The Geelong and Surf Coast Cycling Club is celebrating its 40th year this weekend at the club’s home in Paraparap, with a special 63km handicap road race. There will be celebrations afterwards including a barbecue to which all past and present members, plus their families, are invited. The GSCC has a proud history with a warm and welcoming environment for all levels of cyclists who enjoy competitive road racing.
The club was formed on October 14th, 1977, as the Geelong Veterans Cycling Club, at a meeting at the Geelong West Clubrooms, chaired by Mr. J.J. Stewart from Northern Vets Club. Back then, only fifteen people attended. The first President was Reg Marriner. Stan Howard was voted Vice President, and Neville Densley, the secretary.
The first race – a graded scratch race – was held on Thursday evening, November 3, that same year, on the Fyansford-Gheringhap Rd at Stonehaven. Reg sought out riders from various cycling clubs as well as several former cyclists who worked alongside Reg at Alcoa (who then soon became affectionately known as the “Alcoa Mafia”). Reg persuaded all interested parties to ride together in a ‘friendly’ competitive race. It turned out that some of the riders who had not raced for several years were lacking fitness compared to the other ‘guns’ who had continued to ride socially. Nonetheless, this was the start of the club.
After that, races were held regularly during twilight hours around the Stonehaven and Fyansford areas, north west of Geelong. They raced clockwise along Friend in Hand Road, Hamilton Highway and the Fyansford-Gheringhap Road but racing along Hamilton Highway proved to be a scary undertaking, beside hurtling trucks and cars, so an alternative location was promptly sought after – Paraparap, near Moriac, the winner.
Racing was shifted to Sunday mornings and in March, 1978, an amenity building, known as “Dave’s Dunny” in honour of its designer, Dave Scarsi, was erected near the intersection of Grays and Hendy Main Roads.
The finish line was on Grays Road, close to the intersection, however, after a few incidents, this location was also deemed unsafe and was moved about 1.5 km north along Hendy Main Road. In 2015, once again the finish line saw a move to the much safer existing location in Larcombes Road.
By 1987, then president, Lance Hamilton, had secured the use of the land where the club currently resides, on the corner of Hendy Main and Grassdale Roads. Dave’s Dunny was relocated to this site and other outbuildings were built soon after by volunteer club members.
The club owes a lot to past volunteers of that time who had the foresight to set up the facilities which makes the club unique. GSCC has since held racing over various courses around the Paraparap, Moriac, and Winchelsea areas with major events also held in Queenscliff. The club has continued to be led by great people over the years, more recently life members, Joe Gulino and Richard Buckwell Snr., among others.
The GSCC has the only designated ‘Super Vets’ group (for the older members of the club) in Victoria who race every Wednesday and have done for 25 years! More recently the GSCC has created a designated women’s cycling group which is prospering.
In December, 2014, the club changed its name to the Geelong and Surf Coast Cycling Club. This was an immense but positive change for the club as approximately 190 of its registered members are from between Lorne and Melbourne. With age groups between 30 and 90, it is one of the strongest Veteran racing clubs in Victoria.
Many Geelong riders have figured prominently in Australian and Victorian Open events, over the history of the club, including extremely strong scratch riders and persistent limit riders. The club continues to grow from strength to strength with great wins in racing plus the continued dedication of volunteers and members.
Several identities who were involved in the early years of the club included: Reg Marriner, Stan Howard, Harold Barley, Fergie Hamilton, Neville Densley, Laurie Boylan, David Scarsi, John Elliot, Pop Marriner, Ken Mansfield, Rob Nicholls, Alex and Vic Maurer, Stuart Kelly, John Windsor, Richard Buckwell Snr., Ray Aldridge, Jack Griffin, Peter Hosking, Neil Freeman, Paul Foster, Brian Griffith, Stan Rosanni, Ben Marricotti, Max Stevens, Ken Smith, Jimmy Grundell, John Parchiara, John Gaylard, Hans Schwidlewski, Ken Sherry, Chris Di Crescezo, Wally Hazewood and more.
The club has been very fortunate to have had amazing people putting in countless hours over its history and they have been awarded life membership: 1982, Pop Marriner; 1983, Reg Marriner, Stan Howard, Dave Scarsi; 1984, Vic Maurer; 1985, Harold Barley, John Windsor; 1991, Alex Maurer; 1992, Chris de Crescendo, Ray Aldridge, Tom Finning; 2000, Neil Freeman; 2007, Jack Griffin; 2010, Richard Buckwell Snr., Brian Long; 2011, Bill Mantova, Gil Wright, Val Bent, Len Bent; 2012, Joe Gulino, Paul Bird; 2013, Colin Hooper; 2015, Marcus Coppock; 2016, Ross West.
Over forty years, the club has encouraged competitive road cycling in the Greater Geelong & Surf Coast regions and promoted a healthy lifestyle for its members. A fun and positive attitude to road racing and personal health have been fostered along with an enjoyable social atmosphere.
The club continues to be recgonised for this ethos.
This Sunday, November 5, the club’s 40th Anniversary will be a wonderful day to celebrate the past and look forward to the future. The 63km handicap race starts at 10am and the barbecue and celebrations start at 1pm. Clubrooms are located at the corner of Hendy Main Roads and Grassdale Roads Paraparap.
All past or current members and families, please RSVP to geelongsurfco[email protected], or check the website www.gscc.net.au