How can you build a cyclocross course at an airport was the discussion amongst Victorian CXers in May. Surely any cycling on an airstrip is a crit. But no, Sunbury Cycling Club and Essendon Fields had a vision to design and build a dedicated cyclocross course at the edge of Essendon Airport. And yes, in keeping with Victorian CX course design specifications the course is on the side of a hill.
“Build it and they will come”. And they did, over 150 of them including the kids across the various grades, for the Fields of Joy CX shake down race on Sunday, 27th July. After reports from the recent Ladies assimilation day of a terror of a course there were early crowds for the pre race practice session. Yes, the course was bumpy, technical, with some pretty hairy off camber turns and a roller coaster but it was rideable and raceable.
As it was the week before the National CX Championship in Adelaide there were a lot of racers using FOJCX as a last hit out before the big races.
Men’s A Grade
Normally Victorian CX races are not decided by mechanicals but that would change today. The large and knowledgeable crowd were expecting the main battle of the day would be between Adrian Jackson and Paul Redenbach and they were not wrong.
After the normal manic start, a 102 metre sprint with a left hand turn, the field strung out through the first couple of difficult corners. Team Flanders had all of their riders in the top 5 and for a moment they embarrassingly looked like Team Focus pace line.
At about half way AJ and Paul were pulling away from Tasman Nankervis and Mat Gray. It was turning into a tactical battle between AJ and Paul just like in Perth two weeks ago. Then disaster struck Paul. A flat about half way round caused him to cycle to the pit on a blown tubular. A very slick wheel change still had Paul in third behind Tasman but this allowed AJ to pull away to a well deserved victory. Mat Gray was fourth. Russell Collett was fifth and first over 40.
In the other major battle of the day Czechowski beat Oliver by a minute to reverse last week’s result. Cotterill feigned a thumb injury to DNF. Payne is still suffering from Perth.
AJ and Paul are certainly showing excellent form heading into Adelaide.
Women’s A Grade
Lisa Jacobs was the big favourite in the field of 10 and was sporting her 2013 National Champion’s onesie for the last skin suit Sunday. April McDonough was a noticeable absentee but the rest of the usual suspects were on the start line. In fact, the front row probably consisted of everybody. The holeshot was again won by Mel Ansett in a Millburn-esq show of sprinting.
Everybody survived the first roller coaster and the off camber turns. At the end of the first lap it was normal service with LJ leading Mel and Amity McSwan in third. This would be the top three for the rest of the race the only change being LJ pulling away. A major battle was developing between Tessa Fabry, Kim McCormack and Diane Nelson. Apparently some unparliamentary language was used in this battle. Good to see that CX Wednesday is paying off for some.
LJ was in a class of her own and it will take some effort to beat her in Adelaide.
Men’s B Grade
The largest grade with 43 starters had some obvious sandbaggers. Funny enough the first three were Lawson Harthson, Ben Healy, and Leigh De Luca. De Luca, still in retirement, looked like he was on a brand new bike and was certainly getting big air on the roller coaster.
Men’s C Grade
Joel Proud won from Emmenegger Kim with Sean Burns in third.
Notunsuprisingly Duncan Murray won this race on a single speed mongrel. James Pierce was second, Andrew Stamp third.
Women’s B Grade
Only 4 starters with Ashleigh Hocking winning from Carina Newman.
Karinna Vitiritti won from Beth Meads.
As usual the kids races were the best of the day. Somebody won and others came second, third, fourth etc. Spiderman was a no show in the balance bikes.
Over $1,500 was raised for Michael Blyth. Michael looked pretty chuffed to be presenting the prizes. If you’d like to know more about Michael’s accident and his recovery or would like to donate here is the link