With the fields selling out for this Sundays alternative to Paris Roubaix, it has given everyone a chance to see who they will be facing in the epic battles within each grade. With no entries being taken on the day for the mens races – the grades are now posted and remember that the A Grade Elite race starts at 7:20am.
The fields started filling from the time that they opened on Sunday morning at 9am. Jon Leighton of JML Racing was entering via his mobile, mid race at Blayney to Bathurst so keen was he to get a spot on the start line. Once the sold out signs started to go up, so did the offers and pleas to get in. Dan Bonello offered a signed picture of himself in his Attaquer kit to get himself and team mate Brad Mills on the startline but without the offer of a pair of socks, they were declined. The Wilson Racing riders are lacking some serious results at West Head of late even when they have turned up with the numbers, perhaps they should sign up Matt Goss for next season, just so their lack of wins can continue – Ed White will want a result.
The A Grade field has a number of contenders – Dan Brickell of Sutherland CC returns to defend his crown, after he won it last month – in an pre race interview he is feeling confident of defending the title, telling journalists “I am in good form” of course being in good form may not be enough. Other contenders include the Peloton Sports duo of Cam Peterson and Michael Jaeger, who have been in Adelaide recently on a training camp at the NRS race series, which saw Cam Peterson pick up a second on one stage and the sprinters jersey on another. Not to be outdone Jaegerbomb took out the Snowy Cyclo Sportif ahead of two Budget Forklift riders when he rode away from them on the climb up Charlottes Pass, could we see some early pace setting up Akuna Bay?
Could we finally see a victory from SuVelo or Subaru Albion on the course? This is a race both teams have been desperate to win and similar to Team Sky, they just haven’t found their momentum or had any luck in winning the Classic of West Head. If these teams don’t get a rider in the early break it may be an inevitable Sagan v Cancellera duel at the end.
Start Lists are as follows:
A Grade Elite – 7:20am
Dan Brickell – Last Months Winner
Michael Jaeger – Danger man
Lucas Laxale – Pretender
Cameron Peterson – Can ride a bike
A Club made its debut last month and this month we have seen a rapid increase in demand for the 3 lap option amongst the riders who just aren’t strong enough to mix it with the Elites but are too strong for the B Grade options. No doubt these riders just have to commit themselves to a few extra hours of training to make that final step up or upgrade to some HED wheels.
So what does the crystal ball reveal for this grade? Andrew Pickering took out the inaugural race and then signed himself up for C Grade this month – obviously has some bills to pay, with that effort. No doubt he is a rider to watch. Looking at some of the non MWCC riders we note that Matt Lucas is on the start line and while he hasn’t enjoyed any success at an MWCC race in recent times, he certainly knows how to find the finish line at other venues across Sydney. Will Alan Bransdon make his way to the top step after coming so close last month? I think he may find the sea of blue smurfs (well it would be if the riders wore their club kit) a little difficult to fight against. Jeremy Hopson will be looking for the climbs to put the other riders into trouble and will be happy that he has some pre race recognition, because he won’t want it to come down to a sprint. There is the potential for a Tour of Flanders breakaway particularly with MWCC own Spartacus – Cam Dinnie putting his name on the start line but will he show up this month? No doubt Chris Blomfield-Brown will be happy to get himself up the road and day dream about becoming an MWCC member.
A Grade Club – 7:25am
Richard Bjorkmann – Been doing big miles
Alan Bransdon – doesn’t come over the Harbour Bridge for no payday
Cam Dinnie – Spartacus
Nick Gatland – Will he turn up with a clean bike and matching kit? Unlikely
Peter O’Connor – Seasoned veteran – respect.
Andrew Pickering – Last months Winner
B Grade is just a feast of groupsets with Shimano, SRAM and Campag all getting a start this month. With so many grades, it should provide a number of new winners – club handicappers considered putting Chris Taylor and Shaun Falzarano in the same grade, to see these two battle to the death, the nemesis Shaun Falzarano has been creeping up the grades and his recent Blayney to Bathurst results showing that he is certainly riding a great wave of form at present. Chris Taylor is so desperate for the win we may have to call him Vinokourov, because if he gets away he will be wheeling and dealing with those break away riders.
B Shimano – 7:30am
Mitch Dixon – Wolfman returns to racing
Niall Durney – Proven performer
Dean Gale – Secret trainer
Jonathan Herb – Will be on the podium
Chris Taylor – Desperately wants to win – may buy victory
B SRAM – 7:35am
Shaun Falzarano – Strong Form
Nathan Galang – Will do a mountain of work on the front
David Adcock – Fast finisher
B Campag – 7:40am
Robin Vandekreeke –Recent podiums at Heffron
John Peppard – Will Tuesday night form translate at West Head?
Will McLaren – Favourite for this field, must have a slow internet to get in this grade
C Grade exploded last month, with attacks coming thick and fast from the outset, which saw the breaks go, be reeled in and then more attackers launch themselves. No real proven performers so it could be anyones podium. My tip is that the the pace will be on from the start and it could see some early escapees and then the main bunches wil have to decide – do they work together to bring them back or simply watch each other implode one by one out the back.
C Shimano – 7:45am
Jim Buda – His race, so may declare himself victor at the startline.
Kenneth Hedges – Possible winner
C SRAM – 7:50am
Chris Hedley – Buy his 99c book for charity – https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/waiting-for-ricky/id850237368?mt=11.
Bruce Potts – Outside Chance
Stephen Short – Will be up there
John Ward – Favourite
Riders can sign on from 7:00 am down at the Akuna Bay Marina.
Please note that there are toilets in the Marina – do not use a tree or a bush as a toilet.
“Local” Rules for the West Head Road Races
Road & Racing Rules:
• All NSW road rules apply at all times during this race.
• DO NOT cross double lines at any point during the race.
• All Cycling NSW and Cycling Australia road race rules apply at all times during this race.
General Course Instructions/Etiquette:
• Always be aware of other users on a public road.
• General Road Etiquette:
o Ride 2-abreast unless overtaking.
o Leave enough room for vehicles to pass safely.
o Do not crowd other cyclists as you pass them – give them space. Remember, some of them are only new to cycling and we would like them to enjoy their ride.
o Don’t shout, yell or swear at non racing riders as you pass them.
• Remember! Bad behaviour could jeopardise the future running of this event. Also you are riding in your club’s kit and any bad behaviour or rule breaches reflect on your club, and on the Manly Warringah Cycling Club who are hosting the event.
• Blatant disregard of Commissaire instructions and/or breaking of road rules will result in disciplinary action – relegation and/or disqualification.
• Please exit the park with safety and other road users in mind. How we conduct ourselves when racing is finished has a bearing on our ability to get race permits in future.
• Please ride single file up McCarrs Creek road (at a minimum when a car is coming) this has an impact of residents perception of cyclists and has an impact on getting racing licences in future.
• If you have a team car please don’t follow directly behind your group up McCarrs Creek Road or to Akuna Bay – this makes it difficult for cars to pass and is a major issue for residents.
Akuna Bay Start:
• Please keep the registration area clear to allow a quick sign in process to happen. Don’t bring your bike into the registration tent.
• A Pre-race briefing will be given to each grade by the Chief Commissare of the day. If you are unsure of something, ASK!
• Riders are responsible for knowing the course – please ask if you are unsure.
• Grades will depart at 3 to 5 minute intervals.
• West Head Turn-Around Point at Resolute Picnic Ground Car Park:
o The turn-around point is marked by a large orange safety cone and a MWCC Marshall standing behind it.
o A number of small orange safety cones will be spaced approximately 5m apart leading up to the turn-around point.
o Riders will turn right into the amenities car park between the last of the small cones and the large cone.
o Riders should be prepared to give way to oncoming traffic.
o On exiting the car park, riders MUST check for traffic coming from their right.
o All racers must follow instructions from the Marshalls
o NB: Marshalls are not allowed to stop traffic on public roads.
• Southern Turn-Around Point at the West Head gates:
o This is the intersection of West Head Road and Akuna Bay Road.
o The turn-around end point is marked by a large orange safety cone and a MWCC Marshall standing behind it.
o Riders must turn between the concrete divider and the safety cone/Marshall.
o Riders that turn behind the Marshall onto Akuna Bay Road will be disqualified (safety reasons excluded).
o All racers must follow directions from the Marshalls.
o NB: Marshalls are not allowed to stop traffic on public roads.
Elvina Car Park Finish Line:
• The finish line is indicated by 2 orange safety cones and a line of masking tape across the road.
• 5 (or more) orange safety cones will be spaced at 5m intervals on the centre double lines leading up to the finish line.
• At NO TIME are the double lines to be crossed during the finishing sprint. Unless for a safety reason, the rider will be relegated or disqualified.
• On finishing, riders are to continue past the corner to ensure they can see any on-coming traffic before turning across the road to the car park. An orange witches hat will mark the point where riders can turn across the road and return to the car park.
• Check for oncoming cyclists who may be coming down the hill in the shadows.
• Make sure you check behind you as well for other riders not racing.
• The entry to the car park is to be kept clear at all times.
• For safety reasons, riders must also keep to the left of the gutter near the car park entrance to ensure that the road is kept clear.