April 28, 2019 – Rising Sun Trophy – handicap, 56 Km

In Their Honour – 28th April 2019

Rising Sun Trophy

Windmill circuit – 56 Km handicap

Rising Sun Trophy 2019

The autumn classic

The mettle that a race can show
  Is proved with shot and steel,
And now we know what nations know
  And feel what nations feel.

A.B. “Banjo” Paterson

The 2019 edition of the Rising Sun Trophy was the first time that the current Club Champion – Craig Lee or his predecessor – Tim Canny, have competed in the classic.  Together, they wrote another piece of cycling folklore for the event which honours all those who served their country during peacetime and conflict.

The dry “paddock like” Lake Learmonth was both wind and rainswept on the morning of the race.  It was enough to deter many from making the trip out to race the three laps of Windmill with a “Wall” finish.  The cold was enough to make those present at Lake Learmonth question their dedication and yet, a hearty field of twenty five eventually signed on to race.

Emerging from the change rooms, the riders were stunned to find that blue sky was visible and the sun was warm.  The wind was still present and the cloud cover had returned by the time the riders had arrived at the start line at the top of Donovan’s Road.  Extra layers were quickly removed as the riders realised that it wasn’t “all that cold” after all.

The two Limit riders rode off at 25 minutes.  Robert Young joined Graeme Parker – who had brought out his “steelie” to race.  Parker (Rising Sun winner in 2017) decided that such a race deserved to feature such a piece of art – a magnificent blue bicycle it is!

At 18 minutes James “Ralph Jones” Gretton and Darryl Brown rode off into the cross head wind.  This was not a day to be in a small group!

Bob Morley (2018 Club Aggregate winner) led the 15 minute group out.  Brian Ure is on the long road back to race fitness.  Much travelling and little riding does not make a good combination…  Peter Livitsanis was hoping his handicap marks would stand strong – yet who can tell when it is so windy?
Roger McMillan filled the final slot in the group.  Fresh from his recent Benghazi placing and the Australian Championships at Maryborough, McMillan hoped he could deliver one more time in this long 9 days of racing.

One of the larger groups in the field, rode off at 7 minutes.  Our regular visitor from Northern Cycling – Noel Said – was back to try and improve on his 3rd place in the 2018 Rising Sun.  Mark Verbene, Shaun Martin and Ash Burke loomed as the engines in the bunch, along with Matt Angus who was also backing up after Maryborough and the Benghazi.

An impressive group at 4 minutes, with Rob Phillips (Rising Sun winner in 2016) also bringing his “old bike” out to race – however this was due to mechanical issues with his current racing steed and not as a nod to history.  Tony Mirabella had finally relented to a move out as he slowly returns to full fitness after injury.  Western Australian strongman Darryn Reed and the Cycling God – Rick Calvert – added extra power to the super group.

Riding off just 1 minute, today the Second Scratch would be the ultimate chopping block.  With five more than capable riders, they would attempt to hold off the Scratch men for as long as possible.  Stu Brien has been in ultra impressive form during 2019.  Peter Kiel was in for the fray, as was Richard Taylor – yet another backing up from both Maryborough and the Benghazi.  Dean Wells was back in the fold and the bunch welcomed Paul Tabbitt aboard.

Just three riders in Scratch. Tim Canny, Craig Lee and Rob Ellis.  Today they would come out hunting…

Out on course the wind was taking its toll on the groups.  The cross headwind down Donovan’s Road, meant the riders had already been smacked in the face just 500 metres into the race.  Combined with the bouncy roads, it was hard to get rhythm and the early challenge would ultimately end the chances of most.

Scratch were in another dimension.  They stormed up the first rise and already had the 1 minute group in their sights.  Ellis was already in chase mode, having suffered a mechanical as Lee and Canny flew the gate.  He latched on and joined in rotations, they soon had their first catch of the day – racing past the quarry just eight kilometres into the race.
The chopping block men jumped on, yet quarry hill proved a tough obstacle and Tabbitt was lost to the huge acceleration when they turned onto Coghill’s Creek Road.  Canny, Lee and Ellis kept the pace high, whilst the others merely tried to hold wheels.

The groups ahead were fracturing as they started the second Windmill lap.  The Scratch/Second Scratch bunch was still seven strong, however by this time only Canny and Lee were doing the driving.  Occasional efforts from Brien, Ellis, Kiel and Wells gave the barest relief to the two Champions.
Individual riders were passed as Canny and Lee drove the echelon up the rise again.  The narrow road made positioning that much important and anyone further back than fifth wheel struggled.

The four minute group had held together as one, yet Canny hit them so hard it was a wonder that they could even latch on.  They merely replaced Ellis and Taylor who had both been victims of the tiny sliver of tarmac.
More individual riders were passed as Canny and Lee zeroed in on their next target.

Back onto Learmonth-Sulky Road and the tail wind provided little relief for those clinging to the Canny and Lee train.  Brien jumped in rotations and the pace was so fast that one by one the passengers were dispatched.

Ahead were the 7 minute survivors – Burke, Angus and Verbene.  They exploded on the climb past the quarry and provided easy pickings for Scratch – although Angus was able to jump aboard.

The constantly high pace by Canny and Lee started to shake riders as they raced towards the start of lap three.  Back onto Donovan’s Road and the pace dropped enough so that Wells could contribute to the pacemaking.
The out markers were being passed frequently, yet Morley was able to jump aboard with ease.  The race lead was attained just after turning out of Donovan’s Road.  Young and Parker had stayed clear until that point.

Some sixteen kilometres still remained in what had become a procession.  Again the pace eased.  Canny and Lee still doing the bulk of the work, with Wells involved.  Calvert, Mirabella, Morley and Angus the only other riders still aboard.

Past Blowhard and Canny decided now was the time to split the bunch.  He launched on the hill, Lee followed.  Calvert, Wells and Mirabella missed the party.  Morley and Angus were evicted.

Towards the wall and the two youngsters have the race between them.  The gap back to Wells and Co. is increasing, they do enough to ensure they will collect 3rd to 5th.

Onto the Wall and Canny makes his move halfway up the climb.  Lee can’t follow the acceleration.  He has been more than brave, yet this day will belong to Canny.

The climb is finally crested and Canny takes the win and Fastest Time by 30 seconds over Lee.
Some minutes later and Mirabella races to third place after clearing away with Calvert on the climb up the Wall.
Wells crosses in fifth, then riders come at intervals with Angus, Morley, Brien, Burke and Ellis all making the top 10 in yet another epic autumn classic.

Results:
1st – Tim Canny (Scratch)
2nd – Craig Lee (Scratch)
3rd – Tony Mirabella (4 mins)
4th – Rick Calvert (4 mins)
5th – Dean Wells (1 min)
Fastest Time – Tim Canny (Scratch) in 1h 26m 30s, ave. 38.9 Kph  

 EVCC mur de Learmonth 2019

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