Footscray CC Graded Scratch Series (2012) - 7 April 2012
Round 2 of the Footscray Cycling Club’s Winter Road Season saw riders tackle their first Handicap of the season, the coveted Frank O’Brien Memorial Handicap, with a top of You Yangs finish thrown in just to spice up an already exciting race. With today’s handicap consisting of six bunches setting off at intervals based on their abilities, with Scratch leaving 27 minutes after Limit, Club Champion Steve Pilson showed just how hot his form is at the moment by winning in second race in a row.
Pre race, punters weren’t sure if the gun riders of Scratch could make up the time and take the win given the fact that Scratch didn’t look, on paper at least, to be as strong as usual. But any concerns Ivanhoe resident Pilson had were quickly dispatched. ‘On paper, we were not the best looking Scratch bunch I’ve ever seen, but the bunch worked so well together it made this one of the best races I’ve been in; the boys were unbelievable. Everyone was super-smooth, no big egos out there; everyone just kept it together and put in 100 percent.’ The scene was set for a terrific race, with all 6 bunches digging very deep for the first few laps in an effort to catch the bunch ahead and in turn not get caught by the bunch behind, and for a while it looked like 3rd Scratch, who were powering along at a mighty pace, may be the bunch to sweep all before them, but their speed dropped markedly when they absorbed 3rd Limit who merged in a less than seamless manner. In the mad scramble for a wheel, Delphine Astier, Andy Dick and Peter Race crashed; all riders losing some skin but no serious injury, and it was a mixed dozen of riders who made their way towards the final climb to the Top of You Yangs finish with Limit 200 meters up the road and Scratch 200 meters behind. All bunches merged as they started the last climb of the day, and it was at this stage that a young wildcard threw in an attack that nobody saw coming. 18 year old Grovedale resident Lachie Nolte had some spring left in his legs and decided to jump. ‘I attacked about 600 meters into the climb, and then just worked with Steve all the way up.’ Nolte, who is studying Sports Science at Deakin University, broke his leg last November, and is on the way back up to A-Grade, having raced since the age of 12 on both the road and the track at National level, and his blisteringly fast attack caught Pilson off guard. ‘When Lachie went, I was struggling to hold his wheel. He is super-strong and it won’t be long before he is in A-Grade. I went past him and just kept an eye on him, half expecting him to have a go, but he didn’t and I know the finish well enough to know when to sprint.’ Pilson crossed the line just ahead of Nolte, with Josh Zammit a very commendable 3rd and novice 2nd Limit rider Anthony Netkow hanging on for 4th.
Afterwards, Pilson praised the officials and volunteers of the Footscray Cycling Club for setting up such a great day’s racing, and reserved his highest praise for Club President and Handicapper Mick Starcevic. ‘The handicapper did his job perfectly today; we caught the last Limit rider with about 500 meters to go and the top 10 finishers were from different bunches, so a great job by the Handicapper and a great day’s racing.’
1st Steve Pilson, 2nd Lachlan Nolte, 3rd Josh Zammit, 4th Anthony Netkow, 5th Adam Trewin, 6th Geoff Robertson, 7th Antonio Marino, 8th Andrew McKellar, 9th Paul Beasley & 10th Darren Roberts.
Fastest Time: Steve Pilson (Scratch) @ 2:19:09