FCC Andrew McKellar Memorial Handicap August 13, 2016
In chilly and blustery winter racing conditions, riders set off in 5 bunches to contest the Footscray Cycling Club’s inaugural Andrew McKellar Memorial Handicap; the handicap format requiring each bunch of riders to co-operate and push themselves to the limit to keep the chasing bunches at bay, with the gun riders of Scratch starting out with a 22 minute deficit to make up over Limit. With strengthening winds and a clear winter’s sky, the 5 determined bunches set off from Little River and headed out to the ‘Flinders Avenue’ circuit at the base of the You-Yangs Regional Park at a wild pace; the best bunch early on being the middle markers, who were powering along at a good pace. Whilst the middle markers were powering along, Limit and 2nd Limit were rolling well but being steadily reeled in, and at the same time 2nd Scratch were disintegrating, and Scratch, powered by a very determined Dom Dudkiewicz, were tearing along at breakneck pace. ‘The Handicapper told us what pace we needed to set, so I went all-in for the first two laps, digging as hard as I could to maintain that average speed, but with the tough conditions we were bringing the race to us more than the other bunches.’
On the third lap out of 5, Scratch, who had already easily cleared 2nd Scratch, headed up Flinders Ave with the 3 remaining bunches in sight, with Dudkiewicz knowing what that meant. ‘So when I saw there were 3 bunches within a couple of minutes of each other just ahead, I knew we had the race.’ Once Scratch had hit the front of the race, it was then a matter of shedding as many of the passengers as possible, so Dudkiewicz applied the thumbscrews. ‘On the climb up Flinders Avenue I hit it hard and it wasn’t long before we only had a few guys hanging on; it was great to see young Hamish Munro and his dad Chris still there. In the end I had to attack 3 times out of the last corner to get clear, but eventually it worked and I was clear for the last 6 or 7 minutes. The last 100 meters my legs were jelly and I kept looking to make sure I was going to make it!” Dudkiewicz powered to the win clear of the battle for second and third, with Miles DaCosta just beating Travis Small to the line, and in behind the standout rider of the day, Hamish Munro just pipping his father Chris for fourth.
Later at the Presentation, Dudkiewicz spoke of the emotional nature of this win. ‘It’s bitter-sweet to win this race; I’d be much happier if we didn’t have to have this Memorial. We are all the poorer for having lost Andrew, but it was great to see the Club and Andrew’s family and friends come together and remember a friend that we all miss so much and a gentleman who set such high standards on and off the bike. It was so nice to swap stories and celebrate his life.’
1st & Fastest Time Dominik Dudkiewicz @ 1:47:10, 2nd Miles DaCosta, 3rd Travis Small, 4th Hamish Munro, 5th Chris Munro, 6th Trevor Perry, 7th Mark Micallef, 8th Alastair Delooze, 9th Ian Duffin, 10th Tim Robertson.