Race Report West Head Handicap

1st Andrew Crawley
2nd Caleb Jones
3rd Phil Grenfell
4th John Leighton
5th Geoff Wilson

Andy Crawley wins the first MWCC handicap of the season!

With a strong field of 50+ riders spread over A to D grade and a brand new course which now has the southern turn around the west head road gates rather than the tight witches hat (yes that means over the little berg) the Handicapper had a tough time splitting the riders into 6 groups.

A-C grade were to do two laps of the new course layout separated by 8 minutes while D would only have to suffer one lap but start when the first returning group were close to arriving for the second lap making them the rabbit to be hunted by the savage wolves.

The first group rolled out and took off quite quickly which made the second group a little anxious as they had a 3 minute wait for departure and knew that the next wave was going to be only 1 min behind them. In what felt like an eternity they were off and quickly organised themselves as they disappeared over the crest of the hill.

One minute later and off the next wave went which left our two large A grade groups and our very excited D graders.

The first A grade group to go was mainly filled with Peloton Sports riders from Turramurra Cyclery and they looked ready to give it everything. They had a 3 minute wait which seemed to last forever but more nerving was the fact they had another strong group only 1 minute behind. The time came and they took off like demons on a mission. Being mainly from the same squad they seamlessly rolled into formation.

Up roll the FRF Race Team with the current MWCC Champion Caleb Jones alongside club and team mate Andy Crawley. Add to the team Alex Malone, Phil Grenfell and recent Oceania Championships Podium Placer Sam Rutherford and the Peloton Boys were going to have to fly to keep away from this train.

Eight minutes after the first group went the Scratch Markers were gone, full of enthusiasm and ready to take the time out of the groups in front. Had I got the gaps right?

Waiting anxiously at the start/finish were six D Grade riders. It was exactly 35 minutes before we had the first group come through on their way to the new turn around. The C grade bunch were still in the lead but not far behind and in site we had the first of the B grade bunch coming through. With approx. 2km there and 2km back We held D Grade until we got the call from the marshals at the turn. Off D Grade went just as the first A Grade group came screaming through. With 25km to travel they had a 2.5km lead over the C Grade group and 4km over the first A Grade group could they do it?

WHERE ARE FRF? Minutes had passed and we still hadn’t seen the scratch group. Had the Crashed? Had they been kidnapped? Or maybe they had decided on a picnic and daisy sniffing expedition somewhere! Oh here they are 3” 35’ behind the First A grade group that had come through. WHAT THE?

As the groups crossed the start/finish line on their way for the second lap the gaps were looking good except for FRF. B Grade first group had merged with C Grade, A Grade first group (Turramurra) a few minutes behind. Second B Grade Group had been passed and FRF were a fair way down.

With a very polite explanation from one of the FRF Team as they rolled passed we now understood their delay. Our dedicated Secretary come fill in Marshal Alan had unfortunately taken a tumble in the car park at the turning point(he is ok but lost a bit of skin) just as the FRF Group were approaching the turn. Rather than turning through the car park they continued down and around the look-out (yes that extra few Km’s with a rather decent hill) as they did not see a marshal. Much to their surprise when they came back past the car park quite a few minutes later there he was standing there apologizing. OOOOOPPS! All we could do was hope that they either lost by quite a long/long way which meant they would not have won anyway or they had to win. Hurry up D Grade or hit the Gas please FRF…I do not want to decide a winner if they only loose by 30 seconds.

Now the anxious person at the start finish line was ME!

After 1hr and 10min of racing we had our first rider approaching quickly. Turramurra rider! Not far behind? A fairly large group of A and B grade riders with yes, FRF mixed in and Phil Grenfell on the front. Thank you for hitting the GAS boys. 4km to go!

Just on the tail of the leaders came a mix of D grade and C grade riders who had just been passed (Nearly there guys. I will give you a few extra minutes next time).

Will there be a SPRINT FINISH?

No. Andy Crawley came back in a clear winner after attacking on the last steep kick with no reply from any of the non-FRF riders. Second and Third also went to FRF with Caleb Jones and Phil Grenfell. Fourth and Fifth went to Peloton Sports Jon Leighton and Greg Wilson.

Well Done to all riders who had a go today. Congratulations to the winners who put in some great performances especially given the little hiccup on the first lap.

I hope everyone had a great time. I want to see you all at the next race. The handicap races can only get better from here.

PS: The next time you are rostered on for Marshalling please turn up or organise someone to replace you. (A phone call would even be nice). We did not have one rostered marshal turn up today!

Happy Rolling,

Daniel Wright

Edit: Andy Crawley must be at least 3 quarters machine, here are his Garmin stats from Sunday after a 4th at the Orica Kermesse the day before!

3 Comments

  1. jim

    Great race and good to see a strong turn out from Peleton Sports. The new turnaround sets up the finish nicely. Plus it is nice and wide. There should be some great sprints as riders will have a lot more speed coming in to the line.

    Special note goes to Roger Shackleton who worked on saturday, raced Hefron in the afternoon, partied hard that night, then backed it up with a solid effort sunday. A man clearly fueled by minimal sleep, adrenaline and gin and tonics.

  2. Gabriel

    I found the handicap format more interesting as it made the smaller groups of riders cooperate better. It created an interesting dynamic in my B grade group.

    The new turnaround is a significant improvement over the previous witch’s hat tight turn. There are a now an extra couple of short hills before the finish, the turn is wider to minimise stretching the field out, and riders have more speed to regroup for a sprint finish.

    If you missed it, you should give the new format a try in May.

  3. Chris James

    I also enjoyed the handicap format. The addition of the turnaround at the gate makes for safer racing and those extra hills spice up the finish.

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