2007 season review

Armidale Cycling Club has finished the 2007 racing season with a number of very impressive results.

One of the most successful riders was Col Maciver, who successfully competed at the Australian Masters Championships in Bacchus Marsh (Victoria), finishing 6th in the time trial, 2nd in the criterium, and 3rd in the road race.

With any cycle race, the final result only tells a small part of the story, and Col’s efforts were no exception: in the road race he was the most aggressive rider throughout, launching several attacks. Unfortunately none of the other competitors were willing to work with him to create a winning break, and the race finished in a bunch sprint. Meanwhile, the first and second place getters rode in the pack for most of the race doing little work, but as Col says, that’s bike racing for you.

Col then went on to win his age class at the NSW Hillclimb Championships at Mt Panorama in Bathurst, defending the title he had won the previous year, and won the B-grade criterium held during Gunnedah’s Week of Speed.

Geoff Straub also competed at a national level, competing in the Oceania and Australian Under 19 Championships in early May. Competition at this level is at a very high standard, and Geoff rode consistently to finish mid field.

On the local scene, the first big race of the season was the Armidale Autumn Festival Criterium, which is much enjoyed by the riders because the circuit in the middle of the CBD always draws a big crowd.

There were two junior races, with Kyle O’Hara winning B grade, while in A grade Pat Ainsworth finished second and Reece O’Hara third.

Of the four senior races, Armidale riders were most successful in C grade, where a strong contingent of locals controlled the race keeping up a fast pace throughout. The finish featured a stunning last lap by Andrew Kirk to take the win. Dave Jenner then produced one of his typical finishes to out sprint the rest of the field for second place.

The senior A grade race was a highlight of the day, featuring four riders from the FRF Couriers professional team led by former Armidale boy Peter McDonald. With the support of his team, McDonald won relatively easily.

While most of the usual A grade suspects went back to B grade, Geoff Straub and Dan Creagan stepped up to compete with the professionals. Both produced excellent rides considering the quality of the field, with Geoff finishing third, and Dan winning one of the intermediate sprints.

The road racing season started in late April, with the John Dewhurst Memorial handicap, a 60km race held at Dungowan. Armidale riders dominated the event with Chicka Russell first, Bruce Buxton second, while Mick Hoult recorded the fastest time. This was a particularly pleasing result for Chicka who a couple of months before had been involved in a crash with Ken McDonald, which led to the demise of both their bikes.

Next up was the Armidale Road Race, which featured both junior and senior editions. Kyle O’Hara repeated his criterium success, winning the junior B grade race from Sam Jenner in second place. In the 30 km junior A grade race Pat Ainsworth was second, with Reece O’Hara finishing in third place.

The senior race was run over 60km on the Bundarra Road from Mt Yarrowick. The handicappers did their job well producing a competitive finish, and once more it was a victory for Col Maciver. Dan Creagan also rode well, finishing with the third fastest time.

Three weeks later was the Nemingah – Nundle 100km handicap where the club pulled of a fantastic result, when a group of riders led by Bob Murison worked together to great effect, eventually taking out the top six places. Peter Creagan came in first, with Gary Sisson second, Lachie McPhie third, Megan Williams fouth, Bob Murison fifth, and John Williams sixth.

Unfortunately the finish was marred by a crash involving two Armidale riders, Bill Mara and Ross Burgess. Both came down heavily and ended up in hospital for several days, and were unable to ride for some time.

On the June long weekend 12 Armidale riders competed in the 100km Mauri Kautto Memorial Team Time Trial at Grafton. Captain Kirk and the Klingons (Bruce Buxton, Andrew Kirk, Bob Murison, Andrew Swan and Rob Tindale) were fourth in the Masters category with a time of 2h56m, while Peter and Dan Creagan teamed up with some friends from Brisbane to finish in a time of 3h00m.

However, it was the Rockvale Road Boys team of Joel Byrnes, Phil Hess, Mick Hoult, Col Maciver and Peter Wilkinson who had the most eventful ride. Just past the half way point, and heading for a very fast time, Col crashed and was out of the race. By the time the others got going again, all thought of a fast time was forgotten, but they still managed to finish in 3h00m.

Col’s injuries were serious, and included a number of broken bones, spelling the end of his racing season. He is just starting to make a comeback to riding after almost six months out of action.

Following on from the events of the Grafton weekend, Armidale riders competed in a number of state and northern region races, including Coonabarabran – Gunnedah, Gunnedah – Tamworth, Grafton to Coffs Harbour, the Tamworth 2 Day Tour, and Inverell to Moree. While not producing the same success as the first half of the season (the best result went to Geoff Straub with a third place in Division 2 of Gunnedah to Tamworth), those involved competed to the best of their abilities and finished every race.

The final major road race of the year was Grafton – Inverell, and while no Armidale riders participated in this event, Megan Williams rode in the women’s version from Grafton to Glen Innes. At 160km, this was the longest race contested by any Armidale rider in 2007. Megan finished in eleventh place of fourteen starters, a terrific result following on from her fourth place in Nemingah – Nundle.