(2012) - Footscray Cycling Club Bob Robson Memorial Anzac Criterium
Wild and wet weather greeted riders contesting the Footscray Cycling Club’s Bob Robson Memorial Anzac Day Criteriums held around Williamstown High School, making the road circuit challenging enough to see many riders pull out.
The feature race rewarded those who took the risk of breaking away, with teachers Adrian Hanson and Ben Johnson successfully rolling the dice and teaching the bunch a lesson to take first and second. With a wet track, 28 year old South Morang resident Hanson, like most riders, wondered if the race would go ahead. ‘On the way to the race it was pouring so I had my doubts about whether we would get to race.’ But in true Anzac spirit, and buoyed by the fact that hundreds had attended the 5am dawn service in pouring rain in Williamstown, racing went ahead. Early in the race, Ben Johnson, James Love and Sean Gatter broke away, and when they were nearly brought back into the bunch, Hanson saw the opportunity and jumped across. ‘Steve Pilson had just completed a massive turn on the front of the bunch to bring back the break and the break was just up ahead, so I took that opportunity to skip across, and only Ben and I stayed out.’ �The lead held by the pair see-sawed as the bunch put in efforts, but soon stabilised. ‘We knew we had a good lead because we heard the announcer say we had 23 seconds on the bunch.’ The pair then set about maintaining their lead, whist both riders, and the spectators, could guess each rider’s strategy. Johnson, being a noted strong rider but not the best sprinter, would eventually have to try to drop Hanson by riding away from him, and Hanson, a noted sprinter who has out sprinted the likes of Robbie McEwen, had to weather whatever attacks Johnson threw at him, hold his wheel, and out sprint him at the end. And Hanson knew that Johnson’s attack was coming. �’With 4 to go Ben made his move and made a big jump in one of the corners and put me in a bit of trouble, so I spent half a lap off the wheel chasing and just managed to bridge the gap back on to his wheel. He kept the pace up and stayed on the front; I knew he was strong but that if I was still on his wheel with 3 to go I would be right. When we got around the last corner and I launched, Ben looked at me and gave me a smile; he was cooked, and I passed him and crossed the line pretty happy.’ An ecstatic Hanson crossed the line 3 seconds clear of the valiant Johnson, with the bunch sprint taken 44 seconds later by Dom Dudkiewicz for third over Steve Pilson in fourth.
The support race was run with some caution at the start, with wet roads testing rider’s nerves and skill until a dry line began to form on the track. Some massive attacks from Peter McQuade and Antonio Marino saw quite a few riders shelled out the back, and several attempts were made to break away, but to no avail. The bunch reconciled itself to a mass bunch sprint, until Antonio Marino attempted a late race solo breakaway, gaining 100 meters on the bunch with 4 laps to go. The bunch then kicked up a gear, and it looked like Marino would stay clear; but in a cruel twist of fate the tiring Marino was caught with mere meters to go, with 2011 winner Lewis Croft making it two in a row, crossing just clear of Marino and a fast finishing Trevor Perry.
A: 1st Adrian Hanson, 2nd Ben Johnson, 3rd Dom Dudkiewicz, 4th Steve Pilson, 5th Adam Murchie, 6th Graham Carlson and 7th Paul Anders.
B: 1st Lewis Croft, 2nd Antonio Marino, 3rd Trevor Perry, 4th Mark Micallef & 5th Matt Johnson.
C: 1st Shane McGuirk