Footscray Cycling Club Salter Memorial Scratch Races held @ You Yangs on 1/9/12.
Riders contesting the Footscray Cycling Club's Salter Memorial graded scratch races out at the You Yangs were greeted with easily the best weather of the season so far, with a balmy, sunny spring afternoon and light breezes making for perfect racing conditions.
A-Grade riders tested each other out early in the race with probing attacks, but it was eventual winner, 21 year old University student Chris Zucchet, along with Miles DaCosta and Anthony Garnier, who made the day's decisive break; the trio swapping turns and holding off the chasing bunch for several laps. 'From the time we got together we just worked really well' said an elated Zucchet. 'We all took really hard turns and there was a strong feeling between the three of us that we might just end up fighting it out for the win.' As it was, on the last lap, the bunch made a do-or-die effort to bring the three back, and as the two groups converged, Zucchet dug deep and attacked again, and remarkably, in the last 5 kilometer dash to the finish line, he managed to hold off the charging bunch; an absolutely exhausted Zucchet crossing the line barely half a wheel ahead of Dom Dudkiewicz in second and Matt Heath in third place.
With riders attacking as soon as the peloton turned the first corner, B-Grade's race was always going to prove a difficult affair; in fact many riders tried their hand at a breakaway, with Damian Harris (the strongest rider out there on the day), Mark Micallef, Bernie O'Sullivan, Jason Southby and Peter Race, to name a few, all spending time making a break. But each and every break was chased down by the willing riders of the bunch, and it was always going to come down to a bunch sprint. In the end, it was Travis Small who kicked off proceedings, making a dash for the line with about 3 kilometers to go, which saw the worried and strung out bunch chasing at full tilt for the next 2 kilometers, coming together with under one kilometer to go. In the final run to the line, many riders tried to time their sprints to get to the line first, but it was Paul Sheean who managed to get his timing right, crossing the line just clear of Mark Micallef in second and Damian Harris for third.
C-Grade's race saw long-time FCC veteran Tony Murrell make his first appearance in quite a while to take the win in a bunch sprint, with the next three riders separated by the merest of margins; Paul Downes faring the best of the rest to take second place from Tom Gray. Afterwards, Murrell spoke of his race with a touch of humour in his response. 'I didn't even expect to finish! I sat in for the first 2 laps just keeping out of trouble. I just had luck on my side and gaps kept opening up for me, and when I crossed first I looked at Mick (Starcevic, the Club Handicapper) and we both had a look of shock on our faces!
D-Grade's race also finished in a bunch sprint, with young Stephen Liley holding off Leigh Pridmore and Robert Stonehouse to take the win and earn a promotion up to C-Grade.
A: 1st Chris Zucchet, 2nd Dom Dudkiewicz, 3rd Matt Heath, 4th Brett Hickford, 5th Andrew McKellar.
B: 1st Paul Sheean, 2nd Mark Micallef, 3rd Damian Harris, 4th Bernie O'Sullivan.
C: 1st Tony Murrell, 2nd Paul Downes, 3rd Tom Gray, 4th Paul Beasley.
D: 1st Stephen Liley, 2nd Leigh Pridmore, 3rd Robert Stonehouse, 4th Marty Kilduff.
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