Fields of Joy CX Round 1


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words: Paddy Oliver     photography: Diane Nelson


The last day of winter was sunny in Melbourne so we all headed to the beach. One slight problem being that said beach was three quarters of the way around the Sunbury CC / Fields of Joy CX course. Oh, and at the bottom of the hill beside an airport.

Sunday, 31st August was the second FoJCX cyclocross race and the first race of their new spring CX series. A new course. Some new sponsors. New racers. Lots of the normal crowd. And a beach. Around 110 across the grades had entered not including the kids.

In the week preceding the race FoJCX had put in two 15 metre sand pits separated by a small mound of mulch. This sand trap would prove a challenge no matter the bicyclist’s ability. The run or ride decision was crucial.



Men’ A Grade

By the time A Grade was meant to start it was already 3.45pm. Nobody seemed super enthusiastic which had those starting asking the chief commissaire for a 50 minute race instead of the advertised 60 minute race. He agreed but appeared to forget his decision.

The front row had about half of the field as getting to the tight left hand first corner was paramount in the racer’s mind. Or perhaps they wanted to avoid notoriously fast starters Paddy Oliver and Nic Cotterill. The hooter was sounded. Twenty five racers sprinted towards the first corner with Allan Iacuoune winning the hole shot.

Alby would never be headed in the race and won by over a minute. This included Alby being knocked off by big Al Payne on the beach, much to Al’s embarrassment. The race for second was between Liam Jefferies (sporting some shiny new national champions stripes) and John Groves. Mid race it was close between Liam and Grove. Eventually Grover pulled away to finish second with Liam a further minute back. Rohin Adams was fourth, Warrack Leach fifth.



There were many noticeable absentees including Paul Redenback and Sam Watson who were in China, and Adrian Jackson who is learning a new skill in fatherhood.

Women’s A Grade

Lisa Jacob’s was in China coming second in the Quaisen Trophy and April McDonough was also absent. Mel Ansett was the big favourite in the depleted field of five. Would Mel ride off smiling into the sunset or would any of the other ladies give her a run for her money. Luckily for the large and knowledgeable crowd it was the latter.



For the first couple of laps of the forty minute race Mel was kept honest by Penny Hosken. Penny has been making big improvements during the year which has been plain to see. Ultimately Mel’s superior fitness and bike handling skills won out with her taking a deserved fifty second victory. Karina Vitiritti was third.

Chapeau to all the ladies who rode the sand. Ultimately it may not have been the fastest option but it was the purist’s option. Good to see new skills being developed by the ladies.

Men’s B Grade.

As ever, Men’s B grade was the largest field of the day with thirty seven. Perhaps it was the best start time slot or perhaps it is just that B grade is always popular. B grade would also prove the closet racing of all the grades. Thirty five of the starters finished on the lead lap.

Kim Emmenegger was the standout rider in this field. He took the lead early, extending throughout the forty minute race to win by nearly a minute. A close battle for second between Charlie Cranswick and Blake Griffith ended in Charlie winning the sprint.

It was good to see some new comers in B grade stepping up from C and, or, coming in from road / crit racing or mountain biking. Some of these chaps were making a rather school boy error of carrying their bikes through the sand or over the barriers either in the triathlon way or, worse if that is possible, with with the top tube in a weird under hand hold but over the shoulder. In fact it is too difficult to explain. Suitcase carry lessons are needed!



In the other grades Felix Emmenegger won Men’s C, Nick Barrett Men’s Open, Carina Newan Women’s B and Claire Corbett Women’s Open.

Another great day out at Essendon Field’s. As it is an airport we also got to watch some planes take off. What we didn’t get to use or see was the roller coaster feature. This was not in play due to a complaint from a resident. Yes, you read that correctly. A complaint from a resident who lives beside an airport. Go figure.

FoJCX Spring Series Race 2 will be held on Sunday, 28th September. This is a crazy brave decision as it is the day after the AFL Grand Final.

A big thank you again to Sunbury CC, FoJCX and all the volunteers for putting on the day. Also, to the sponsors Essendon Fields Giant South Yarra, A’gto, Essendon Cyclery, Teadlie, and