Round 23 of the Footscray Cycling Club’s summer criterium racing saw riders contest the Eric Turner Memorial Crit Championships at Drake Boulevard in Altona on a hot summer’s morning with a moderate Northerly blowing.
In A-Grade, Dom Dudkiewicz made it his mission to make the race hard to make up for a frustrating Bay Crits result, breaking the bunch up early with a series of attacks that saw the bunch splinter into three grupettos, forming a 3-man breakaway and then raising the pace of the breakaway to solo off the front and eventually lap the field twice. ‘I saw Miles attack so I let him go a fair distance, then bridged across to him; and then put the power down so I could establish a break. I was impressed to see Matt Elkan come across with us, and he contributed what he could, but after a while I think he thought he’d be better off in the bunch and he dropped back. Miles and I then worked hard for about 30 minutes until we came up behind the rest of the bunch; I attacked Miles then and I put my head down and rode hard until the next thing I knew I saw them again, so I thought I had better lap them again as I’d never double lapped the bunch.’ Dudkiewicz took the chequered flag solo, doing what could only be described as ‘the walking man’ as he crossed the line, one lap up on second placed DaCosta and two up on third placed Elkan who took the bunch sprint.
In B-Grade, it was a dominant breakaway by eventual winner Shane Ward and Sam Edmund that saw the main bunch chase hard but lose rider after rider, with only 5 chasing riders sticking it out to the end. ‘I had made the decision before the race that if I saw Sam go I’d try and go with him, and we established a great break – no one decided to go with us – and we were never caught after that.’ In the last few laps, Edmund was trying to force 33 year old Altona resident Ward to the front, but Ward remained glued to Edmund’s wheel. ‘He tried to get me to go to the front, and then he had a big crack to try and drop me; I just managed to hold his wheel and then we had a touch of wheels and we had a moment, but once I got over that I sprinted and was pretty happy to get the win.’ Ward took the win from Edmond, who were well clear, with Simon Whelan taking the bunch sprint for third.
In C-Grade, a determined, singular and relentless driving effort on the front by new rider Daniel Welch kept the pace high, and set up the perfect lead-out train for those wily sprinters to utilize at the end. One of those wily sprinters, 33 year old Werribee resident Matt Strachan, found himself in a very interesting race. ‘This was a tough race; I struggled and found it hard to hang with the bunch. But towards the end the pace was high and the guys were strung out for the perfect leadout. One guy was giving us a leadout train; It was perfect. In the last 5 laps he just dragged the whole bunch around, and I was fourth wheel so I dived in between a couple of guys and sprinted, and I just held off Alex.’ Strachan took the win from Alex Vichidvongsa in second and James Bell in third place.
In D-Grade, veteran rider Tommy Gray used his considerable nous to snare the D-Grade medallion by timing his run to the line to perfection. ‘For the first time I didn’t do my normal solo time trial tactic; I saw a break, jumped across and followed a guy who jumped early and went up the inside and got on him and then this 72 year old won the race!’ Gray took the sprint from Anthony Gercovich and new rider Alastair Delooze in second and third.
A: 1st Dominik Dudkiewicz, 2nd Miles DaCosta, 3rd Matt Elkan, 4th Travis Small, 5th David Newett.
B: 1st Shane Ward, 2nd Sam Edmund, 3rd Simon Whelan, 4th Matt Johnson, 5th Phil Tehan.
C: 1st Matt Strachan, 2nd Alex Vichidvongsa, 3rdJames Bell, 4th David Macpherson, 5th Thomas Rebesco.
D: 1st Tom Gray, 2nd Anthony Gercovich, 3rd Alastair Delooze, 4th Michael Hazeldene, 5th Michael King.