Great racing in all grades on an awesome morning with 29 starters.
A Grade: 1st Anthony Seipolt, 2nd Andrew Baker, 3rd David Warren
B Grade: 1st Harvey Lang, 2nd Michael Hartman (N) 3rd Vincent Haveaux
C Grade: 1st Brad Keeting, 2nd Darren Williams, Chris Colley.
D Grade: 1st Daryl Peterson, 2nd Gavin Gamble, 3rd John Bell
A special thanks to Robbie Nichols, Kane Airey, Tim Tingiri, Rod Lambeth for filling in for marshaling at the last minute.
A Grade by Anthony Seipolt
Perfect condition greeted our valiant band of brothers as they lined up for the 46km effort – out and back on Forest Rd and then an additional lap before a Larcombe Rd finish. There was a light Westerly blowing and the sun was making a slow but deliberate effort at shining through. Pretty benign by Paraparap standards.
Riders included Richard Lyle, Nick Brown, Andrew Baker, Dave Warren, Jeff Miller, Rick Buckwell and Steve Young. All were looking fresh and ready to go.
Now a scratch race can be a whole lot of things, and this one seemed determined to try them all. The riders put on a fantastic show with everyone having an attack or chase at one time or another.
We had a relatively benign roll up Misery Lane. There was a proposal to implement rolling turns, but this was voted down pretty quickly with a number of abstainers contributing to a general lack enthusiasm and eventually apathy won.
As we rolled up Forest Rd we came to the place where Dave always attacks and, you guessed it, Dave attacked!
This signaled the commencement of hostilities and a flurry of attacks ensured. Old man Jeff was in trouble early, but managed to bridge back on.
Andy was a workhorse much of the day. When the gaps were looking dangerous, he self-nominated as super-domestique and mowed the escapees down with some great efforts.
I took advantage of a lull in hostilities to roll off the front of the group. This followed a number of hard attacks from Rick, Steve, Jeff and others. The timing was lucky and no one seemed to want to take control of the chase. Seeing this, I had a bit of a dig and built up a bit of a gap on the group. Engage time trial mode. I stuck the cruise control on 320W and settled in to see what would happen.
At the Forest Rd turn, I got the red flag as a car was coming through. This held me up a little and by the time I was started off again, the pack had the scent and the gap was shut down pretty quick.
Everyone looked at everyone else for a minute, but pretty soon attacks were back on the menu again.
The pattern of the attacks was pretty straightforward; one rider would attack from mid-pack, they would gain some space until the the distance became uncomfortable enough that another rider thought they had better bridge across. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your viewpoint) everyone was waiting for the bridging maneuver and this usually resulted in the whole pack being dragged across to the break.
However, Rick had not read this script. Poor form really. He attacked on Greys Rd and pretty soon had the biggest gap of the day.
As we rolled up Forest Rd for the last lap we came to the place where Dave always attacks and, you guessed it, Dave attacked!
I recall stories that I had been told previously of Rick attacking at the start of a race and never being seen again. Obviously this story was at the forefront of a number of minds and some semblance of structure appeared in the chase.
At the turn into Hendy Main Rd we ran into a little confusion. There were two non-racing riders just ahead of us as we neared the corner – they appeared to be riding straight through. To ensure we didn’t cut across them as we turned we slowed up a little. When we were clear of the riders the speed jumped back up only to hit a little confusion at the entry onto Hendy proper. The first 4 or so riders made it through, but for the second time in the race, a car and red flag caught three riders out. The lead riders weren’t aware of the red flag, but even if they were it probably wouldn’t have mattered with Rick solo up the road.
By mid-way up Hendy the main pack looked to have Rick in their sights and I started to think about what might happen in a bunch Sprint.
Two weeks ago, I raced the Colac Monthly medal. Nick Brown and I had a good break and worked well together to hold off the rest of the field. We went hard at the finish line and Nick rolled over me with a strong sprint finish. Nick would have had the overall win except the handicapper was working off a speeding ticket and had given the local copper a 30min limit handicap. [Not true, but a good story nonetheless].
On this basis, I decided Nick was the best sprinter and probably also had the freshest legs. As we neared Larcombe Rd I soft pedaled and allowed a gap to form on the front three riders (Andy, Dave and Rick?). Nick and Jeff were behind me and I was hoping that I would force Nick into bridging the gap and expending some effort. This worked, but it was almost too late as the front thee riders has seen their advantage and were working to make it decisive. Fortunately my cunning plan worked and Nick jumped to try and bridge. About half-way across he was starting to tire and it was time to see if I could get back to the lead three.
The three riders were working well, but everyone’s legs were nicely toasted by now. I caught up at the chicane and tried to catch my breath.
With 300m to go everyone started to look around. I rolled up to second wheel and waited until the fuses were lit. This position serves to box the third and fourth wheels a little and allowed me to keep an eye on festivities. I learnt this one at the Northern Combine races and it is a good move if you have a small group with a decent gap.
From there on I don’t really know what happened. I put my head down and bum up and cranked out whatever my legs would do. Lucky to hold on for first with Andy and Dave very close behind.
Thanks to all the volunteers and organisers. Thanks to my fellow A Graders for a safe and fast race.
B Grade Harvey Lang
The race started at a steady pace with everyone settling in to the scratch race format . This being , ” let’s see who will begin attacking and how long before the leader waves the others to come through and take there turns. Andrew Reed and Ian ( not sure of last name ) and Harvey Lang were the ones to lead the group out to Hendry’s Rd and had some “mini ” attacks to ascertain who was able to keep the wheel and to see if we could split the bunch .
After the turn around at Gundry’s and heading back along Forest , Harvey and Andrew put in some breakaways along with Vincent and Mike , but the group could not be split . As we headed into our last lap of the normal circuit there were repeated attacks by Harvey and the ensuing game of chess was still at a stale mate, with all the group taking there turn when the attackers drifted to the back of the group . Ian did a power of work up misery lane and lead the group towards the finishing line and a bunch sprint at the end resulted in Harvey taking the honours with mike and Vincent third . Andrew reed unfortunately went over the middle line and was subsequently disqualified. It was a fantastic day and ride and these sorts of races are a great as you have to constantly think and watch for attacks and be prepared .
D Grade Daryl Peterson
The D graders set off with 8 Riders, and were working well together on the trip out and back Forest Road. Occasional displays of bravado were reeled in, and they headed onto Grays Road coming around to receive the bell for the final lap.
Grant Rodgers, Jamie Robinson and Chris Shay were riding strongly and with Ross West assisting were starting to stretch out the group.
Coming up to receive the bell lap, Gavin Gamble attacked and opened up a lead of 200 metres approaching the Finish Line for the first time, thinking he was going for the Win!
As we turned onto Forest Road a sheepish Gavin replied when we regrouped, that he was practicing for the Real Finish.
Completing the last lap, Ross West, John Bell, Daryl Peterson, and Ian Sumner were doing their best to be invisible as Grant, Chris and Jamie led up Misery Lane for the final time, while keeping an eye on Gavin, who was sure to put his practice sprint into action.
Turning into Larcombes Road for the sprint to the line, Gavin was on the front, with the rest of the bunch waiting until the last minute to pounce. With a strong kick Gavin set sail for the line, and was pipped by centimetres by Daryl, who had left his sprint to the last possible moment.
John Bell came in strongly in third.