Footscray Cycling Club’s combined racing with Geelong CC was held out at the very hilly and difficult SheOaks circuit in the Brisbane Ranges on a mild winter’s day with a moderate north-westerly wind; with riders in the A-Grade race being greeted by a strong turn-up of NRS riders. Eventual winner, 22 year old Marcus Culey, riding for the Adelaide-based Swiss Wellness NRS team, seized an early opportunity to break away with Footscray rider Miles DaCosta. “We got away at about the 3rd climb on Lap 1, and we were working very well together for two laps, but then I could see that he was getting tired and at that stage Miles said to me that he was done and that I should keep going, so I just tried to ride a constant tempo. The gap went out quite a bit and was reduced to about 20 seconds a few times, but I just kept going and it paid off.” This is Culey’s second year in the NRS and the Sydneysider has been in Melbourne preparing for the Tour of Gippsland next week. Culey took the win by a considerable margin; but in behind Culey were 4 riders, Dom Dudkiewicz Jeremy McInnes, Lachlan Holliday and Nick Squillari all vying for the bunch sprint for second. In the end, each rider watching the others, the foursome waited until they were very very close to the finish line before Dudkiewicz used his trademark lightning jump to take the sprint from Culey’s two team mates, McInnes and Holliday, with Geelong’s Nick Squillari in fourth.
B-Grade saw 49 year old Geelong racer Paul LaCava take the win from up and coming Footscray racer Daniel Welch and the ever-improving Hamish Munro. Riders stayed largely intact for 3 of the 4 laps, with the last lap seeing B-Grade break apart; the first 5 finishing in a loosely spread formation with several bike lengths between each finisher. LaCava, who has been with Geelong for 5 years, enjoyed the hilly circuit. “It’s a good circuit; it suited me perfectly. The race had a few good strong riders in there as well, and 4 of us broke away at the final climb on the last lap. Daniel Welch started to break things up as we approached the finish; he stayed on the front and I just got on his back wheel and he dragged me up to the finish line. LaCava took the win from Welch and Munro all line astern.
In C-Grade, 4 riders put a pile of pressure on the bunch from the get-go, resulting in many riders being dropped early in the race and the 4 leaders just powered on to the end, with Campbell Mattinson taking a very strong win from Danny Payne, Evan Miller and Simon Kelson.
A: 1st Marcus Culey, 2nd Dominik Dudkiewicz, 3rd Jeremy McInnes, 4th Lachlan Holliday, 5th Nick Squillari.
B: 1st Paul LaCava, 2nd Daniel Welch, 3rd Hamish Munro, 4th Josh Zammit, 5th Geoff Robertson.
C: 1st Campbell Mattinson, 2nd Danny Payne, 3rd Evan Miller, 5th Simon Kelson.
D: 1st Robert Raats