The infamous course of the Australian Automotive Research Centre was home to this year’s Bikebug.com Midlands Tour once again. Hidden in the magnificent bush setting, just 20 minutes from Anglesea, this closed circuit is a must-do-race on the Singapore Airlines Victorian Road Series.
The slick organisation of host club, Footscray, combined with the tough, but fair circuit makes it a highlight on the racing calendar. Of course, this race also doubles as a memorial for the late Tas Johnson an Australian Olympic team representative and local legend of the sport.
The day of racing is broken into morning and afternoon sessions:
- Morning: Women A, B and C; Masters B and C; and Men’s C
- Afternoon: Men’s A and B; and Masters A
Mother Nature was kind all day, with light winds in the morning and only a brief dark cloud threatening. While the wind was fresh in the morning, the racing was hot. Gaps and smaller bunches formed across most categories once they entered the larger of two laps. The larger laps feature a quick decent, steady climb and small dirt section – each of those key elements ensures a select field or individual remains in the closing stages of each race.
The Women’s A race made exciting viewing when a group of four gapped the field with roughly 10km remaining. What appeared as a well-worked unit dedicated to distancing themselves from the field, turned towards the expected cat-and-mouse game in the closing moments. Oceania Road Race Champion Shannon Malseed proved too strong for her break compatriots of Grace Brown (second), Justine Barrow (third) and Margeaux Thompson (fourth).
Of particular note for Footscray CC readers, Callum Brown continues his impressive rise through the ranks after winning Mens C. Congratulations to Callum and David Newett on his second in Masters C.
Some questions were to be answered in the afternoon session, including: could the Pat’s Veg team win three in a row in Men’s A? Did Tom Leaper have the form to grab back-to-back victories in Masters A? And would there be emerging characters in Men’s B we could label as ‘ones to watch’?
Brendon Scott answered the final question with a hugely impressive second place in Men’s B. Riding solo for nearly 1.5 hours during the 2.45 racing, the effort left some of the finishing straight mimicking the words of Doctor Emmett Brown in Back to the Future: ‘Great Scott!’
The winner in Men’s B was former ice skater Lionel Mawditt. His win was almost the opposite to the gold winning performance of Olympic legend Steven Bradbury. His fate was determined by timing, racing experience and pure fitness saw Lionel bridge the gap from the chasing group to Scott. He then took off from a tiring Scoot to claim the win.
In Masters A, the Kosdown team broke from the bunch earlier than expected giving Tom Leaper the back-to-back victory. It wasn’t without a solid effort from Podiatrist and time-trial specialist, Nick Squillarli. Squillarli clearly wanting to upset the Kosdown party, but it wasn’t to be. If anything, he upset the Podiatry world by wearing thongs to accept his third place winnings behind Andrew Gray and Leaper.
In Men’s A it was the young man with the best name in cycling, Cyrus Monk, attacking early to set the scene for Pat’s Veg. Immediately after witnessing Monk’s repeated attacks, internet speeds slowed on the main straight as every spectator jumped on the Pat’s Veg website to order some fine cured vegetables. Obviously Matthew Ross and Drew Morey ate a full jar of Pat’s Beetroot Kraut before racing as they crossed the line 1-2. Monk finishing off the podium with a strong display – just one week before Melbourne-Warrnambool.
Shannon Malseed (Holden)
Grace Brown (Bikebug.com)
Justine Barrow (Think Different Cycling)
Ally Rose Ogden (Hawthorn)
Hannah Macdougall (Pirates)
Jordyn Hassett (Hawthorn)
Erin Mitchell (Blackburn)
Saffron Button (Blackburn)
Anne Hocking (Port Fairy)
Tom Leaper (Kosdown)
Andrew Gray (Kosdown)
Nick Squillari (Geelong)
Richard Barker (Hawthorn)
Simon Whitford (Wellington)
John Clarkson (Southern Masters)
Gary Haas (Southern Masters)
David Newett (Footscray)
Daniel Hulbert (Portland)
Mat Ross (Pat’s Veg)
Drew Morey (Pat’s Veg)
Cyrus Monk (Pat’s Veg)
Lionel Mawditt (CCCC)
Brendon Scott (Hamilton)
William Geor (Ballarat)
Callum Brown (Footscray)
Connor Rate (CCCC)
Joshua Cannon (Ballarat)