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Bendigo Madison HPV Pursuit 2009

Keen to Steele in action in the criterion around central Bendigo on Friday night we headed off to see how the man of iron faired against other elite cyclists.

With the pace on from the start, and attacks aplenty Steele was content to sit at the back of the main bunch conserving energy where possible and catching them up again when the field came to the bottle neck corner. Also riding were Maryborough's Lachie Stewart who'd been doing more triathlons over summer than straight out riding, and Castlemaine's Sean Finning who'd been trying to regain some form after back injuries over the last year had curtailed his performances. With 2 laps to go, together with his Torq team mate, Steele started to move his way up through the field, but it was all too little too late. We think he finished somewhere around 15th, still a damn good effort against such quality riders. We left hoping it hadn't taken too much out of him for the HPV event the next day...

Not having competed at the previous holding of this HPV Pursuit event at the Bendigo Madison carnival we weren't 100% sure what to expect or how we'd go, other than knowing that with Steele riding OohLaLa, and Brock in XIA in the community section and Kyle in OohLaLa and Jeremy in XIA in the secondary boys we had a better than average chance of bringing something home.

Both truces were running pretty much as the finished the race at Casey the week before. So even though Steele was adamant before hand that he wanted to run his 85 tooth chain ring (paired to a 451 rear wheel with a 10 tooth rear ring mind you) we talked him out of it for the heats to see how he went with the 72 already on there. As it turned out that was plenty of gearing for the 'D' shaped Tom Flood velodrome which saw him lifting the inside wheels in both the heats and the final on the banked turns. The crit on Friday night and his "refresher" ride Saturday morning with the local Bendigo riders also helped to take a bit of the sting out of his legs.

Getting the two trikes to the track, however, was proving somewhat more troublesome than you'd think it should. With Kel & Aaron at work, Henry having worked until after 3AM, and Ty "unavilable" until after 10:00am, and our purpose built trailer only capable of carrying one trike at a time that only left Tim available to transport things to the track before ~11:00, 20 minutes before heats were due to start. A quick trip to Carrisbrook on the way to drop off some padding for Ty & Henry who'd agreed to transport XIA over in the back of the ute after their morning committments were met, and to pickup Jeremy saw us at the track by 9:45 where after unsticking the 2-in-1 brake handle locking pin we passed the tight scrutineering process - our horn worked, and yes, we could stop.

After discussions during the preceeding week with John Taylor we knew numbers would be a little down, but the enthusiasm of those who did make the effort certainly made up for it. After the basic format of the day, and how and when things would take place was explained the teams went about getting vehicles and riders ready. With 8 heats of 4 vehicles scheduled to run every 8 minutes things got under way and before long we were that far ahead of schedule a mini break was called to allow the schedule to catch up with us

All the ExPats riders made it through to the finals with Steele and Brock the fastest two qualifers in the community section, and Kyle and Jeremy 2nd and 4th in the secondary boys, both being surprised by the sprinting pace of year 9 student from Weeroona, BJ Harris.

The break in between the heats and finals was filled with a "have a go in someone else's trike" time which saw several other riders trying out the ExPats vehicles with everyone beign appreciative of the opportunity to get the chance to experience how other teams do their thing. The ExPats boys also took the opportunity to try out Ziptar although it was a bit of a tight fit, being a primary school trike, for guys like Ty, Henry seemed to look like he fitted quite well from the outside.

Just as the finals were about to start Kel arrived fresh from an early knock off at work only find out he'd missed the chance to ride some other trikes - the reason he'd left work early in the first place!

Finals underway and going pretty much to script with the faster qualifiers leading the way, Kyle and Jeremy were off to fast starts, although it was obvious BJ had the edge on them, what wasn't as clear at the time was whether Jeremy had done enough to climb up a spot or two. In the end he missed out on 3rd by a whisker - still a damn good effort having only managed 3 short stints at EB08 in Flying Scotsman and having his second appearance the week before in XIA at Casey. He shows a lot of promise, but as with most ExPats riders (at one time or another) around these parts, footy is still his priority at the moment. Kyle pretty much repeated his heat time, the shorter sprint distance not really to his liking, he still came a creditable 2nd, although was still a little peeved afterwards to still not have a 1st place on his HPV CV, something I'm sure will be rememdied before the end of 2009!

With a giganitic push start from Ty, Steele was off an flying in the community final. Sadly all the ExPats guys had apparently left poor Brock to get a push start from whoever was on hand at his station, which basically left him starting from a stand-still. That lead to his total surprise to be hearing the horn on OohLaLa just as they were going through his first corner a mere half a lap into the race. "You've gotta be kidding me," he was quoted to have said in surprise at the speed he'd been caught. Steele continued to power through the next lap, lifting wheels on the corners, with Brock digging deep to try and stay in contact. The load of the previous 24 hours had taken it's toll though and Steele had to back off into cruise mode and just maintain the status quo for the remaining 4 laps. BYR's Michael Micallef riding Weeroona's reloaded took out 3rd.

After presentations, and a break during the arvo when both athletics and track cycling took place we were back on the track again for the demonstration event - taking HPV racing to the masses as it were. 8 Vehicles took to the track, 5 Weeroona variants, and 3 ExPats oneswith Gareth fielding Boris. Ty & Kel had decided to suit up for the demo event, with Ty keen to show his younger brother who had the legs on the day. Probably not too hard given Kel wasn't feel that flash having been up at 5AM for work after ~2 hours sleep. Still, once in, nd the adrenaline started flowing it was on. Ty accelerated away almost as fast as Steele had in the finals and had literally caught the 100m head start on Kel within the first lap. Over the course of the next 19 laps they jostled for fron position, with Ty just able to find enough in the tank to keep Kel at bay. Whilst their little sibling rilvary was playing out BJ Harris was making another good showing and was the only trke on the track not be lapped by the ExPats boys.

With only a couple of laps remaining, and with 5 trikes coming of the bend at pace, Bullet Proof's rider decided to put it's name to the test as they expectedly swung onto the infield when becomign startled as OohLaLa swung down off the bend in front of them. Having had a taste of the grass, and deciding the concrete track was better, they then headed straight back on to the track, but at an angle a little too sharp to be navigated at the speed they were going. Right about this time Kel, in XIA, was coming past where they were re-entering. From what we can tell from the photos of the incident, the Bullet Proof rider appears to have paniced a little bit again and over-corrected just at the point when the trike was already a little unsettled from the bump over the blue inside gutter resulting in a very quick flip upside down!

With many ooh's and aah's from the crwod, Steele was on hand to quickly get the trike back upright and give it a good shove off again to much applause. From a quick inspection aftwards it looked like only superficial paint & outer skin damage with Bullet Proof living up to it's name after all.

Two laps later and Ty cruised to the chequered flag with bragging rights until next time...

All up it was a fun day, we'd like to have seen more community teams make the effort to come up and support the event, the idea behind it is more about promoting our unique sport than it is about personal glory, so the more the merrier. A big thank you to John Taylor, Craig McKenzie, and Grant Pollard for taking the time out to organise this event! Hopefully we get the chance to compete again next year but with more teams involved.


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