31st Jack Griffin Handicap Race 30th November 2014. Paraparap
Out and back Blackgate and Forest Roads plus one lap, finish in Larcombes Rd. 60km.
Paul Bird Fly’s at the finish to take a celebrated win.
A field of 39 energized riders set out for a good day with very pleasant weather, heating up though the race.
The scratch group had a bit of a wait today with the most experienced rider Brian Long starting solo, with the handicapper giving him encouraging starting time of 36 minutes. Brian was back past the club rooms before third scratch had even started holding a very worthy pace the wind was staying away to help Brian as much as possible.
The middle marker groups worked together with the 14 minute group of Jim Knott, Paul Bird, Joe Gulino, Darren Williams and Barry Clay making up the best ground catching before the Forest Road Turn the what was left of the 16.30 group of Atilla Harangozo, Brian Weppner, Phillip Preston. Johnny Parrello flatted early and Dennis Sonogan was have a tough day out. This group started working well and was the group to catch. The 7 minute group of Carl Leahy, Marcus Coppock, Carl Judd, Shane Korth, David Spence and new returning rider Harvey Lang were also making up good ground along Forest rd on the smaller 11 minute group of Vic Mason, Peter Ladd and Mandy Hosking.
Meanwhile the very keen scratch group lead by Xavier Coppock and Nick Kennedy (colac) with Rick Buckwell, Richard Lyle, Brad Haskett and Andrew Baker started very fast and this group split early in the race making the catch to the leaders maybe a bit to tough of a task today. Xavier and Nick were charging up the road at a crazy fast pace being very determined to win the illustrious prize. They caught the second scratch and third scratch groups along forest road leaving most thinking what the heck just happened!
While Brian was making very good progress at the front of the race with his two young supporting group in the lead car. “keep riding fast Brian keep riding” The combined 14 minute and 16.30 groups had caught the remaining groups with Tony Spark, David Phillips staying with them. With Brian still out the front along Gray’s Road for the final time Brian’s chances were fading very quickly. The chasing riders picked up the pace when the first caught an eye on Brian and also worried about the fast finishing scratch group with Andrew Goodwin and Dave Warren, Jeff Millar and others hanging on as best as they could. The scratch group were getting a sniff of the win then an unfortunate accident happened on the club room corner with a touch of wheels with Nick Kennedy crashing heavily and losing a lot of skin. This slowed their momentum considerably.
Brian was finally caught with 3km to go by the first chasing group powered along by Phil Preston and Joe Gulino along the last stretch up Hendy Main Rd. The sprint to the finish was a tightly fought affair with Phil providing Paul Bird with a great lead-out to take the win and the prized Jack Griffin Trophy. Xavier finished 50 seconds behind to take the Fastest time.
1st Paul Bird 1:34.4 (37.6km/h) 2nd Phil Preston, 3rd Barry Clay, 4th Darren Williams, 5th Brian Weppner, 6th Jim Knott, 7th Joe Gulino, 8th Dave Phillips, 9th Tony Spark. 10th Andrew Goodwin. Fastest time Xavier Coppock 1:26:04 (41.83kph)
A big thankyou to Jeff Millar and Marcus Coppock for stopping and assisting Nick Kennedy after his fall and Joe Gulino, Xavier Coppock and Len Bent for helping Nick after the race. Also thanks to Jack Griffin for holding your race again and with your good jokes and stories during the presentations. Paul was a very proud winner and Xavier was very happy to win fastest time to match his fathers achievements in previous results of this prestigious race.
Thursday night crits as usual, round two of the Income Solution Crit series on Saturday morning at Belmont, Scratch races on Sunday at Paraparap.