29.9km/hr
- 3rd Tony Wade 40:07 29.9km/hr