Footscray CC Graded Scratch Series (2012) - Footscray CC Compton Green Handicap
It was the inaugural running of the crash marred Compton Green Handicap, 5 laps of the You Yangs circuit with an uphill finish in the You Yangs 76kms in distance.
The cold weather and school holidays were probably factors in the smaller than usual number of about 50 riders spread across 6 bunches matched by ability. Each bunch took off about 4-5 minutes apart with the strongest riders taking off last.
The last group to take off “Scratch” caught “2nd Scratch” just after the 2 laps to go mark on Branch rd and a touch of wheels was followed by a nasty crash bringing down at least 4 riders of which 2 had suspected broken collar bones. Danny Bellis and Anthony Garnier were both taken to hospital for treatment.
Further up the road 3rd scratch was losing about a rider a lap, one unlucky rider Jeremy Smith appeared to break his stem about 4k into the race and had to abandon early. 3rd scratch was down to 5 riders with 2 laps to go and couldn’t see any bunches up the road they were chasing.
Meanwhile the first 3 bunches to take off had all merged around 2 laps to go and were traveling well.
The 4 remaining riders from 2nd Scratch and Scratch including Ben O’Leary, Miles De Costa and Brett Hickford being driven by Ben Johnson caught the 5 remaining 3rd Scratch riders just before a lap to go and Phil Tehan, Les Kennet and Peter McQuade were able to latch on for nearly a lap and get a free ride until Ben J decided on Flinders Ave to leave the bunch behind and ride solo to the finish.
Being chased by a solo Ben Johnson the combined 1st to 3rd Limit bunches endured a monster effort by the ever green Tommy Gray up Flinders avenue on the final lap. The group entered the You Yangs together and Jeremy Canny-Smith had a crack at riding away from the bunch to glory but was brought back by a strong finishing Gerald Liew and Ben Coull. Gerald was able to hold on for the win with Ben Coull in 2nd and Jeremy Canny-Smith in 3rd. Handicap Specialist Shane McGuirk came in 4th followed by Daryl Davis. 2nd limit riders managed to get 1st and 3rd place despite being caught by 3rd limit earlier in the race.
1st Gerald Liew
2nd Ben Coull
3rd Jeremy Canny-Smith
4th Shane McGuirk
5th Daryl Davis
6th Frank Crifo
7th Andrew Schieseck
8th Trav Small
Ben Johnson – Fastest Rider