The changing global economy has resulted in many industrial and low skilled jobs move out of our economy and to overseas countries. As a result many former vibrant areas have struggled to adapt and keep pace with the new economy. For this reason we went up to support Northern Sydney in their winter appeal to show solidarity to our smaller and struggling local club at their round of Battle of the Bridge.
It is often easy for us at Manly Warringah to lookout from our Beach front penthouses over the the pristine beaches of the Northern Beaches forgetting what it is happening in areas west of Neutral Bay or what people generally refer to as ‘Western Sydney‘. Deciding whether we should travel to Aspen or Switzerland for our winter skiing trip? After all, the mid year work bonus for closing a few Hornsby factories means that you sometimes want a break from reading the new glossy brochure for the latest Range Rover.
Northern Sydney were hosting the second round of the Battle of the Bridge and the race was being held in the former industrial heart land of Mt Ku-ring-gai a reminder when Australia built motor cars and steel was real. It was round two of Battle of the Bridge, MWCC very much viewed this as a charity drive for NSCC. A chance for them to get some pride and happiness back in their lives. Always living in our shadow is tough for any cycling club.
Upon arrival at Beaumont Road, we spotted a number of NSCC riders lining up at a van by the side of the road, our first thoughts were it was a soup kitchen and they were queuing for some nourishment because it certainly looks like Angus Calder (NSCC) has gone without a few meals. It was in fact a coffee van pumping out the pre race caffeine for all the riders, well at least they have coffee up here.
Ready to roll out – a huge turn out to support the NSCC Charity round
The A Grade was made up of a small, select group of MWCC riders in order to give NSCC the maximum chance of full points in this division. SUVelo was looking to again climb on the top steps in this round after being left off the leash to collect the win in round one and they sent a large contingent of riders.
The early laps had riders looking to get active but the early laps set a solid pace and the group stayed together until there was a selection of about 8 riders found themselves driving it off the front with all the majors represented and this looked to be the dangerous move. Their lead built up quicker than the apartments on the Pacific Highway skyline and with MWCC riders Dinham and Kauffmann sitting protected in the break, Sam Burston (MWCC) was happy to mill around the front of the main bunch and actively give the impression he was trying to close the gap down after missing the break, well at least that is the excuse he gave the DS post race for why an NRS rider was not up in the selection.
Kauffmann took a leaf out of the Tom Boonen mind games when the other riders showed off their skin suits, he was happy to remain with his arm, leg warmers and wind vest on – nothing more than a training ride and he didn’t need every aero advantage to keep up with these young riders. The NSCC and SUVelo riders were doing all they could to break up this bunch with Michael Potter (NSCC) and a number of the SUVelo riders attempting to split up the break, meanwhile Matt Dinham was thinking that he should have kept his Junior gearing on, in order to at least get the full benefits of a work out on the multi loop course.
All A Graders doing their best to look casually relaxed pre race
As the time ticked on, the evidence was clear that this break away was going to stick and so the decision was made out on the road, expose SUVelo as just a one round wonder and let Potter give some hope to the locals on his home turf, simple bread and circus type tricks.
With a few laps remaining, we let Michael Potter (NSCC) drift off the front with Jesse Coyle (SUVelo) with Dinham content to play policeman of the two. In the sprint for the finish line Michael Potter would raise the hands in victory ahead of Jesse Coyle. This signaling the demise of SUVelo – the win, in the first round, second in the second and by the end of the series they will offer nothing. Matt Dinham (MWCC) was comfortable in third place and setting up the Club perfectly for the final two rounds.
For Northern Sydney the win was the biggest highlight for the area since the opening of Westfield Hornsby in 1961. It was a pleasure for MWCC to gift them such a moment, a moment of warmth to their hearts in an otherwise near freezing environment.
- Michael Potter (NSCC)
- Jesse Coyle (SUVelo)
- Matt Dinham (MWCC)
A very large field featuring the regular NSCC A Graders of Simon Davies and Matt Garnon set the rhythm for the B Grade race and with the last race having a break go on the second lap, everyone was more attentive for the early break, unless of course you were from Easts, because just like every other grade, they had completely missed the start.
A very large NSCC participation put the other clubs on the defensive, because they would have to be selective as to how they would respond to the NSCC aggression early on. Of course just having a large presence doesn’t really equate to a whole lot, MWCC had a small team, but think of them as an elite team of Special Forces troops or as another rider pointed out, Superman does it all on his own.
It seems that all the riders were in agreement, let Andy Logan of NSCC go off the front on his own. Because with him out there solo, when he inevitably crashes at least he will only take himself out. So as he continually charged off the front, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and just hoped we didn’t catch him as we were going around a witches hat.
The field would stretch out before coming back together and after 30 minutes of racing, it was clear that nothing was going to stick and we would just be looping around for another 15 minutes. It was here that finally Davies and Garnon, the pre race NSCC favourites found themselves moving forward and looking to set something up, like a Chinese Investor looking to buy an off the plan apartment at Pymble, they were keen for some action. Perhaps sensing a lull in the pace, they went up the road and looked to established the race winning move. The chatter amongst the glitterati within the peloton had this marked as a deadly move.
To nullify this move, MWCC sent Greg Barnes to the front and like a sniper in the forest, he simply picked them off. He didn’t need another set of legs to help him, he just set his sights and zeroed in. It was like watching a performance from the Bolshoi ballet; elegant, graceful with perfect execution.
Forget the results – MWCC winning on the style front – again
The drama was only just about to unfold in this chapter of the race. With two laps to go the pace hotted up and the sprinters started to spin their legs in anticipation of the show down in the final couple of hundred metres. With a lap to go, the field was strung out single file, with all of the MWCC riders perfectly positioned in the field to take full advantage of the finish. We came down to the final turn around and it was reading as per the script, with two NSCC riders dangling off the front and waiting for the inevitable execution.
The field stretches and the pace drives up, with only 500 metres remaining in the race, the commentators are looking at the MWCC train which was an Express train to victory. It was here that NSCC panic and reach for the race radios – ‘Release the bus! release the bus!’ Then on cue an out of timetable bus pulls itself on course being driven by one of the NSCC officials, in order to stall and reset the last lap.
The final lap would go again, riders having to reset themselves for another lap. The fix was on.
The riders went around the finish line turnaround and set off again for the final lap in a groundhog day moment. With all the riders assuming that they will be now given the same time on GC, the riders rolled around with an MWCC rider Peter Sagan now glued on NSCC sprinter Jack Hawkins. As the riders went around again, it was Hawkins who would hit the front with 300 metres remaining and Sagan was firmly placed on his wheel and ready to launch to victory if he wanted to.
Now often the most sporting moment, isn’t the victor but rather that moment when a rider or a Club who has had so much success in the past, gives someone else their moment in the spotlight. That moment occurred with 250 metres remaining, when rather than come around Hawkins like he could have easily done, the Manly rider showed that chivalry in Battle and eased up letting Hawkins believe that he was the quickest rider in the race.
Why break this young mans hopes? Why not show that there still is a gentlemen’s honour in 2017? Ease up and let the Northern Sydney riders take the win and the podium spots. It is too easy to let them think that riders dropping down grades, riding with mismatching arm warmers to your club kit is acceptable behaviour when that is what they seem around them on a regular basis from their club regulars.
By letting them have the win and the podium, you are hoping to break this cycle of destruction. MWCC have offered them the branch of hope, albeit one we will break over them at West Head.
- Jack Hawkins (NSCC)
- Jason Thomas (NSCC)
- Matt Vassilieff (NSCC)
An even field that had many first time Beauie Worlds riders, the concept of the two hairpin turn arounds can cause some issues for inexperienced riders and this would become a factor later in the race.
Early on the field was riding at a solid pace but no one rider at C Grade level had the power to maintain a break that would establish itself. Without the corners of Heffron Park, there is a lot more exposure and the need for a more sustained power output at Beauie and this was hampering the efforts to shake up a large field.
We had a number of riders who were keen to reduce the field including Simon Welfare and Richard Measures and they were working with the ladies of SUVelo to put the pain level up another notch. They would have been happy to bring it down to a reduced sprint. MWCC also sent a long some more inexperienced Beauie riders, in an effort to broaden their horizons and riders such as Cameron Butchart and Matt Robinson would become stronger riders as a result of learning the Beauie course in years to come.
With only a few laps remaining in what was still a very large field, RBCC and NSCC decided to combine force and throw themselves onto the road in a low speed crash at the bottom turn around point. This would split the field and remove some contenders.
It wasn’t enough to slow SUVelo rider Dan Van Der Laan who would sprint to victory ahead of eternal second place getter Declan Jones (you ride for RBCC, get use to being second in life) and Ben Edols of MWCC was an honourable third place.
- Daniel van der Sand Bagger (SuVelo)
- Declan Jones (RBCC)
- Ben Edols (MWCC)
All in all, it was a super successful morning for MWCC, so many people told me how happy they were to have the support of MWCC and it felt nice to give back and support our NSCC neighbours who not only reuse our jokes but always put on a solid morning of racing. It should be noted that while we like to give donations, Jake Kauffmann is hoping to get his credit card back.
About as close as many NSCC C Graders got to the front of the race
After donating this round to Northern Sydney, we return to business this Sunday with the MWCC round at West Head. It will be time for MWCC to stamp their authority on the series. To crush the hope of those clubs around us. It may also be a good time for Eastern Suburbs to consider entering the series, we all know that the Eastern Suburbs set consider it cool to be fashionably late to the party, well turning up at round 3 would be considered fashionably late.
With West Head we will be moving from the flat lands to the hills and it is here that the GC Contenders will come out and state that MWCC is the top rated club, until now it has just been fun and games. We hope that SUVelo and NSCC have enjoyed themselves up until now, because now the real racing begins.
If you are eligible to participate in the series, then entries are now open for this Sundays West Head Round via: http//:www.trybooking.com/RAWO
Check our website for all the details.
Read the Round One Report: http://www.manlywarringahcc.org.au/events/botb-rnd-1-review-the-trojan-horse/