Footscray CC Graded Scratch Series (2012) - Footscray Cycling Club Cram Memorial Handicap @ Little River
Riders dug deeper than usual in an attempt to take the coveted winner’s trophy in the Footscray Cycling Club’s Hugh Cram Memorial Handicap, held on the windswept Kirksbridge circuit out at Little River on Saturday. 60 riders set off in 6 ability based bunches, with the gun riders in Scratch setting off last, 27 minutes after the first ‘Limit’ bunch.
With Barry Cram and the Limit bunch riding for their lives, the chase was on in earnest behind, with Second Scratch and Third Scratch making good headway into Limit’s lead. On Lap 3 these two bunches merged and worked brilliantly together, having Third Limit in their sights as they approached the 50 kilometer mark. Once this bunch was absorbed, the pressure was really piled on; riders putting it into the gutter and spitting out victims one by one. By the time this pared-down bunch arrived at the climb prior to turning into Ripley Road, Limit and Second Limit had been caught and dealt with, and for the second time riders were put into distress as the speed rose well above 50 kph; again spitting out quite a few good riders.
Just prior turning into the home straight for the last time, Leigh Kelly and Jake Bailey separately threw caution to the wind and attempted solo dashes for the line, both being swept up by the remaining bunch that was crammed with top line sprinters the likes of Bob Shannon, Paul Kenny, Les Kennett and Glen Hutchison to name a few; Shannon taking the narrowest of wins from Kenny and an unlucky Bailey. Several minutes later, Ben Johnson rode through to take Fastest Time. ‘Scratch rode well but for some reason we lacked the horsepower to pull the other bunches in; in the first lap we pulled back time but then the others seemed to pull away again.’ The race for Fastest Time was relatively settled, as Johnson had taken off on the last lap to build a solid lead that saw him solo across the line. ‘I thought I’d roll the dice and get a gap; maybe with a couple of helpers make up some time, but I was on my own after a while and I just soloed to the line.’
An ecstatic Shannon, speaking at the trophy presentation, could not believe his good fortune at having won both Memorials that are dedicated to the two deceased Footscray Cycling Club ‘Club Legends’ who between the pair had in excess of 100 years of service to the FCC. ‘I feel very, very honoured to have won both of those races; I really can’t convey how I feel right now. It’s just such a privilege.’
1st Bob Shannon, 2nd Paul Kenny, 3rd Jake Bailey, 4th Les Kennett, 5th Darren Payne, 6th Bernie O’Sullivan, 7th Paul Sheean, 8th Glen Hutchison. Fastest Time @ 1h54m38s Ben Johnson.