WHILST A PLETHORA OF OTHER EVENTS AFFECTED THE FIELDS FOR THE RESUMPTION OF RACING AT BEAUTIFULBRAMSTON, THE PERFECT WEATHER AND ENTHUSIASM OF THOSE WHO BOTHERED TO MAKE THE TRIP, outweighed any prior disappointments brought on by the lack of numbers. In fact I cannot remember a more thrilling match race provided by the inform Tobia Kipper and State Junior road Champion Luke Azzopardi. With A and B GRADE starting together, the eight riders set off on their 60 odd kilometre journey. Both Kipper and Azzopardi content to roll with the group for a greater part of the distance, doing their share to keep the above average tempo rolling.
However, heading toward the start of the rolling hills heading back toward Bramston I clearly saw Tobia’s head turn to Luke and at the bottom of the first rise, where the pair quickly put metres on the Division 2 riders, and as expected the pair rode out to an unassailable lead giving no chance of any unexpected challenge from riders in the lower grade to attempt to cross.
So the match race was on. Azzopardi led Kipper past the judge’s area on their way to the river, and with both riders adept in the hills it was anyone’s guess who may take the race. Up the hills to the river, it was wheel for wheel, and ditto at the turnaround. Both Luke and Tobia seemingly enjoying the contest as they topped the final hill locked together. Now who had the best sprint, this was on all minds as they shot past the Café not an inch between them. 200 Metres out, Kipper had the slightest advantage less than a wheel, however, recent track racing kicked in for Luke, and as the pair flashed across the line, it was Luke Azzopardi just edging out Tobia Kipper, in a race that had the entire beach on their toes. The pair had put on a riding clinic in – without doubt – the best finish of the season.
The Race within a race Grahame Allen, Gavin Butler, Tom Cook, Brian Nesbit, Ken Dyson and Greg Reynolds appeared to relish the fact that for most of the event they were in the company of Top class riders in Azzopardi and Kipper. Notwithstanding this, every rider was more than prepared to do his share of the bullocking and the pace for this race was a cracker. Special mention to Innisfail’s Ken Dyson who unfortunately went to the wrong end of the course prior the race, meaning he had only 30 minutes to make the starting line in Bramston 18 kilometres away. This, Ken achieved, then he had the audacity to do a lot of the pace work throughout the race.
Dyson led out of Bramston from Azzorpardi and Nesbit with Gavin Butler taking over as they reached the first of the hills, past Smoko Creek heading for the turn into Cartwright Road had every rider rolling through, ensuring the solid tempo, with the most adventurous being Butler, Dyson, Cook and Reynolds. Swinging into Cartwright, Dyson enjoying his home turf led Butler and Nesbit however, all bunched. There was a slight lull toward the Garradunga Turn where Kipper upped the speed and he was followed through by Cook. The Moyle Road turn behind them and again Butler pinched a small break only to be gathered in by Dyson, Reynolds and Nesbit.
Heading toward Mirriwinni, Butler, Dyson, Cook and Allen who had been reasonably quite were all looking comfortable, and it was Butler who turned first for the run back followed by Kipper, Reynolds and Allen. Passing a farm house on the return the field had to compete with a lovely Brown Dog who thank heaven was a racer rather than a destroyer and posed no threat, although all riders were watchful. Not much happening as they approached the hilly section where Butler again attached and at this point Nesbit was just starting to slightly drop of the back on each of the hills, only to claw his way back downhill. Butler gathered this time by Kipper and Azzopardi and watched as the A Grade pair said “c’es la vie”, and disappeared up the road. Past Smoko Butler led Cook, Dyson, Allen and Reynolds.
Past the Judge heading for the river all grouped together Allen, Reynolds with Cook making a line of three and they were closely followed by Nesbit, Dyson and Butler but you could throw blankets over them. The river turn and home Allen swung in the company of Cook, Butler, Dyson and Reynolds. However here, after doing a power of work Gav Butler struggled up the sharp rise and the Race Maker was out of business. At this point travelling in the vehicle behind the Commissaire and the so called scribe had their bets, with the race Ref declaring Reynolds and the so called scribe going for Allen. Past the Café and all off the saddle Reynolds, Cook, Dyson and Allen were in a titanic battle to the wire however over the final 150 metres the ever improving Greg Reynolds moved away winning comfortably over Ken Dyson and Grahame Allen in third spot, Grahame was followed in by Tom Cook, Brian Nesbit and Gav Butler in a ripper of a B grade encounter.
C and D GRADES
Ten riders were despatched by race ref Richie Bates for their journey out to Miriwinni and Back with the race having extra interest with a few newcomers to Cairns Road Racing, including C graders Brenton Koch and Michael Slattery both from Cairns and in the D grade division Cheyne Colley again a local from Cairns. Added interest was the return of Vice President of the club James Mort back in the saddle after being off the scene for some time due to the retched Flu. So the two races in one headed for Miriwinni with Keith Fearon, Gaby Thomasz and Don Huyser making up the field for C grade and Jon Pearce, Nick Masasso and wily veteran Jeff Hartley completing the D grade.
All riders group compacto through the initial rolling hills with Keith Fearon, Cheyne Colley and Gaby Thomasz prominent through the early stages. Doc Hartley riding at his own steady pace was the first to lose touch. The flat run toward Miriwinni had Nick Masasso and Jon Pearce matching it with the C graders. Fearon and Slattery both showing they meant business doing a power of work however being closely monitored by the C grade favourites in Hard man Huyser and sprint champ Thomasz. Past the tricky rail crossing, Slattery led Huyser with Don swapping turns at the top appearing to be in of control of both groups and as they turned at the township the order was Fearon leading from Huyser followed by Slattery, Masasso, and Thomasz. They in turn were chased by James Mort, Jon Pearce Cheyne Colley and Brendon Koch with the Doc now out of contention.
The trip back to Bramston had Colley, Mort and Koch dropping off the back all three in need of the solid hit out. Past the judge’s area and on to the river turn Gaby Thomasz led Keith Fearon and Michael Slattery then a slight gap to Jon Pearce, with Huyser and Masasso sitting behind Pearce. Both races were in that group. Keith Fearon in his first ride at Bramston was giving the favoured duo reason for concern as he hit the hills still riding strongly, as was Michael Slattery. The guys nearly dropped Gaby on that last steep hill, but she just managed to get back on. Swinging for home Slattery and Fearon were both in a position to cause an upset, as they topped the last rise in strong contention.
On the home straight, Slattery put the hammer down and rode hard for the finish line. However, the wise heads of Thomasz and Huyser were perfectly poised to shatter the hopes of the clubs newest arrivals as the pair overtook a slowing Slattery and swept to the lead at the café with Thomasz sprinting quickly. Gaby kicked and led 200 out with Huyser smack in her slipstream and just when Gaby was looking to end her frustrating string of minor placings, Don swung of her back to nab Gaby right on the line to gain a narrow verdict in what was another terrific finish at the beachside village. Third in for C Grade was Michael Slattery followed by Keith Fearon with Brendon Koch fifth. D grade went to Nick Masasso from Jon Pearce, third was Cheyne Colley with James Mort Fourth.
To our magnificent volunteers Glenys, Ian, Sue and Kim and anyone I’ve missed, well done and to those who couldn’t or wouldn’t make it, you have missed one of the perfect days for racing on the fabulous Bramston Beach.
Don’t miss the next one down here, which will be the club championships November 25th.