The Collins Avenue course renowned for being QUICK, was always going to suit the regular top graders in Simon Hubbard, Damien Ingram, Haseldine and Carolan. Add to the mix the up and coming foursome of Jamie Holman Shane Gelling, Tobia Kipper and Andrew Harper plus the boys up a grade, Bernard Cossar-Smith, Adam Ewart and Al Hodge, ensuring the large crowd were in for treat. Also in the field were crack track men – Mackay’s Hamish Wright along with Bustling Rod Larcombe.
With all the usual speed from Ingram, Kipper, Cossar Smith and Harper the race sped through the first six laps without any major moves until Jamie Holman and Michael Haseldine hit the front with Linc Carolan on their wheel. Holman and Haseldine then pinched a decent break with the ever watchful Simon Hubbard leading the main group. Moving quickly Ingram, Tobia Kipper and Andrew Harper joined Hubbard and the race then changed complexion with Harper taking the lead allowing Haseldine and Carolan the chance to grab a few breaths.
Laps 9 through 11 had Kipper riding strongly in company with Shane Gelling, Hubbard and Ingram with sprint lap pending. It was unsure if anyone would complete for the accolade, knowing it was only for bravado. Ingram had reached the lead with Linc Carolan as they shot toward the Sheridan St end for the run for sprinting honours. Ingram beating off Carolan looked home however, as they rounded the turn for the finish straight, however, from the shadows emerged Hubbard and Ingram going mano-a-mano. Hubbard timing his run to perfection, throwing the bike to the line to win in a photo finish, third spot to Carolan followed by Gelling.
Continuing their momentum, the two took advantage of the gap created from the sprint. Wise to these events, Harper bridged across to be a part of what looked to be a potentially winning break, but no sooner had he made contact, it was acknowledged that he had burned one to many matches to provide the support to stay away.
It was thought that this field was way too strong for a group of only two coul stay away and any opportunity to recuperate on the downhill straight was negated by a reasonable headwind.
The next few laps Michael Haseldine forged to the top with Gelling and Ingram until Holman attacked and slipped to a 15 second break and held on for the next two laps. Gelling, Haseldine and Carolan with Ingram marshalling troops gathered in Holman only to watch Harper slip to the lead. Three laps left Lincoln Carolan riding an amazing stop start race grabbed the top spot, and just inside the three lap mark, Bernard Cossar- Smith joined Carolan hotly chased by Ingram, Hubbard, Holman and Hamish Wright who had dominated Friday nights track. However 2 laps out Cossar – Smith and Carolan held a five second lead over Ingram, Hubbard and Wright.
It didn’t go un noticed that the orange jerseys of Michael Haseldine lurking at the back monitor events, until heading into the bell lap, where Carolan had the measure of the brave Cossaar – Smith, Michael Haseldine weaved his way through the field to join him at the top, and instantly the pair attacked, pinched a break and working together looked massive chance of holding on. At the bell the exact order was Haseldine and Carolan 6 seconds in front and blossoming, followed by Cossar- Smith, Ingram, Wright, Hubbard, Gelling, Larcombe, Harper, Kipper and Holman, however you couldn’t discount any of the back nine from figuring in the placings.
Down toward Sheridan St for the turn back to the finish Carolan and Haaseldine locked in battle, led Gelling and Wright with the sprinter riding a great race. However no one could gather in the two leaders. With 200 metres left surely Lincoln Caarolan couldn’t possibly hold of Michael Haseldine after the work Linc had done during the race, and so it was drawing to the finish Haseldine with superb judgement went on to win nicely from Carolan. The race for THIRD saw Simon Hubbard edge away from Rod Larcombe and Jamie Holman followed by Hamish Wright. The race was a great spectacle held in what would be arguably Australia’s most picturesque setting for a cycling criterium.
And as fate would have it – the first three to cross the line, also decided the gold medals of the respective categories in descending order from masters 3, the oldies showing how its done
Placings in their grades were MASTERS 1 – Simon Hubbard 1st Jamie Holman 2nd Andrew Harper 3rd.
MASTERS 2 – Lincoln Carolan 1st Rod Larcombe 2ND MASTERS 3 – Michael Haseldine 1st Hamish Wright 2nd Bernard Cossar – Smith 3rd.
Again a mix of four grades and a race full of class containing top A grade riders in Brendon Skerke, Peter Bridgewater and a Newcomer to our area Matteo Adornetto. They had to contend with Mal Lindsay, Nick Loukas, Greg Hutton and Townsville’s Mark Pearson all riding in great form plus Champion women’s star Fiona Yard. Masters has no mercy so you ride in your age bracket, Russell Eustace and Gary Perkins riders normally in C grade and Steven Davies a D grade performer, however all three took to the challenge with enthusiasm.
Race away and disappearing from view Brendon Skerke led out with Gary Perkins Mal Lindsay and Fiona Yard. Back into view and Brendon Skerke was rolling at a solid tempo and he had Gary Perkins, Mal Lindsay, Fiona Yard and Russell Eustace right with him. Various leaders through the next six laps were Yard, Skerke, Nick Loukas, Russell Eustace and Matteo Adornetto. The pace didn’t slacken with Steven Davies and Gary Perkins feeling the pinch and dropping of the back. Both riders continuing on despite losing touch with the leaders.
Peter Bridgewater surged to lead with Skerke and pair pinched a small break only to have Mal Lindsay, Greg Hutton and Mark Pearson reel them in. Down Collins on the sprint lap Fiona Yard and Mark Pearson led the way from Bridgewater followed by Lindsay. Straightening up Fiona was battling out with the two track riders in Townville’s Pearson and our own Bridgewater with Mark Pearson narrowly getting the upper hand over Peter with Fiona third. Sadly for Pearson he punctured shortly after and was out of contention as was Mal Lindsay who wobbled on a turn and appeared to have a mechanical, therefore retiring to prepare for the next day’s Kermesse at Gordonvale.
Sprint over saw Bridgewater and Yard take control for the next three laps setting a sizzling pace. They were then joined at the top by Skerke and this time it was Yard and Skerke with Bridgewater taking a sit. Greg Hutton enjoying the course led a chase group to bring the leaders back and with 5 laps to go the lead trio were Hutton, Yard and Matteo Adornetto also showing a liking for the Collins St course. Next to throw out the gauntlet and quickly join in was Russell Eustace relishing riding up a grade or two and he exploded to the front and cleared out with a healthy margin of around 8 seconds. However heading for the last 3 Greg Hutton and Bridgewaater were starting to reel Russell in.
Passing the judges area with a little less than 3 laps, Peter Bridgewater was again the leader from Eustace, Skerke, Hutton, Nick Loukas, Yard and Adornetto anyone of the seven could win. Nick Loukas momentarily struck the front with Skerke and Yard right behind, what a race. THE BELL the top four Eustace, Yard, Skerke and Hutton with Bridgewater parked up behind. Back into view heading for Sheridan, Bridgewater had assumed control with Greg Hutton smack on his wheel followed by Yard and Skerke. Tooth and nail up the slight rise in Collins the two track boys fought it out with Perter Bridgewater taking the race from Greg Hutton with Fiona Yard riding a mighty race third she was followed in by Brendon Skerke and Matteo Adornetto.
A footnote to this race was the performance of Steve Davies riding miles up in grade and being lapped, Steve became A CROWD FAVOURITE flashing a broad smile every time he passed the Judges area he kept on keeping on with the informative spectators showing what sportsmanship is all about.
MASTERS 4 RESULTS – Peter Bridgewater 1st Greg Hutton 2nd Brendon Skerke 3rd MASTERS WOMEN 3 Fiona Yard – GOLD.
BRAVELY LOWER GRADE RIDERS – Michael Etherington, Tony Nastasi, and Townsville’s Tim Rademaker had to take on some of the Norths most accomplished riders in Gary Haydon, Grahame Allen, Gary Ryan and Gavin Butler. Also in the mix was Co- commentator James Mort enjoying his duel roll at the Collins St circuit? And to complete the field Speewah’s Mel Pryde and accomplished track rider Gabby Tomasz.
Gavin Butler immediately speared to the lead from Gary Haydon, Grahame Allen and Tim Rademaker, showing all that this group were not just here to play. After a few laps Allen, Haydon, Tim Rademaker and Mel Pryde all had their share at the top. However laps 4 to 5 saw Butler lead and the pace starting to understandably hurt Tony Nastasi, Michael Ethrington and to a lesser extent James Mort as they slowly dropped off the back.
Seventh lap saw Tim Rademaker defy his ranking by taking the top from Gabby Thomasz , Allen and Haydon, however seven of the field of ten were all capable of sprint honours. Mel Pryde a couple of laps off the sprint was showing she was a serious contender leading from Grahame Allen and Gary Haydon. Sprint lap saw the field bunched as Gavin Butler again assumed control from Haydon, Thomasz, Allen and Rademaker. 200 metres out Haydon drew alongside Butler and Allen and came away to take the sprint from the above mentioned duo and they were followed by Gabby Thomasz and Mel Pryde both women putting in great rides.
Sprint over and Gary Haydon and Grahame Allen suddenly went into over drive and stole a break with Gary Ryan starting to be prominent leading the chase. However inch by inch second by second the pair started to put a gap on the field. Gavin Butler and Tim Rademaker trying to assemble a counter punch couldn’t stop the leaders from slowly getting away and through laps 13 to 17 the lead was a huge 40 seconds. The final 3 laps Gary Haydon and Grahame Allen, barring incident now had the race between themselves and at the bell the chasing group in order were Mel Pryde, Gabby Thomazs, Tim Rademaker and Gary Ryan. The same group same positions powered toward Sheridan for the run back to the line. With Allen and Haydon a mile out in front the great interest was could Grahame Allen hold off the MASTER athlete, however try as he might Grahame couldn’t withstand the final power of Gary and he crossed line only a few metres behind Haydon.
Great battle for third with Gary Ryan finishing the race of strongly in front of Tim Rademaker. Tim was followed home by Mel Pryde and Gabby Thomasz both women putting in fantastic performances.
MASTERS PLACINGS 5 – Gary Haydon 1st Michael Etherington 2nd MASTERS 6 – Grahame Allen 1st Gary Ryan 2nd Tim Rademaker 3rd.
A race that course commentator James Mort dubbed THE EXPERIENCE GENTLEMEN had massive interest as we had all the way from Alice Springs David Bird, driving up from Bundaberg Bobby Stockwell, Remy Lanz we think from around Ingham way and our own veteran Jeff Hartley.
Off they went with David Bird keen to lead out and did so through the first seven odd laps however not much between the four. All bowling along appearing to riding well within themselves and heading toward the sprint the order was Remy Lanz leading from Bobby Stockwell, Jeff Hartley and David Bird. Every time Remy passed the judges area, the roar from the Lenz fan club was not only deafening but entertaining. Leaving Sheridan St behind them for the run for Sprint honours David Bird sprinting powerfully cleared out to win comfortably from Bundaberg Bobby with Jeff Hartley and Remy Lanz next. The laps leading up to the last three had Jeff Hartley and David Bird just edging away from Bobby Stockwell with Remy feeling the pinch dropping off the back.
Three left, Stockwell had caught up and the order was Bird, Hartley and Stockwell with a gap to Lanz. Heading up to the bell Bird and Hartley had gained a five second break over Stockwell who then had his chances blown by a flat tyre so now it was a battle of the warriors Bird and Hartley or Hartley and Bird. The two veterans had the crowd on their feet as they dashed toward the line with the MAN FROM DOWN TODD RIVER WAY grabbing the win over Hartley WITH Bobby Stockwell limping over line in third spot followed in by Remy Lanz . A small field but highly competitive race.
MASTERS PLACINGS – Masters 7 David Bird GOLD – Masters 8 Remy Laanz GOLD – Masters 9 Jeff Hartley GOLD – Masters 10 Bobby Stockwell GOLD.
The effort put in by the volunteers was nothing short of outstanding you all know who you are and for fear of missing out on someone I’ll just say thanks. However a big thankyou to James Mort for assisting with the comparing James you did a great job.