Graded scratch

Sometimes we start a race write-up with “Despite atrocious conditions...”. Saturday was the opposite, as we had what Denis Jessop (80yo) described as the best conditions in living memory at Uriarra. Yes, it was 16 degrees and there was no wind, but unfortunately only 37 turned up. Where were the other 40 possible riders one asks? Certainly not at the CCC morning handicap as they also had a pathetic roll-up. Nonetheless, those who came would have loved the experience of riding the flattest course possible in the ACT with no wind. The urn was back to its best and there were Tim Tams to reward those with a keen eye for sweet junk so really there were no excuses for not coming. I was predicting that someone would toss their bike away and run to the finish Froomy style, but there was thankfully little drama and even the 4WD crowd seemed positively passive for once.

Marc Vroomans won the sprint despite backing up from the morning race to edge out Paul Conner in A grade. Third placer Paul Welsh had a gap with half a lap to go but couldn’t sustain it to the finish. The three in B grade pedalled around politely then finished in a mad rush with Michael McGurgan edging out Ben McDuff and Michael Foulds. C grade had a bit of excitement as there were a number of attacks in a bid to nullify the sprint of Mark Stevenson. Mark was relegated to third after losing the sprint to John Paul De Sousa. Thirty seconds ahead in first was Dale McCormack who recorded a remarkable improvement in just a week’s riding. What’s your secret Dale? Judging by the times, D grade was a slow and intimate affair with the trio of Brian Chugg, Ian McVay and Des Brown rolling in single file and making it very easy for the finish judge.

The E graders showed a bit more spirit, catching D grade and then contesting a furious sprint at the finish. Kathryn Passalis certainly looked the part as she charged across the line out of the saddle and nose on her stem for her maiden victory, with James Tonkin and David Gunther not far behind. Ian Morton kept Bob Millar company for the two laps in F grade, while Bruce Jones only had himself to compete against in G grade. Bruce’s rival Bernie came out sans bicycle and after the start to sample the offerings from the repaired urn only.

Robert Langridge