This Sunday it will be every club rider for themselves as riders battle it out to be crowned Subaru Active MWCC Club Champion. With a number of big hitters racing the Melbourne to Warrnambool, this leaves the race wide open. In this article we outline the entrants and their chances.
As this article goes to press Grades B-C have sold out for the MWCC divisions, we have just had a DNS in A Grade so one space has opened up. There is still some space in D grade and also in the non MWCC divisions. If you want to race in those divisions then please head over to www.trybooking.com/EQVY with only a handful of spots left in each of those grades.
When we look at the A Grade entrants who will be challenging for the overall title of club champion, we note that previous years winners are absent. No JJ Hazelton (New Zealand), no Jake Kauffmann with NRS commitments. Even those who haven’t won but would be serious threats aren’t on the startline – Bonello, Jory are at the Warnie and even up and coming Andrew Pickering has chosen the one day classic over the Championship. But that is enough about who isn’t there, let’s focus on who will be there and aiming for glory.
From that list we see a number of riders who will come in with a strong reputation, the likes of Alex Gardner, Phil Gray will be heavily marked. But what of the new comers Anthony Lowes or Matthew Rozyn? They could have the potential to cause an upset. Chris Miller always comes into the championships in fine form and given his riding of late, it appears that once again he is peaking for the championship.
Dark horses? What about Michael Bolt, he has recently returned from a european vacation and is looking lean and if he can get up the early climbs, he will be hard to get around in a sprint. Dan Scheiner has promised so much, will he finally deliver at West Head?
This grade will also be challenging for the Masters Champion with the first rider over the line who is aged over 40 taking that title. There seems to be a few in contention – Nick Gatland is back to defend his title, however there will be some stiff competition in the form of Mike Foster and under rated Will McLaren.
This grade appears to be a number of riders who would like it to come down to a sprint finish, so it may mean that a number of riders will want to set a tough early pace in order to dislodge those who will be happy to sit in and wait until the final kilometre. If they can’t find any other helpers, it may mean that they may be sacrificing their own race.
Nathan Crump has the perfectly timed sprint kick which he has shown on a number of occassions. I also like the look of Brendon Cropper for the finale. However if he has gotten over his injuries, there may be few who can go with Ben Fillingham. While he may not be at his fitness peak, which would see him in A Grade, he may have enough in his legs, to cause some damage and also he may look to go early in the race.
No Jonathan Herb on the start list which is a little surprising. Lynne Clarke just has to finish in order to be the highest placed female and therefore champion.
Here the fields start to get a little murky as riders often fail to show consistent form which would have the punters confident to put their money behind. If I have to go out on a limb, which i suppose i have to since i am writing the article, I would get behind Kevin Hazeldine, then perhaps Dave Livanes no real reason but I have it on good authority he has been putting in some kilometres. Similarly Jason Pitkeathly seems to live the pro life on the bike, but has he done the speed work? Brett Babicci will look good in the sprint but will he make it that far?
Is still open for entries, the early entries date reveal the following gladiators:
A small field, however with entries still being taken. Craig Wotherspoon is a proven rider in D Grade and so will start as favourite. Toby Cooke has also shown strong riding form and possibly should have taken the C Grade entry.
Just like Philippe Gilbert said after the recent World Championships – silver counts for nothing at the World Championships. So we encourage riders to give it their all and don’t just hope you get lucky in the sprint.
The racing will start at Akuna Bay Marina from 7:20am. Presentations will be held at the finish line at the Elvina Walking Track.
Other clubs and riders are welcome to enter and race in the non MWCC grades on the day and pre entries are still being taken until 5pm Friday. Any spots that are still available will be open on the day for a cost fo $20.