Footscray Cycling Club Graded Scratch Races @ You Yangs 31 March 2012.
Round 6 of the Footscray Cycling Club's Winter Road Season saw racers head out around the Kirksbridge circuit out at Little River in very strong winds that made for extremely tough racing.
Melton resident Dom Dudkiewicz worked hard all day to claim the A-Grade race by riding aggressively from the get go. 'This race was predictable from the start with such a strong Westerly crosswind; you know that it's going to get hard early when someone jams it in the crosswind, so I stayed near the front. Adam Murchie and I worked the bunch hard heading towards Harry's Hill the first time and before we knew it we'd dropped most of the bunch; there was only Murchie, Stuie Morgan, Adrian Hanson, Jason Costin and I. We all rolled even turns and kept the pressure up and dropped 2 more, so it was Murchie, Morgan, Hanson and me. I attacked in the gutter going up Harry's Hill and Adrian was dropped; so then I had to be a little strategic and keep both the others apart.' That meant that Dom found himself in a two versus one situation that required some smart riding; he stayed on the front in the tailwind run to the line and took the sprint well clear of Murchie and Morgan.
Similarly, B-Grade hit each other like prize fighters for the first two laps, rendering most of the 27 riders in the bunch wondering if they had accidentally ended up in A-Grade; the likes of Mick Varker, Bob Shannon, Mark Micallef, Phil Tehan and Antonio Marino really driving the pace early. The bunch split at various times into two and three groups, but such was the nature of the race and the never-say-die attitude of most riders that bunches thought dropped managed to get back into the race. By the last lap, with some of the early attackers fading, the pace was driven hard by Paul Sheean, Anthony Rebesco and Phil Tehan, with Sheean initiating the last, and successful attack that caught the eye of the eventual winner, veteran Bob Shannon and perennial hard man Phil Tehan. The three built a small but crucial lead that was not to be caught, with Essendon resident Shannon taking the win from Sheean and Tehan. Afterwards, 55 year old Shannon was happy to have come out on top on such a tough day. 'This was a very tough race, but I do like the wind, and I felt good out there towards the end.' With half a lap to go, Sheean attacked and schoolteacher Shannon followed. 'I just followed Paul Sheean who put on the pressure and split everything up; with about 300 to go Paul sat up and wanted me to lead it out and with the tail wind I was able to stall him a bit and jump him,' Shannon crossing the line just ahead of Sheean and Tehan. Shannon has had a long and distinguished career on the bike, and has been a competitive cyclist since 1967. 'I Raced in Europe and the U.S. in the 80's as well as a few seasons here as a professional, racing 3 Sun Tours. I'm enjoying my racing more than ever; as you get older you appreciate the things that make you happy even more.'
In C-Grade, Kon Papakonstantinou best survived the carnage to take the win from Paul Beasley and Tom Moloney, and in D Grade newcomer Michael Dam claimed his maiden win in his maiden race. The 30 year old Footscray resident has been a recreational cyclist for some time, but felt the urge to race. 'I'm a social cyclist who decided to join a club and try my luck, and wow; that was super-tough!'
A: 1st Dom Dudkiewicz, 2nd Adam Murchie, 3rd Stuart Morgan, 4th Jason Costin & 5th Adrian Hanson.
B: 1st Bob Shannon, 2nd Paul Sheean, 3rd Phil Tehan, 4th Antonio Marino, 5th Mark Micallef & 6th Bernie O'Sullivan.
C: 1st Kon Papakonstantinou, 2nd Paul Beasley, 3rd Tom Moloney, 4th Ross Schubach.
D: 1st Michael Dam, 2nd James Black, 3rd Graeme Wilson, 4th Bev Thomas.
Ya ridin' or ya hidin?