Footscray CC Graded Scratch Series (2012) - Graded Scratch Races @ Little River
Round 20 of the Footscray Cycling Club’s Winter Road Season was held around the Kirksbridge circuit near Little River, with birthday boy Dom Dudkiewicz giving himself a present, taking out the A-Grade race. Early on in the race Ben Johnson upped the pace and put riders into the gutter in an attempt to break up the field; at this time Geelong rider Eric Holt took a nasty fall after his handlebars snapped, with veteran rider Bob Shannon and International Malaysian rider Muhammed Suardi both crashing out in the aftermath. 29 year old winner Dudkiewicz spoke of how lucky he was to avoid the crash. ‘When Ben (Johnson) lifted the pace, I noticed there was a split in the bunch so I pulled out of the line to get around and get into the front group, and just as I moved out to the right the 3 riders in front of me went down; I thanked my lucky stars that I missed that crash as it didn’t look very pleasant.’ After the front bunch of Dudkiewicz, Johnson, Jason Costin, Tom Paton, Miles DaCosta and Ben O’Leary waited a little while for any riders to catch up after the crash, the remaining riders swapped turns at a high pace for the next few laps, with Johnson attacking on the last lap and Dudkiewicz bridging across; the pair establishing a 200 meter lead, with Dudkiewicz taking the sprint from Johnson and Jason Costin taking the bunch sprint and third place.
49 year old carpenter Les Kennett took the win in a closely fought B-Grade race, the quality field of riders being boosted by quite a contingent of triathletes looking for a hard training session. Although there were numerous attacks, the race settled into a solid bunch ride, until Damian Harris and Murray Crawford decided to throw in a late race attack, riding out to quite a substantial lead. Behind the breakaway pair, the bunch were taking their time about getting the chase organised, and really only caught the pair through luck and not good management. At the final corner Xavier Coppock hit the front and led the chasers in a spirited lead out train in an attempt to shut down the two-man break, and when he peeled off Mark Micallef found himself on the front way too early; Micallef delivering a Renshaw-like lead out for the ‘Macedon Missile’ Kennett, who duly delivered a blindingly quick Cavendish-like sprint and flew past Harris and Crawford at breakneck speed, catching the unlucky pair right on the finish line.
C-Grade winner Frank Crifo took out today’s race by taking the mass bunch sprint, the 44 year old East Keilor resident enjoying the race immensely. ‘This was a good strong race, I tried a breakaway with another guy on lap 2, but the intention was to break up the bunch a little rather than get away and stay away.’ This tactic didn’t really bear fruit, as the bunch stayed relatively intact for the whole 80 kilometers. Still feeling strong at the final turn, Crifo had a clear plan of attack. ‘When we came around the last corner I wanted to be in front, I waited for someone to break so I could chase them down but nobody would, I just kept rolling faster and faster so it was a grind more than a sprint.’ Crifo crossed the line just clear of Joe Caruana and Andrew Schieseck; the bunch unusually finishing together. Crifo has taken to competitive cycling from a Triathlon background, deciding to specialise in his strongest leg, the bike, enjoying the last 2 years of racing with the Footscray Cycling Club.
D-Grade’s Robert Stonehouse signalled his intention to start moving up the gradings with a strong win today; the 36 year old Werribee resident holding on in the end to record the tightest of wins. After several laps of the bunch taking turns, veterans Tom Gray and Dal O’Brien threw in a serious do-or-die attack on the last lap, building a 30 second lead on the bunch until they were reeled in with 2 kilometers to go. At this time, Stonehouse threw caution to the wind. ‘I came around the last corner and I thought I’d just go for it. I had a 100 meter lead but with 100 to go I was exhausted. I just held on by probably a bike length to Leigh.’ This is Stonehouse’s first season on the bike, having played district cricket all of his life and needing a conduit to channel his competitive spirit. ‘I’ve discovered that I have white line fever!’
A: 1st Dom Dudkiewicz, 2nd Ben Johnson, 3rd Jason Costin, 4th Ben O’Leary.
B: 1st Les Kennett, 2nd Damian Harris, 3rd Murray Crawford, 4th Paul Kenny.
C: 1st Frank Crifo, 2nd Joe Caruana, 3rd Andrew Schieseck, 4th Tom Moloney.
D: 1st Robert Stonehouse, 2nd Leigh Pridmore, 3rd Marty Kilduff, 4th Geordan Bombos.