True to form and as per early predictions the MWCC Train was an express to victory on Sunday at West Head for Round Two of Battle of the Bridge. With 144 riders entering the round between just 4 clubs, it was an epic day of racing that would end in a sea of MWCC confetti. For all the race results and a current tally of results see the enclosed report.

As the dawn broke over West Head there was a thickness of fog and dampness in the air. Many thought that it was indeed hell freezing over as SUVelo and RBCC made their way over the Harbour Bridge and into enemy territory. Any real rain was not evident and the riders lined up in brisk conditions with clearing skies.

Both A and B Grade were full to the brim of eager riders waiting for the opportunity to represent their club and to work as one. This format has club members meeting each other for the first time, forming allegiances and working together and bringing a new era to club racing.

In A Grade, SUVelo were visualising themselves as Team Sky lining up to control and dominate the stage, the predictability of this, is like any group of Uni students on a night out. They believe that they know it all but by the end of the night, someone is crying and someone is lying in the gutter in their own vomit after too much cheap cask wine. Sure enough they go on the attack in the first lap and decide that they need the majority of the riders in the breakaway.

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This sounds like a good theory until they realise that all the other riders now look for them to do all the work. For Chris Miller he thinks this is a good idea because it means he can get on the front and hopefully someone will take a photo of him, the look of exertion and desperation on his face made the spectators realise that he had certainly gone all in on this attack. Manly of course have more knowledge and wisdom, although we weren’t exactly subtle, when we sent ‘The Hulk’ Jake Kauffmann to sit in for the free ride. Northern Sydney had Michael Potter in the escapees and as a result the escapes slowly built their time up on the bunch.

Most incredibly it looked like Andrew Pickering of MWCC might actually finish an A Grade race. This seemed as more of a shock than expecting Randwick Botany to have a rider on the podium. When we are use to seeing Andrew pull out of the race due to a ‘mechanical’, ‘heart failure’, general ‘over estimation of ability’ it was good to see him hanging in there till the end.

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The escapees ensured that they would not be caught with MWCC, NSCC and SUvelo happy to let the group battle it out so that they could say that they finished with the bunch, sure they could have won but  they were under team orders.

Watching the finish was like watching the inevitable sun rise, Kauffmann cruised out to the front, contemplated using his big chain ring, while Miller and Potter gave it everything they have to remain a few bike lengths behind this epic Manly victory.

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A Grade
11 Jacob Kauffmann MWCC
24 Chris Miller SUVELO
21 Michael Potter NSCC

The B Grade race was another one for the ages, as the riders decided from the roll out that the pace for the first lap had to be as if it was the the final kilometre the whole way round, lead by Road Captain Andrew Duggan of SUVelo who kept driving the pace. This is probably the difference between Duggan of SUVelo who lead from the front and the main break of the day and that of Field Marshal Archie Wilson of Northern Sydney who lined up at the start line and must have simply waved off the troops from the start because he was never sighted in the race. The lack of leadership would leave NSCC floundering in this race, with it clear that they had no one with any real legs or power that could decide the outcome of the race.

It would be rude to not mention that Randwick Botany were in attendance and so they dutifully sent off Geoff Hilbourne in the main break of the day, obviously confident that this wasn’t a winning move and Geoff wouldn’t win. MWCC knew the break wouldn’t last because our escapee was a guy who said pre race ‘only have time to do two laps’. Once the main break of the day was brought back, shortly after Geoff and team mate Darren Byers were seen in their expected location – off the back of the bunch, wondering what all these hills were.

With every club keen to get their airtime on the podium, no break away would stick in B Grade and it would come down to a sprint, which Michael Berriman of MWCC was going to win in a canter but due to not having an MWCC jersey on, we advised that it is best that he give up victory and to share the spoils around, to help with the story line of the Battle of the Bridge. So he did his best attempt to look like he was sprinting and even threw in an Oscar winning performance with a lunge for the line. Emlyn Simpson of SUVelo was awarded the win and Klayten Smith of RBCC rounded out the podium.

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B Grade
1 Emlyn Simpson SUVELO
13 Michael Berriman MWCC
27 Klayten Smith RBCC

I am not completely aware of what happened in C Grade, except to look at the results and oh, thats right – another MWCC victory! Bruce Potts was in first and Tim Fitzpatrick of NSCC was second and Michael Hart of NSCC was third. Gathering that it was NSCC in second and third, with Tim Fitzpatrick in second, I can only assume that he simply ate the other riders like a game of Pac-Man and only Bruce managed to escape.

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C Grade
3 Bruce Potts MWCC
23 Tim Fitzpatrick NSCC
24 Michael Hart NSCC

Similar to C Grade, I haven’t been provided a race report but to say D Grade was a small field of what we would call a ‘select’ group of riders and in his first ever race, Ben Woods would claim victory for MWCC ahead of John Evans from SUVelo and Phil Dunne of MWCC.

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D Grade
21  Ben Woods MWCC
10 John Evans SUVELO
14 Phil Dunne MWCC

The women’s race was once again a strong turnout of riders on a much harder course than Heffron Park or Beaumont Road and the mis match over the tougher terrain did provide some splits in the group. Even with their strength in numbers SUVelo could not match the battle hardened riders of MWCC, with Rowan Sams regularly dictating the pace with compatriot Monica Dalidowicz. Rowan Sams learnt a valuable lesson in life when she sat up prior to the line, only to have Sue Henry sneak around her and claim second by a tyre width. However chalk another MWCC win up with Monica Dalidowicz on the top step. Monica is still working on her podium appearance, no need for a helmet when you are up collecting the victory.

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Women
17 Monica Dalidowicz MWCC
21 Sue Henry RBCC
1 Rowan Sams MWCC

The next round of racing will be at Northern Sydney ‘Beauie Worlds’ – Beaumont Road, Mt Ku-ring-gai on the 21st August. A flat, hot dog shaped course, with only a big chain ring required. You can get in some pre BOTB practice with Northern Sydney hosting a race day on Sunday 24th July. Sign on from 7:45am with racing starting from 8:15am, entry is $15 on the day.

Due to course restrictions, the fields at the NSCC round will be capped and there will only be grades A-C and a Women’s Grade. Once details on entry is finalised, we will get details out to all riders. This round will be a sell out due to size limitations.

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For a full gallery of pictures, check out the Riding Focus gallery: http://ridingfocus.pixieset.com/mwccwesthead/

After two rounds of racing it is starting to become clearer on the leaderboard. Evitably MWCC are winners, with a clear preference of first compared to the other steps on the podium. Both NSCC and RBCC have failed to back a winner in any grade over two rounds despite their best efforts and at the moment RBCC are well of the pace. While I am not nostradamus, it does appear that MWCC is in prime position as predicted after round one, to be raising the trophy as the victorious club, with two more rounds to wait before the celebrations can begin.

           MWCC           SUVelo           NSCC           RBCC
1st                6                     4                     0                    0
2nd              1                     3                     4                     2
3rd               2                     2                     4                     2