A brilliant morning of racing that witnessed the excitement of racing and the disappointment of riders who hadn’t pre registered and found their preferred grade sold out. We saw some great tactical battles in a number of grades and the race is now seeing a growing presence of female riders pinning on a number.
The hype had been building all week, with B Prestige having been sold out by Tuesday morning and the rapid sale of other grades, had race organisers scrambling to readjust grade numbers and attempting to fit as many riders as possible into various divisions. The club handicapper was looking at entries and bumping riders up and down to ensure that we had competitive racing in all grades, this meant a number of riders who had recently been promoted to A Grade or dreamt of giving it a crack – were unceremoniously dumped into B Silver, with the realisation that A Grade it well and truly reserved for the elite riders on this course. By 5pm Friday at the shut off for pre entries, all grades with the exception of B Silver (a newly created grade similar to B Prestige) and D Grade being full and not accepting riders on the day.
This meant on Sunday morning, riders who don’t read our website, facebook or twitter feeds turned up thinking it was business as usual and they would just get an entry on the day, only to be told – sorry house full. This included nearly the entire Subaru Albion NRS team who had turned up with team car and all. The bonus was, with riders pre entered the queue for sign in was never more than 4 riders deep. I can already sense the anticipation for the entry release for next month – Sunday 2 March 9am when they go on sale.
With such demand, we will be changing up the way that the grades are raced next month, just need some time to go through the entries and look at where the best racing is found – so look forward to some changes in next months options.
The growing demand is also being reflected in the number of female riders who are pinning on a number and giving the racing a red hot crack. While we have had our regular racers in Narelle Hards and Lynne Clarke signing on for an extended time now, we now see a number of new entries onto the scene.
Young rider Cait Surgenor from St George CC has been absolutely terrorising riders in C Grade and this month it was C Prestige who were treated to a climbing masterclass by this red avenger. Little Red Riding Hood had no problems going to the front and belting the riders and sending plenty of riders into the red zone whenever the road turned skyward, which is often on our West Head course. There were plenty of egos who were crushed by her performance and while she was edged out in the sprint which is understandable when you are racing on restricted gearing, there were plenty of riders who didn’t make it to the sprint after being blown out the back on one of the climbs due to the tempo set by the young St George rider. I mistakenly didn’t award her a prize for the top finishing rider in C Grade, so if she reads this she can either contact the club through the website, or just come along next month to receive your prize.
D grade is a great entry into racing and is also a suitable racing level for those who are perhaps limited in their training time. It completes just a single lap and this month more than a third of the riders were female which is fantastic to see. Amongst those on the start line was Jessie Haverfield who entered earlier in the week, which resulted in Chris Miller now owing her $30 because he bet she wouldn’t start. Not only did she start the race but she was the second female across the line – post race she described the racing as the most pain she has ever gone through but absolutely great fun at the same time. She was edged out by Josephine Meldgaard of Sydney Cycling Club who was the first female across the line and I believe about 5th place overall.
Lynne Clarke continued to show her impressive form of late when she backed up from her Friday night crit race to step up to B Hubbard this month. Everytime the group went passed it seemed to be Lynne driving the pace on the front and ensuring that no one thought that she was going to be a soft touch. Lynne managed to edge out Geraldine Blomfield-Brown of Waratahs to be the highest ranked female to cross the finish line on the day.
In other grades there was plenty of action and while you may hear some moans on the startline about grading, nearly every bunch finished with a bunch sprint which really shows the level playing field. C Silver was an interesting race because that was made up of riders who missed the B Prestige sign in and also riders who had been demoted from A Grade. So it was perhaps a real opportunity for some riders to see how they went against riders who were edging up to the next level.
There were plenty of attacks by a number of riders and while it looked like one break had finally stuck on the last lap, only for those riders to sit up and let the bunch come back together. Then Ashley Stapley took it upon himself to attack solo off the front and he looked to have a race leading advantage but like so many before him, the legs started to fail on the nasty little berg at the end and he was reeled in with only a few hundred metres to go by the fast finishing bunch which was taken out by MWCC rider Jared Millar.
The A Grade field was a very strong field and it really is becoming one for riders to have on their CV. With its capacity field it followed the usual routine of a few attacks being launched to soften up the riders early on however as opposed to previous months where a small select group get away, this month the peloton actually split in half. This caused havoc in the field because those that were left behind either had to commit to catching it down and potentially dragging stronger riders up or sit in and hope that it comes back together. The front bunch were taking a no prisoners approach to racing and once the split was established, they continued to drive the pace and I am sure set a few strava records because they were absolutely motoring around the course. With so many riders watching the Jaegermeister, this allowed the Peloton duo of Jaeger and Peterson to one-two the bunch and when former pro Cam Peterson launched off the front there was some hesitation and also the ability to bring him back. With rumours abound of a return to the NRS for Peterson next season he was able to solo off for victory before Michael Jaeger the Danish import and former pro won the kick for second edging out former UCI Amateur Masters Champion Dan Brickell. So not a bad podium or standard for your local club race.
Thanks to all of the volunteers who gave up their morning of racing to assist with running of the races and to our commissaires for running such a smooth morning of racing. The hardest thing for us to now manage is the number of just social riders on the course, it isn’t the cars we have to be worried about. If you race without pinning on your number, don’t be surprised if the finish line marshals don’t recognise you as a place getter.
A reminder for all riders for future reference that there are actual toilet facilities at the Akuna Bay marina and so rider should use these facilities and not the carpark or trees. As usual even with a full field, there were no crashes or incidents to report. The next race is 9 March, with entries being taken from the 2nd March.
In April we will be running a female only beginner/moderate level grade similar to our current D Grade, so next month will be another chance to get some experience in before this event.
Watch our website for changes to the grades for next month. We always strive to bring you quality racing.
Liked the photos in this report? Why not check out Joshua Nicholsons blog for more action snaps from the day.
Results for Sunday 9 February
1. Martin Hector MWCC
2. Tim Hiley NSCC
3. David Browne Bicisport
First Female: 1. Josephine Meldgaard SCC
1. Sam Klippan SUVelo
2. Greg Linsdell MWCC
3.Michael Long ESCC
1.Michael Kurnik DHBC
2.Eric Dole MWCC
3.Dan Galloway MWCC
First Female 1.Cait Surgenor StGCC
1.Shaun Falzarano MWCC
2.Hamish Murchison MWCC
3.Chris Taylor MWCC
First Female 1. Lynne Clarke MWCC
1.Jared Millar MWCC
2.Justin Millington CCCC
3.Peter O’Connor ESCC
1.Brendon Cropper MWCC
2.David Adcock MWCC
3.Michael Bolt MWCC
1.Cam Peterson Peloton
2. Michael Jaeger Peloton
3.Dan Brickell SSCC