Raced under the blazing blue skies of West Head, the MWCC Club Champions have been crowned for 2016. In a strongly contested battle across all grades, champions were made and names were etched into folklore, this is racing, this is MWCC racing.
The rolling parcours of West Head present a number of opportunities whether it be the sole escapee who backs themselves to outride the chasing bunch, with the knowledge that self interest will play a part as others back in the peloton will want others to do the work.
The canny sprinter, who can hide in the bunch, survive the surges on the rolling pinches to allow themselves to be in there for the sprint at the end.
Every riders has a game plan, only the select few are able to execute it. That is the beauty of bike racing, others have their own plans and if they have a weapon in their arsenal such as a sprint, they would be mad to be the guy who just keeps rolling turns on the front. It may not suit other riders, but then they have to adjust to the situation and make other plans if they want to succeed.
A few riders coming into this Championship race had a weight of expectation on their shoulders. None more so than Jake Kauffmann, who would have felt like Peter Sagan in a race when he was quoted as saying “No one wants to work with me”. Just like the Avanti team who wanted Jake to pull them solo to the break at the Warnie, when Jake launched, the riders went on his wheel and every look back to get a rider to roll through was met with a shake of the head.
In B Grade riders looked around and knew if Steve Lupton was there at the end, that it would be he would be taking the top step. So at every rise, Mitch Dixon would go to the front and lift the tempo hoping to dislodge him. Steve knew the routine and never felt the wind, he just tracked wheels and followed moves, conserving and waiting.
This was classic racing and all the riders knew it.
In B Grade, while Nic Millett wanted to be the rider who spent the most time on the front driving the bunch, it was the solo attack by Cam Dinnie at the base of the Wall that would be the deciding move. While he looked back a few times perhaps waiting for a companion, his consistent pace was enough to continually stretch his lead while others looked and waited. Cam Dinnie would solo to victory his willingness to roll the dice with the long range attack paid dividends, while Steve Lupton took the sprint of the bunch home.
Similarly in A Grade, while Jake Kauffmann pulled the bunch around and he looked to have the sprint wrapped up, it was Phil Gray who would emerge in the final metres to come around him and snap up victory. One shot, one kill, Phil the assassin had laid in weight and then appeared for the first time in the race, to take first – just as Phil had planned.
To make Phil’s achievement even more impressive was the fact that his victory had him winning the overall championship and the Masters Over 40 division at the same time. A feat not achieved for many years. It just shows the level of competitive racing across the age groups continues to improve.
It was a fantastic day of racing.
2016 Honour Roll
Club Open Champion: Phil Gray
Masters Champion (Over 40): Phil Gray
Women’s Champion: Rowan Sams
Super Masters (Over 55): Peter Ritchie
Junior Champion: Shaun Falzarano
B Grade Champion: Cam Dinnie
C Grade Champion: Lachlan Soper
D Grade Champion: Toby Kerrison
Other podiums from the day: