SEVEN RIDERS USING THE GORDONVALE HILL COURSE AS A STEPPING STONE FOR NEXT MONTHS TOUR OF THE TROPICS, WERE JOINED ON THE TRICKY 60 KILOMETRE JOURNEY BY MUCH HERALDED TEENAGER AND NRS COMPETITOR LIAM EDWARDS (PICTURED IN LIGHT BLUE BEHIND GARY HAYDON IN THE FEATURED IMAGE) GIVING THE RACE A REAL SENSE OF INTRIGUE, as hardened A Graders Damien Ingram, Mark Hogan, Gary Haydon, Mat Driver and Michael Haseldine were vying for line honours, along with in form combatants Bernard Cossar – Smith and Kieran Mouldey making up a small but select group.
Opening lap and last year’s Tour Of The Tablelands winner Matt Driver slipped to an early lead followed out by Michael Haseldine and Mark Hogan however all eight riders fairly compact, and it was obvious to all that with only a small group that early breakaways were always going to be challenging, however it didn’t stop the odd few testing the water.
Driver led over the hill the first time, a litmus for the following laps, closely followed by Ingram, Edwards and Haseldine. Hogan and Cossar – Smith had their turn, before being dragged back by the watchful Ingram and the youthful North Eastern Victorian Liam Edwards. Turning onto Pine Road, Hogan again managed a gap on lap three. Team tactics had him gathered in at the crest of the Greenhill by Mouldey with Ingram taking a free ride to his wheel, with the rest breathing down their necks. Over the hill and Driver again took off and this time Ingram, not allowing any leeway reeled him in, not to be denied Matt went again only this time Edwards brought the race together. Small field but chock full of interest. Edwards, unsure of his competition, was very attentive to every move in the opening laps.
Edwards had his turn at the top at the commencement of lap four of their 8 lap journey with Ingram watching his every move smack on his wheel. Then into Gray Rd, Mouldey led Hogan and Gary Haydon. Another 8 klm lap completed and Driver topped the rise in front and pinched a small break however the field showed no urgency of a quick retaliation, feeling that Matt had burned a fair bit of petrol. The first indication of a fast run race was the withdrawal of Mark Hogan on the sixth lap. Every now and again Ingram and Edwards would cruise to the top and both appeared to have something in hand, however over the rise with two to go, Driver again led the way, this time with the tough Haseldine in close attendance. Heading toward Gray Rd and Ingram didn’t just roll to the top he tried to pinch a break but Edwards countered the attack and the two looked like they might get away before being stifled by a swollen C grade group inhibiting this success. The group quickly pegged them back, however the Ingram/Edwards duel was becoming a bit of cat and mouse with the rest of the quality pack on their wheels.
Bell lap and Gary Haydon led Driver however down the dip toward Gray Rd Damien Ingram took the lead and spared a look over his shoulder and he didn’t have to look far, for Liam Edwards was about to draw upside. A mechanical on this last lap put paid to the chances of Bernard Cossar–Smith and heading toward the Yarrabah Rd, Matt Driver was slowly dropping of the back.
7 laps complete and Edwards was now seemingly familiar with the course, launched and attached up the rise to the dodgy train lines. Ingram’s attentiveness had him quickly on his wheel and it looked a match race between the young gun Liam Edwards (who has just been signed up by the NRS team of Mobius Bridge lane ) and the master tactician Damien Ingram as they gapped the group leading into Pine creek road. An attempt to bridge to the pair by Mouldey, didn’t turn tricks and as the pair turned into Greenhill Rd, the lead appeared unassailable.
Ingram and Edwards, wheel for wheel to the base of the climb, where the talented young rider from the small village of Mooroopna Victoria, started to draw clear and despite an all-out effort from Ingram, Liam Edwards’ kilo for every year younger advantage, paid dividends and forged away to defeat Damien Ingram with a long gap back to Kieran Mouldey 3rd Gary Haydon was in next followed by Michael Haseldine in an exciting return to Gordonvale’s Hillside track.
A huge shout out to Liam’s MUM and DAD, Travis and Nadine who now make an annual pilgrimage from the FROZEN SOUTH to the WARM TROPICS, and WE LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK’S CRITERIUM where Liam will again take on some of our very best. And thank you also for submitting photographs of the race.
This race was a mix of riders resuming off long breaks, talented trackies and a solid bunch of regulars. Back from a spell where Nick Loukas, Alex Starmer, Andrew Harper and back from the rolling hills of Cornwall UK Grahame Allen. Lock in recent Malanda road race placegetters Scott Beaven, Nathan Bursztynowicz and Kane Hodge. The inform track riders were Brandon Hutton, Greg Hutton, Tom Cook, Neil Gregory and Greg Reynolds and add to the mix Kieran Harrison who has been in recent top form, plus our only female in the field Kath Deed, all this making a very wide open race.
Not having the benefit of sitting behind the race or being fed info on progress via aerial photography, this report is purely a precis. Race away and Nick Loukas showed the best way to come into form is to dictate from the front, and throughout the race Loukas was looking to up the ante. Harrison ditto early stages. Mid race Andrew Harper took on the roll. However always there to drag them back lurked Kane Hodge and Scotty Beaven, often on their wheel sat the brilliant track star Brandon Hutton. So this race was always going to be tough to breakaway. Solid performances from Alex Starmer and Neil Gregory throughout the race had the fans at hilltop in a quandary as to who would take the honours. So right through the entire race the field of 14 were set for a reasonably bunched finish until a puncture put paid to the dangerous Tom Cooks chances, Kath Deed was now off the back and Nick Loukas hard early work was taking its toll and a very rare sight was Scott Beaven and Grahame Allen both appearing that they would not bother the Judges.
On the final lap Greg Hutton, Kieran Harrison and Andrew Harper were boxing on however the race was centred on five riders, the consistent Greg Reynolds, Alex Starmer and Neil Gregory trying to contend with GOOD MATES Brandon Hutton and Kane Hodge. The ABC the day before had selected Kane Hodge with his superior hill climbing ability to be the one to beat. These riders were still all together at the foot of the rise however young HODGEY went into overdrive knowing he had to have an advantage over Brandon when they topped the hill, and advantage he did, going on to a convincing victory over Brandon Hutton and Neil Gregory. Fourth in was Greg Reynolds followed by Alex Starmer who will most certainly derive benefit from the ride. All in all the solid hit out for those going on to next month’s TOUR OF THE TROPICS.
The only time I had a good look at this grade was on their final lap when the A grade swept up and around them five and six deep with Damien Ingram and Liam Edwards being forced into the gravel as they passed the big field of twenty. Without the magical work of Kim Butler keeping me abreast lap by lap I can only go on the odd sighting, and a few chats with a some of the boys post-race in Mc Donald’s, where it was quite clear many of the reasonably newcomers to the club were making their mark. I refer To Frederic Boin, Matt Grillo, Jason Smith and Aaron Locke. Adam Johnstone in his very first ride with the club, Jason Whiteside and from the field of BMX Brian Nesbit. However when I did spot them it was noticeable Chris Chastre, Gaby Thomasz with Mark Procter were doing more than their share of the work load. I did notice Aaron Locke riding strongly through the latter stages and WITH A LAP TO GO the order at the top was Adam Johnstone leading from Matt Grillo followed by Andrew Mills and Gaby Thomasz. Moving into contention Al Hodge, Matt Grillo, Mark Procter who was still there in the company of Fred Boin and Aaron Locke. Into the run to the hill the leading seven were split into two divisions, Fred Boin, Aaron Locke, Brian Nesbit and Gaby Thomasz putting a small gap on Al Hodge, Matt Grillo and Mark Procter. However Gaby started losing ground on the final climb with Brian Nesbit in his first ride with the club making the transition from BMX to road with aplomb by moving away and taking the race from Aaron Locke and Fred Boin next in were Mark Procter, Matt Grillo and Al Hodge.
A huge Cairns Cycling Club welcome went out to Lynette Heweston in her first ride in a road race and Lynette had six others to contend with over the testing 40 kilometre journey. I can say the order after the first lap was Nigel Hayles leading out Steven Davies and Michael Etherington, tucked in behind that trio were Stephen Flood, Lynette Heweston, John Pearce and sitting off the back was the former track star of the sixties Jeffrey Hartley now a mere 74 years young. The group were keeping together rather well and at a reasonable pace for the grade. Not much change over the next couple of laps with the exception of the ‘’Doc’’ who was dropping off the back, with Jeff telling me after the race “I can’t wait to turn 75 so I can go down a grade in the masters where I’ll be one of the youngest.”
Picking up the race two out, Hales led Davies and the same duo were in front at the bell and all except The Doc were in contention, with Lynette Heweston riding a terrific race first up back in fourth place. Into the run for the final crack at the now Mountain in front of them, Nigel Hayles who had worked strongly all race now appeared only having to contend with the tenacious Etherington who always leaves any race he contests in a state of complete exhaustion with his never say die attitude. However try as he might, the popular Michael E couldn’t catch Nigel who ran out the winner from Etherington with Steven Davies third over the line next was Stephen Flood followed by John Pearce and Lynette Heweston doing a mighty job on her first road race.
Beautiful weather fantastic course and top class racing.
STOP PRESS OUR VOLUNTEERS WERE WONDERFUL. SO YOU ALL KNOW THE CATCH CRY.
No volunteers, NO RACE.
And to quote a famous boxer – Love yous all JONESY.