73 riders rejected the opportunity to race at the Nationals in Buninyong and instead chose the West Head course to test their legs for the year ahead. Obviously a number of riders had made it a resolution to race this year, including an impressive 19 riders in D grade, certainly our largest turn out in memory for the first timers in D. As is now custom the ‘Flying Carrots’ of the Central Coast were well represented and this included an Australian Champion amongst the group. Here is the report of the racing as viewed from the car park.
In D Grade, it was a large bunch roll out which gave everyone the chance to get a real race under their belts with a good size allowing plenty of room to move around, the bunch stayed together for most of the one lap, while a few were shelled out the back at the wall, including one of our international riders Arthur from Alabama – the rest of the group stuck together and battled it out. When they came by the finishing line the group was still about 10-12 strong with the other riders just a short distance behind, it was then just two nasty climbs to go before we would see them again. By the time they returned, one rider had ridden clear and everyone else looked they had just faced death and rolled over the line – the best moment was when the race officials were marking down the finish places in D and a rider rolls towards the finishing line pointing out he was second, not realising that there was a rider sneaking up on his inside at a speed of about 15km/hr and as a result that second became a third.
Back in C Grade we had one large bunch fighting it out over 2 laps. It was on the first lap that the perfect record of crash free racing was broken, when a touch of hills going up hill brought down a number of riders. At first it appeared that an ambulance would be required, before all riders had a drink of some harden up and made their way back to the finish line on their own accord. Similar to one of Doctor Evils Henchmen being crushed to death by a slow moving steam roller, it was later explained that the initial rider was a triathlete and hence no further explanation was required. Thankfully there were no major injuries or damage beyond some egos and a broken seat. Such is the winning mentality in C Grade, the bunch had continued on and the racing had remained competitive. However ever present burglar Paul Evangelinides had managed to sneak into C Grade again and he pulled off another win, which was met with a frown and a stern – time to move up to B which was sheepishly acknowledged.
B Grade was another large peloton of 23 riders and everyone had obviously been reading Robbie McEwen’s book, because from all accounts there were plenty of riders just happy to sit in and take their chances with a sprint finish. The big exception was Mike Foster – now Mike will probably tell everyone how he has the strength on the bike of two men – however today it was literally true. Fozzie had teamed up with Matt from the Central Coast who is a visually impaired rider and thus competes on a tandem – normally with his pilot Phil Thaux. Matt is an Australian Champion on the tandem and in this race he had to put up with the guidance of former Club President Fozzie. Now racing on a tandem is a little different to a normal bike, on the straights and downhills you can be sitting on 75km/hr but when it comes to hills you are lucky to go 5km/hr. Which isn’t very helpful on a course like West Head. So when the bunch thought Matt and Mike were attacking because they were winding it up to 50km/hr, it was actually them just trying to get up enough momentum to get up the hill. There were a few attempted breaks outside of Matt and Mike trying to get over some hills that were either shut down or pulled back in, often by an ever present and vocal Italian chef and a rather well dressed group in their Lavazza kit. After two laps the group was still together in a rather large bunch and it was hard to pick a winner, in the end Jeremy Hopson showed that you don’t have to be Euro Pro to win a race. Sporting hairy legs, a visor on his helmet and mismatching kit – Jeremy showed a clean pair of heels to win by a few bike lengths, ahead of his well dressed compatriots from Lavazza in second and Henry Baird in third.
A Grade was an open field with the elite Manly riders off at Nationals, even young Dan Scheiner decided to step up to A Grade to test his legs against the best – imagine stepping up a grade without being forced! Quite a few racers could learn from young Dan. The bookies had money on two riders in the race Mick Curran from CCCC (riding in his Waki Lexus kit) or the silent assassin Cam Dinnie of MWCC. After the first lap the group was all still together and we saw Mick Curran sending some of the flying carrots up the road in an attempt to make other riders work and give him an easy ride to the finish. As they came towards the finish Cam Dinnie decided to show off his time trialing strength and he hit out from home with a few kilometres to go and he quickly established a healthy lead, as Mick Curran looked at his teammates and wanted to know who was going to do the work? As they came back into view – it became evident that Cam Dinnie had run out of diesel and had conked out a few hundred from home, Nick Yallouris of the CCCC had pulled it back in and set it up perfectly for the man who must have some of the best looking legs in cycling – Mick Curran to coast over the finish for another victory to add to his palmares. Mick Curran first, the unheralded James Swadling from Northern Sydney second and Nick Yallouris in third.
All round a solid day of racing well at least that is what it looked like standing in the car park. Next West Head is on the 12 February. Please ensure that you have an Australian Standards sticker on the inside of your helmet, because spot checks will be occurring. Apologies for not having every podium getter listed, unfortunately my Sherlock Holmes type memory doesn’t recall every place getter, it was too busy working out the logistics of crashing up hill. Full place getters will be up once a results sheet comes to hand.
1 Mick Curren
2- James Swadling
3- Nick Yalburis
1- Jeremy Hopson
2- Stefan North
3- Henry Baird
1- Paul Evangelihides
2- Ian Blaiklock
3- Evan Snow
1- Jonathon Herb
2- Craig Wotherspoon
3- John Dalzell