By Footscray Cycling Club
Round 1 of the Footscray Cycling Club’s Winter Road Season was contested in what could only be described as an Indian Summer – with very strong North winds and a temperature of 30 degrees, riders contesting the graded scratch races out at the You Yangs had to steel themselves to complete 80 tough kilometres in conditions not really suited to a long road race.
2011 Road Champion Steve Pilson stamped his name on the A-Grade race by taking line honours in a race that saw the field decimated by the end of lap 1. ‘It was a hard race, pure and simple. Everyone took their turns consistently; there were a few attacks but with that wind they weren’t really going anywhere, but that pace meant we cut the group in half by the end of the first lap.’ 32 year old Pilson has been the in-form rider to beat on the road, and he knew that today’s race was all about staying in the right position. ‘It’s all about positioning on a day like today; it wasn’t necessarily the strongest guys who survived today, it was the smartest guys who knew how to keep out of trouble and not get put into that wind to suffer out the back and then you’re gone.’ As the decimated bunch approached the uphill finish on Flinders Avenue, Ivanhoe resident Pilson followed a move by Adrian Hanson that saw both riders get clear, with Pilson sparking up to cross the line 70 meters clear of Hanson, who in turn was 50 meters clear of Lachie Doak.
Similarly, B-Grade hit out with such aggressive riding that by the half way mark, the field was halved, and by lap 5 there were only seven riders left, with quite a few riders simply caught out by the extreme conditions and the constant guttering and attacks. With the heat and the pace taking its toll on all, the seven riders commenced the last lap at a near standstill, everyone foxing for position; one rider commenting on how the pace had slowed up so much that they would be doing ‘track stands’ if the pace didn’t pick up. Sure enough the pace was soon back on and as the riders approached the finish, Jason Southby put in one last attack and B-Grade first timer and Pascoe Vale resident Peter Race followed his wheel – the pair not realising that they were in fact clear by 70 meters. Southby assumed that he had the whole bunch on his wheel so he went to the middle of the road and gave everyone shelter, at which point 52 year old Race raced to the lead and took the wind, with an exhausted Southby crossing the line 20 meters behind and just ahead of Mark Micallef.
In C-Grade, Frank Crifo amazed and awed the bunch by leading the bunch all the way down the finishing straight after a tough race that saw many riders dropped, moving up the road to give other riders the sheltered side of the road to pass him and still having enough in reserve to power off the front and win comfortably from Ross Liley, and in D Grade newcomer Tom Arnsworth took the bunch sprint from Neil Turner and Geordan Bombos.
Footscray CC Graded Scratch Series (2012) - 31 March 2012
A: 1st Steve Pilson, 2nd Adrian Hanson, 3rd Lachie Doak, 4th Dom Dudkiewicz, 5th Chris Zucchet & 6th Mohammed Suardi (Int).
B: 1st Peter Race, 2nd Jason Southby, 3rd Mark Micallef, 4th Bernie O’Sullivan, 5th Glen Grbesa & 6th David Bowering.
C: 1st Frank Crifo, 2nd Ross Liley, 3rd Kon Papakonstantinou, 4th Ian Duffin, & 5th Joe Caruana.
D: 1st Tom Arnsworth, 2nd Neil Turner, 3rd Geordan Bombos, 4th Marty Kilduff.