Bendigo International Madison 2010
Bendigo Bank / Cartridge World - HPV Pursuit
2010 Bendigo Madison HPV pictures are a little light on this year as it was rather hard to time, video, take photos and keep an eye on the station our riders were at which wasn't the one your writer was at!
With the weather forecast not looking too bright for the weekend almost 50 competitors in 17 vehicles (many of which hatched from the moulds at Weeroona) turned up at the Tom Flood Velodrome on the morning of March 6th to run the heats of Bendigo Bank / Cartridge World HPV pursuit races being run in conjunction with the 2010 Bendigo International Madison. With 12 heats to run and 4 riders in each heat and a fixed time frame in which we had to be off the track by everything needed to run like clock work to allow some time at the end for riders to have a test ride in other teams vehicles and still be out of the way for the afternoon activities starting at 1 o'clock. With that in mind we got under way a little earlier than initially planned and thanks to the fine organisational work of John Taylor and Craig Mackenzie and the cooperation of the competitors we did indeed manage all that with a little time to spare...
Thankfully, we had a good clean run as far as the weather was concerned with no rain encountered although it was quite humid partially as a result of all the rain on Friday night when Bendigo was flooded in places, and there were some doubts as to whether the weekend cycling events would even get under way.
With heats taking anywhere between 3 and 6 minutes to run change over after heats to the next vehicle and rider required good coordination to keep to the timetable. The masters of this seemed to be station C where Crusoe, Maiden Gully, St. Therese's and Catholic College were situated, at least they seemed to be the ones with their flag up and ready to go first, most often.
Hot pace from the get go...
With the distance for the pursuit event being 6 laps of the 412m track (almost 2.5km), any time around 3 minutes from a standing start for senior riders is considered a pretty good effort. Heat 1 saw Tim Cinnani from Cruse in UNO break that mark in the secondary boys class by a mere half a second! Heat 2, on the other hand, saw the quickest time of the day posted by Jordan Lucas from ExPats Racing of 2:43.06 almost within sniffing distance of Steele von Hoff's track record set last year of 2:40, and just slightly quicker than the 2:44 of BYR's Cal Ridge from 2008.
Yes, Steele, I fudged the margin to your record a little in our text exchanges, but that's what you get for piking on your trip to NSW and going club racing, and girlfriend watching (even if she did win her race), instead .
Juniors show their speed...
Heat 2 also had what turned out to be the quickest time from a Junior rider in a 3:09.59 from Lockwood Primary School student Joshua Powell, riding Rusty Edge, a time that had him 10 seconds clear of his nearest rival when the heats finished! Now, that's a helluva time for a Junior student to be riding.
The nearest to his time came from Dylan Hanley riding the old faithful Ziptar from Maiden Gully Primary School in heat 6.
Yet another rider in heat 2 also stood out, Keely Haig, from Weeroona, riding Silver Bullet II, managed a 3:26.44 that at the end of the heats placed her 3rd amongst the boys at the top of the qualifying.
The girls mean business...
It wasn't until heat 4 in the secondary girls section before a time was posted to set the mark for the other girls. Rachel Mackenzie riding UNO from Crusoe College set the bar at a quite impressive 3:11.90. Heat 9 saw Shelley Tuohey from Weerona College, riding Bullet Head, nudge just inside that time with a 3:11.55. Talk about close finishes. That time was stand until the very last heat of day when Mari Chaffey-Jones (yes, the little sister of Ty & Kel) from Highview College, riding the ExPats vehicle (as the pedals hadn't been swapped back over in Evie in time), against 3 male community riders in her heat shaved another second off that time with a 3:10.63. This was shaping to the be final to watch on Sunday night, 3 riders within 1.5 seconds of each other would make for some interesting viewing!
Little did we know at that time what would unfold later in the weekend though.
Secondary boys strut their stuff...
With last year's secondary boys winner BJ Harris expected to set a hot time, the secondary boys event looked like it also could be an interesting affair with Highview's Matt Eales (who had surprised the commentator, and crowd, at the start of the 2009 Energy Breakthrough when he lead more fancied rivals over the line at the end of the first lap by a sizable margin) keen to impress, and Sam O'Dea showing good cycling form of late. Of these 3 Matt was first up riding Evie, despite not having had a chance to ride the track during the earlier practice session, he was quickly into a rythym, apart from the top corner, where he seemed to stop pedalling as he came into it, and not start again until he was on the back straight, losing valuable time on the unusally 'D' shaped track. What he was losing on the corner he was making up for in a straight line though and posted the time to beat in 2:49.87. Next up in heat 8 was BJ, whilst quickly up to speed he seemed to be a little off the pace we're accustomed to seeing from him. His time of 2:50.60 was some 6 seconds slower than his winning time in 2009. A partially overheard discussion Sunday evening seemed to indicate that the steering may have been out by a few mm, enough to perhaps have made the difference. Heat 9 saw the standout performance in this category from Sam O'Dea from Crusoe College, riding UNO, you could see he was quick while he was out there and posted the fastest time for qualifying heats for the catergory of 2:47.83. Again another final that would be keenly watched with 3 seconds across the top 3 and at least 2 of those with obvious gains to be made.
A community affair...
With Jordy having already set the benchmark time for the Community category, it was up for all and sundry to try and knock him off. The first person with a realistic chance was to be ExPats Kyle McDonald, however, he'd had to delay his trip up from Melbourne, so old Chundagutz jumped in at the last minute. Despite his pusher giving him an almightly shove when the gun went off, he pulled the breaks on hard and stopped a few metres down the track, whereupon his pusher ran to the side of the trike yelling "what's the problem?" Some valuable seconds later he responded with "I didnt' hear the gun, has it gone off yet?" By this time the vehicle at the station behind him had almost caught up to him and he had to play catchup having lost almost 10 seconds on the start - never a dull moment when the ExPats are racing! Despite that set back he somehow managed to still get around in the very respectable 2:55.28. That had him sitting in 2nd place at that time, but knowing he'd blown it and that quicker times would be posted.
The first to do just that was another ExPats rider in Mark "Henry" Henriksen. Having looked not at all interested in riding all morning, and still complaining about it as he climbed into the trike, he set off at a great rate. Known for his ability to get extremely quick times out of totally cold legs, his first few laps were on pace to catch Jordy before tiring in the last couple, but still posting the admirable time of 2:48.11 and putting himself into 2nd place and shunting his housemate down a slot.
In the last heat of the day was Troy Hutchins, riding UNO. Troy was fresh from his first ride with the ExPats last weekend at Casey where he started the race and whilst he struggled a little in the endurance nature of that ride, he was much more at home with this short, sharp, blast style of event given he's been training for track riding of late. Troy managed to just edge Henry out by a mere 0.9 of a second in 2:47.20 to take 2nd place in the heats.
Whilst this might sound like an ExPats benefit ride at this point, I would like to point out that there were another 5 riders who all posted times of 3:05 or better, and you can only race those who turn up. I know the weather probably turned a few away, but you'd think with the opportunity to raise awareness of our sport a few more fancied, and maybe even some record holding, riders might make the trip one year.
So there we were, heats all done, finals scheduled and ~4 hours to fill until the Juniors and Community riders could strut their stuff in the finals in the early evening. Mother Nature and the Madison organising commitee were to intervene in those plans though... As the radar showed wet weather continuing to move in the commitee made the decision not to run those finals, although they did still run a 40+ minute warm up session for the cyclists. So the positions earned from qualifying became the final placings for those 2 categories. Hopefully, Sunday's weather would be a little kinder.
As it turned out, we needed more than hope! We again made the trip up to Bendigo in pouring rain on Sunday evening to be ready to race shortly after 5PM. When we arrived though, it was still raining consistenly, the track was wet, and the surrounds sodden - not that it stopped the athletics running most of their evening program. Shortly there after the evening cycling events were cancelled and again the placings, and medals, were decided by the times run in the heats on Saturday morning. A small consolation for the secondary boys & girls riders was that MP Jacinta Allan was there to present their medals as we all stood under the small protective shelters near the entrance gates.
Thank you to the sponsors in Bendigo Bank and Cartridge World, and to the organisers in John Taylor and Craig MacKenzie for giving us the opportunity to try and promote our wonderful cycling sport of HPV racing.