Round 4 of the Footscray Cycling Club’s Winter Road Season was contested at what is arguably the toughest circuit the FCC race, the SheOaks circuit in the Brisbane Ranges, and with over 1000 meters of climbing this circuit chews up and spits out its fair share of riders. To further complicate matters, like Collingwood and Essendon this week, riders have to recover in time to do it all again on Anzac Day.
In the A-Grade race, Jason Costin initiated an early break on the first climb that three riders then bridged across to: Brett Hickford, Dom Dudkiewicz and eventual winner Ben Johnson. With the bunch on the rivet and disintegrating behind them, the foursome set about building up an unassailable lead, losing Costin half way through the second ascent toward Steiglitz. As Yarraville resident Johnson said, ‘We had no idea what the time gap was; we just kept our heads down and rode tempo. It was a pity that Brett dropped his chain on the third lap as we lost him then and it was just Dom and I.’ As the pair began the last lap Johnson knew what he needed to do. ‘I knew that if it came down to a sprint Dom would beat me 10 times out of 10, so I just had to keep on attacking and I finally dislodged him before the end of the last climb.’ Johnson then time trialled the last 10 kilometres to the finish, with Dudkiewicz finishing second, and Josh Zammit taking 3rd in a sprint from Marco Duys.
B-Grade hit hard from the start, with every man and his dog throwing in attacks from Lap 1; the relentless pace taking its toll lap after lap on the bunch. As the whittled down bunch began the last lap, Peter Race threw in one last attack that saw him ride away from the bunch, and in the chase riders were strung out on ones, twos and threes trying to minimise the time loss. Race, who won Race 1, gained a considerable lead, with Geoff Robertson and Phil Tehan taking up the chase a minute behind, and Mark Micallef and David Bowering a further minute back. There was no bunch; just dribs and drabs of riders on the absolute rivet and in distress. In the end, Race won without much difficulty, just ahead of Robertson and a minute clear of Tehan, with Micallef taking the sprint from Bowering in fourth and fifth.
In C-Grade Ben Coull pulled off a gargantuan feat by breaking away and building up a full 5 minute lead, crossing massively clear of the nearest rider; newcomer Tom Ainsworth crossing second and Tim Robertson third. In D Grade newcomer Dave Hughes got to the last climb of the day feeling good enough to take off with instructor-for-the-day Mick Starcevic, the pair crossing well clear of Jose Rojas in second and Glen Detering taking third in his first mountain race.
Footscray CC Graded Scratch Series (2012) - 21 April 2012
A: 1st Ben Johnson, 2nd Dom Dudkiewicz, 3rd Josh Zammit, 4th Marco Duys.
B: 1st Peter Race, 2nd Geoff Robertson, 3rd Phil Tehan, 4th Mark Micallef & 5th David Bowering.
C: 1st Ben Coull, 2nd Tom Ainsworth, 3rd Tim Robertson, 4th Frank Crifo, & 5th John Lucas.
D: 1st Dave Hughes, 2nd Jose Rojas, 3rd Glen Detering.