Footscray Cycling Club – Club Legends Criteriums @ Drake 4/12/16.
Sunny skies, a boisterous Northerly wind and climbing temperatures greeted riders for the Footscray Cycling Club’s Legends Criteriums, held on the fast and furious Drake Boulevard circuit in Altona. The annual event, held in honour of the late Harry Jones and Hugh Cram, as well as the Club’s living legend, Frank Zanatta, is a hotly contested race largely due to the immense respect Club members have for the three Club Legends and the selfless dedication and Aussie volunteering spirit each of these men showed to cycling in general and the Footscray Cycling Club in particular, racking up over 150 years of volunteer service between the three. Just to add some drama to the racing, riders had 2 races to contest in one; a single point was awarded to the first rider to finish each lap; the rider with the most points at the end of the race taking the points race prize, as well as the coveted Memorial sash for the overall winner.
A-Grade’s race was dominated by incessant breakaways, which broke the bunch up through attrition, but still ended in Club Criterium and Road Champion Dominik Dudkiewicz taking both the Points Race and the Criterium wins. But it wasn’t easy, and Dudkiewicz knew he had a real challenge on his plate. ‘At the start of the race Nick Leonard went off the front and picked up four points, and then I went past him and picked up the next three, and then the pair of us got away for about 20 minutes and picked up some points each. Then we got caught, went back to the bunch and then went again, this time with Nick, Mathias Kiernan and Daniel Hopper at one point and then Chris Munro; during that whole time Mathias was going for the point sprints and I really didn’t know who had the most points, so I really started going for all the points I could and in the end it was a narrow points win. The break foxed around at the end, and the last lap was a slow roll until I led around the last couple of corners.’ Dudkiewicz ended up taking the win by two bike lengths from Leonard and Munro. ‘You don’t often get the pleasure of winning a Memorial in the presence of one of the living legends in Frankie Zanatta so it was a real pleasure.’
B-Grade’s race was dominated by a masterful one-man breakaway from lap 5, with Joe Bury showing immense strength by building a huge lead over the course of the race, absolutely crushing the point score race and taking a huge win, only to be denied the race win by a small margin by Sunbury resident and Gym Instructor Daniel Standen, who took a risk at the end to bridge to the leader. ‘This was a very unusual race, on and off, people not wanting to do a turn, lots of argy-bargy. I was watching Joe Bury who was very impressive; he went away after a few laps and stayed away till the last lap, and at one point he was 50 seconds clear of us. He did the whole race on his own. At the end Michael Dam rode off the front with me and we bridged across to Joe and then the three of us rolled turns and I was just lucky to get the sprint from Joe.’ Standen took the win by a narrow margin from Bury, with Michael Dam in third place.
In C-Grade, veteran FCC racer and ex-europro Bob Shannon rode a measured, strategic race to take the sprint win. ‘It was a high, consistent speed for our race, and the sprints were pretty hotly contested, but in doing that it made it impossible for a break to form, and riders were pretty spent at the end of each sprint, so I figured it was going to be a bunch sprint, so I waited for the sprint at the end and ignored the points race.’ Shannon took the win from Aaron Peterson and Daniel Atkins, and was rapt to win the Legends race given the immense respect he holds for the Club Legends. And in the ride of the day, Phil Tehan just let the early points go to the young guns, waiting until the bunch were spent and then cleaning up many of the points sprints for the second half of the race, leading to his surprise points win. ‘Not bad for a non-sprinter!’
In D-Grade, big Doug Page just powered along for the first half of the race taking point after point in the point score, securing his win in the points race, and towards the latter half of the race it was veteran time trial expert Tommy Gray who took the race with anther solo break that the bunch simply could not reel in; the septuagenarian taking the win well clear of James Stuart who took the bunch sprint from Tom Moloney.
A: 1st Dom Dudkiewicz, 2nd Nick Leonard, 3rd Chris Munro, 4th Mathias Kiernan, 5th Andrew Bonello.
B: 1st Daniel Standen, 2nd Joe Bury, 3rd Michael Dam, 4th Darren Payne, 5th Timm Weitzel.
C: 1st Bob Shannon, 2nd Aaron Peterson, 3rd Daniel Atkins, 4th David Lane, 5th Anthony Gercovich.
D: 1st Tom Gray, 2nd James Stuart, 3rd Tom Moloney, 4th Eddie O’Farrell, 5th Ray Moriaty.
Points Score Winners: A: Dom Dudkiewicz, B: Joe Bury, C: Phil Tehan, D: Doug Page.