Dirty Deeds CX – Prologue
Posted by auscxmag
Posted in News
words: Paddy Oliver photography: Fame & Spear
The weather gods were right on cue in Melbourne last Friday. They knew that the Melbourne Cross season, brought to us by Dirty Deeds CX, was about to start. The heavens opened around midday and closed about two hours later giving the 800m course in the hallowed Brunswick velodrome time to dry out before the first race of the DDCX Prologue…an aside being the rain forced a considerable number of CXers to forgo the Hawthon CC Good Friday Appeal crit at the much feared Teardrop. Priorities were right.
A new format greeted the 160 competitors across three Mens’ grades (A, B, C /Open), Women’s Combined, and Kids. A 20 minute race was the format and how the competitors relished the challenge of between 8 to 10 laps of the tight and twisty course, with a barrier, a double barrier, and a sand pit thrown in as well. The bunny hop barrier was demolished during the B / C grade races so didn’t make it to the A race. Also demolished were a few shoulders and considerable pride.
What do you get when you have the current CX National Champion, Allan Iacone, the current World XCE Champion, Paul Van Der Ploeg, the current Vic CX Champion, Paul Redendach and the rising star of CX, Liam Jeffries. Firstly you have an age range between 17 and 40ish and secondly you get a fantastic CX race. All up 32 lined up for the start. Noticable absentees were Lewis Ratray and Adrian Jackson. After the mandatory warning about the first corner from Dave Morgan the field was off. In the hectic first corner Vandy won the holeshot and the cash prize. Carnage ensued at the first barrier and then the race settled down.
The big favourites together with a few others including John Grover, Nick Morgan, and Sam Watson extended their lead in the first couple of laps. During laps 2 to 8 Vandy, Allan, Liam extended their lead with Paul and few others chasing hard. As we all know cross is a game of inches as Allan found out when he and Vandy had a coming together on a corner with Allan hitting the deck. Vandy survived, 95kgs vers 45kgs and Liam caught up. Vandy and Liam powered ahead leaving Allan and Paul chasing. After 10 laps the win went to Vandy easing up after an almighty sprint and guttural roar around the velodrome. Liam was a commendable second with Allan beating Paul into third. Grover rounded out the podium in fifth.
In the other main battle during the race Huw Vellacot hung on to pip Paddy Oliver for 15th. John Czechowski following closely in 17th.
Amity McSwan was the hot favourite to take out the womens’ open race which had 27 starters on a mix of CX and MTB bikes. The front row of the start had most of the big favourites: Amity McSwan, Diane Nelson, Shelly Green, Phillipa Birch. A couple of “dark horses” lurked further back with the most notable being VIS road rider Tessa Fabry and triathlete Ella Brogan. Noticable absentees were CX national champion Lisa Jacobs, Vic. National Champion April McDonagh, CX Worlds attendee and XCM national champion Mel Ansett, and CX National Master Champion Jenny MacPherson.
The ladies are beginning to take no quarter at the start and this was the case in their 10 lap race. After the end of the first lap Amity had an insurmountable lead followed by Phillipa Birch in her first CX race. Diane Nelson was third followed by Ella Brogan, Shelly Green and Bianca Picket. Where was Tessa Farby, down the field, but this would change. Over the next couple of laps Amity extended her lead, Phillipa consolidated her second with Diane being slowly reeled in by Ella. Tessa was beginning to make her move through the field like the NRS rider that she is. Around half way Ella had gapped Diane for third, Tessa was in fourth ahead of Bianca and Shelly. The large and knowledgeable crowd were now of the opinion that it was only a matter of time before Tessa got into third. This happened with two laps to go.
In the end Amity cruised to a 38 second win over Phillipa. Tessa was excellent third with Ella in fourth and Diane rounding out the podium in fifth.
37 riders started B grade which was won by Craig Peters, from Jarrod James and Brett Rollinson. The podium rounded out by Patrick Timms in fourth and Ben McKenchnie in fifth. Manouerve of the day was by Pete Findon who bullied his way into the front row of the grid and won the holeshot.
C / Open had 39 starters on a mix of CX, MTBs, and mongrels. There were a few noticeable first timers with serious road / track backgrounds. As is with Cross, these noticeables went out too hard and paid for it during the latter laps of the 8 lap race. Jack Booth won from Stuart Brown and Evan Armstong. Geof Hanining was fourth and Chris Maccan fifth.
One the closest and hotly contested races was the kids race. It had 24 starters between normal and balance bike categories. Boys and girls raced each other over 2 laps. Some serious talent on show with Joel Baron wining the main category from Luka Kuc and Eddie Jirovec. Spiderman won the balance bike as only a Spiderman can.
All in all another fantastic night was had by spectators and competitors. Big thanks to the Dirty Deeds crew and all the volunteers. Your reporter caught up with CX living leg-end Leigh De Luca who was not racing but supporting. Leigh has retired from competitive CX but will be attending as many races as possible in his quest to be named No. 1 heckler. If a heckler can wear gold bar tape then Leigh is your only man
For more awesome images of all the fun and action, head on over to Fame & Spear Photography