Dave McAllister bounced back from the disappointment of blowing his winning chance in the Andrew Darnell race at Horsham a fortnight ago, making no mistake in the Tyler’s Hardware Handicap, run over seven and a half kilometres at Rupanyup last Saturday.
Conceding up to 16 minutes start to the front-markers, the relentless Dave rounded up all runners in the wind and rain-swept last 1000 metres of the race, to scoot away from the gallant Kim Baker and score by a mere eight seconds.
Last year’s Tyler’s winner, Keith Lofthouse, struggled into third place a further eight seconds away after, incredibly, making exactly the same mistake that Dave had made a fortnight before. Within sight of the finish line, both guys (seasoned runners who should have known better) had sprinted hard and fast in what they hoped were winning moves, but came unstuck when they failed to realise there was an extra loop, which in this case carried them 500 metres beyond the chequered flag, then back again.
Keith was shattered as he races best on flat and fast courses, like Rupanyup, and was desperately keen for back to back wins in the Tyler’s race. “It was my own stupid fault,” he lamented after the race. “I heard the instructions before the race but the heat of battle seemed to snuff out my memory. I really think I could have beaten both Dave and Kim if I hadn’t smashed myself in that sprint, but full marks to them both. Dave ran the fastest time of the day and is a real ironman, so no shame in losing to him, and Kim stuck to her guns really well after mine misfired.”
The unstoppable Dave had prepared for Rupanyup by running four laps of Lake Wendouree (24 kilometres) while his car was being serviced in Ballarat on the previous day… and having run the gruelling Great Ocean Road Marathon over 45 kilometres just 13 days before.
The Tyler’s race was also a triumph for our hard-working handicapper, Charlie Jones who, having to assess all runners over such a unique distance, managed to compress the first 14 runners to finish so that only a tick over two minutes separated them.
Likewise, the junior division of the race, held over 3500 metres, ended in a tight squeeze with Liam Scott edging out Raine Mackley in a “photo” finish, while Layla Atherton was first home in the sub-junior event.
By Keith Lofthouse