Sports round-up: Murray Bridge cyclists mix it with the best at national championships
Three locals have competed in one of Australia's toughest road cycling races.
This post was contributed by Lyall Willis and Daniel Irvine.
Every year the best riders from around Australia compete on a course at Buninyong, Victoria, near Ballarat, for the coveted green and gold national champion’s jersey.
This event attracts the cream of the crop, as Australian international riders and Olympic team members return from overseas to compete in this prestigious event.
This year Murray Bridge was well represented with three riders competing.
In the under-23 race was Jason Woodard and, in the under-19 race, Ben Johncock and Jaidyn Willis.
All three young men did an outstanding effort to mix it with the best.
The race is known as one of the toughest in Australia, with under 19s covering nine laps of the 11.6-kilometre course, which includes a climb of almost 4km up Mount Buninyong before descending through the challenging roads of the Ballarat Federation University and back to town of Buninyong, to cover 105km in two hours and 46 minutes.
To complete the full distance is considered a win for any rider, as over half the riders do not complete the course.
Under-23s ride 12 laps and a total of 139km in just over three and a half hours.
These boys have been riding for a few years and have trained hard to get to this level of racing to mix it with the best of Australian riders.
Woodard finished his race in 3:44:33, 10 and a half minutes behind the race leader and inside the top 50.
In the junior race, Willis finished in a time of 2:57:28, just over 11 minutes behind the race leader, while Johncock was not able to cross the line.
Quiet day on the rifle range
A mostly overcast day with only occasional patches of sunshine greeted the 13 shooters who turned up at the Deed Rifle Range in Monarto to contest the 20th round of the club championship from a distance of 700 metres, with several members having travelled to the Eyre Peninsula to shoot the Tumby Bay Open Prize Meeting.
The traditionally easier distance, however, was made more challenging than normal by a moderate breeze from the right that increased over the course of the day and every now and then changed direction and strength.
This left shooters guessing and caused some to be, in the words of “Fabulous” Frank Marshall, “utterly frustrated with the day”.
The fact that more than a few were caught out by the interesting conditions was evident by the strong competition for the highly un-sought-after “magpie” award, with only five of the 13 competitors not registering at least one “bird” for the day.
The honours for the day in that category, however, went to Jasamine Irvine in target rifle and Peter Byass in F-class, with an honourable mention to Rob Paech, who thought he’d claimed the prize until Irvine counted him out.
The standouts where it really counted, however, were Greg Traeger, Paech and Ian “Nobby” Elston, who all scored possibles, with Traeger and Elston following theirs up with a superb “one-off” giving them both the top off-rifle scores for their disciplines.
Other notable scores included one-off 49s from Irvine and John Elson, whose 49.03 had some members calling for a sample to be taken due to his recent run of improved form.
Daniel Irvine and Mark Nesti both shot two-offs in markedly improved second rounds for both of them.
Elston also stood out with a perfect 24 in the snipers.
Overall handicap honours for the day went to Elson in target rifle, with a superb 119.4, and Elston in F-class, with an impressive 130.6.
Next week shooters will really be challenged as they shoot from the maximum distance of 1000 yards.
Conditions challenged rifle shooters on February 6
After a damp start, 14 Murray Bridge Rifle Club members and a one visitor lined up to test their skills from 600 metres on Saturday, February 6 at the Deed Range at Monarto.
The weather continued to test the patience of members during the afternoon, with odd showers and a mild wind from the right that strengthened as the afternoon progressed.
The conditions caught out a number of shooters but some were certainly up for the challenge, with one F-open member even scoring a possible in his second round for a very impressive total of 119.11.
His wife, visiting the club, was not to be left out, scoring a notable 117.08.
Dave Hindmarsh also shot very well in F-standard, achieving a 115.09, which topped the class and gave him the handicap win for the day as well.
In target rifle possibles were shot by Jasamine Irvine and Rob Paech, both in their second round, but Paech’s first-round 49 edged him past Irvine by a point to claim top off rifle for the day.
The TR handicap prize was won this week by John Elson, who is beginning to return to more regular shooting after serious illness, and who shot a much improved 46.05 in the first round and a 40.01 in the second for 83.06 and a handicap score of 115.9, also edging ahead of Irvine by a point and a half.
No one claimed the dreaded “magpie” award this week, leaving captain Greg Traeger to spin the lucky wheel in the clubhouse himself, which turned out to be a stroke of luck for David McDonald when the wheel landed on his score and he found himself $50 better off.
On February 13 shooters will contest over 700 metres.
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