Irwin's up to scratch

By RACHAEL BORICH

WINNING the weekend's Rockhampton Open Road Carnival was just a "training run'' for talented Rockhampton cyclist Grant Irwin.

Irwin was the overall winner in the two-day event which included an 80km scratch race near Cawarral on Saturday along with a 5km climb up Mt Archer and a 56km scratch race from Gracemere yesterday.

This year's champion won both scratch races and placed third in the Mt Archer climb behind Gladstone winner Michael England and Bundaberg's Keith Mitchell.

England made the climb in 19 minutes and 17 seconds ? well off Rockhampton's Glen Chadwick's record time of just over 17 minutes.

However, with this latest win out of the way Irwin is already refocusing on a hectic schedule in his first "serious'' season of road racing, having previously concentrated on track training.

Irwin is digging deep on the road to clock up the extra kilometres in his quest to join Australia's team pursuit team on the track.

His journey continues in Toowoomba this weekend for the Queensland Road Cycling Championships where a 160km course awaits ? the longest Irwin has ever contested ? and then two weeks later the 20-year-old heads to Queensland's Cunningham Classic.

Irwin will also line up in the Tattersalls Cup in Victoria, starting on August 31, followed by the nationals on the Sunshine Coast starting on September 3 and he also hopes to ride in the Tour of Queensland which rolls into Rockhampton during October.

This year's carnival attracted about 150 starters.

Rockhampton Cycling Club members are back at it this weekend for the opening two stages of a six-stage club tour which finishes on August 6.



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