August 31, 2015 – Eureka Open – 57 km – Mt. Misery

The 2015 Eureka Open has been run and won.  Geelong & Surf Coast CC have finally got their winner (after providing the runner-up in the Eureka Open three years in a row).
The country cycling clubs ruled the roost with only one prize (out of 13 prizes on offer) going to a city club.


(Photo – Finish line sprint finish)

Bravo to everyone who was able to make the starting line.  Out of the 93 riders entered, only seven failed to start on a day when conditions were gloomy.  It was a cold day, but the rain and drizzle stayed away for the duration of the race.
The course started and finished just south of the Club rooms and followed twisting-turning course that eventually went in every direction on the compass, to circumnavigate Mt.Misery anti-clockwise – for a race distance of just under 58 km.

Conditions for the 10AM start remained very cool with a light wind from the south.
The Limit riders had a forty minute start on Scratch – with eight groups in between.

2nd Limit quickly imploded as Megan Parnaby (Grampians) maintained a fearsome pace and dropped all bar one of her companions.  Only Ray Hodgson (Eureka) was able to stay with Meg, yet by the tiny hamlet of Addington Ray made a tactical decision to let Meg fly free.

The 20:30 group (4th bunch on the road) made good early progress and had made up the three minute gap to the group in front by the half way point of the race.  They then caught the remnants of 2nd Limit along Ercildoune Rd and appeared to have the race at their mercy as the groups chasing them behind were not making big enough inroads into their lead.

2nd Scratch enjoyed a 6 minute buffer over Scratch, however they failed to work smoothly early in the race.  The stronger riders took control of the bunch after the climb out of Addington.  20 kms into the race they had finally started to work smooth turns, but were now picking up riders who had been jettisoned by their own bunch.

Scratch set off at a blistering pace and had shed two of the nine starters by The Avenue of Honour.  One by one they fell off the back and by the climb out of Addington, Scratch had been reduced to just three riders…Trent Stevenson (Goulburn Vally), Ash Hall (Central) and Timshel Knoll-Miller (Warrnambool).
By eliminating the “main dangers” from the Scratch bunch, they had set themselves a monumental task in trying to win the race with so little (albeit impressive) firepower at their disposal.

As the race wore on and bunch by bunch imploded, one rider remained alone out in front – Megan Parnaby still making every post a winner – holding a few hundred metres advantage.  The chase bunch had Meg clearly in their sights as they raced down Hendersons Rd towards the final turn, but they didn’t want to close the gap too quickly.
Meg was eventually swept up at the small rise before the pig farm.

Turning into Windermere-Sulky Rd for the 2.8 km run to the finish the lead group had been whittled down to just 12 riders – however there were only ten prizes on offer.  In the sprint for the line Jamie Robinson (Geelong & Surf Coast) edged in front from Gerard Hickey (Colac) and Jane Clifton (Colac).
Fastest Time narrowly went to Trent Stevenson (Goulburn Valley) in a sprint finish with Timshel Knoll-Miller.  Trent crossed the line in 20th place and had only failed by two minutes to catch the entire field.
For host club Eureka, Barry Robinson (a relative of the winner, Jamie Robinson) was the best placed rider finishing a close 4th, with Terry Collie 6th and Robert Young 10th.

There were many stories from the day…

Noel Said travelled to Ballarat to compete in his first Open race…unfortunately the Eureka Open was being staged at Learmonth (not Ballarat) – some 20 kms out of Ballarat.
Noel got to the club rooms in time to register and get changed.  Noel made it to the start line in time, but had not pinned his race number on…so he made a mad dash back to the club rooms, then back to the start.
Noel eventually finished in 62nd position. We hope he continues to race in Opens in the future!

Greg Curnow competed in the Eastern Vets CC Graded Scratch races (at Learmonth) on Saturday, he had a very tough day at the office by all reports – getting dropped and left to ride the race by himself.
Even Greg wouldn’t have thought that things could get tougher at the Eureka Open…
Greg lasted (with his 23:30 min bunch) all of 50 metres before flatting.  Most riders would have welcomed the opportunity to say ‘oh well, I tried’, then retreated to a hot shower.  Not Greg though.  He set about repairing his flat tyre then restarted the bike race alone.
The 12:00 min bunch picked him up before the first turn and Greg tried to hang on.  Group after group dropped Greg and by the halfway point (turn into Black Bottom Rd) he was already a clear last with only the tail car for company.
Three riders abandoned the race on this day, not our Greg though!  He completed the race (83rd and last) 24 m 41 s behind the winner after virtually riding the race without a bunch.

Congratulations to Jamie, who is also the first Geelong & Surf Coast rider to win the Eureka Open.

1st – Jamie Robinson, Geelong & Surf Coast CC, (23.30 min) in 1h 44m 4s.  Average speed 33.42 kph
2nd – Gerard Hickey, Colac VCC, 23.30 min.
3rd – Jane Clifton, Colac VCC, 20.30 min.
4th – Barry Robinson, Eureka VCC, 20.30 min.
5th – Amanda Hosking, Geelong SCC, 20.30 min.
6th – Terry Collie, Eureka VCC, 20.30 min.
7th – Tina Stenos, Geelong SCC, 20.30 min.
8th – Jo O’Shaughnessy, Grampians VCC, 20.30 min.
9th – Tony Lloyd, Grampians VCC, 20.30 min.
10th – Robert Young, Eureka VCC, 23.30 min.

Fastest Time – Trent Stevenson, Goulburn VCC, (Scratch) in 1h 22m 34s.  Average speed 42.13 kph

Visiting Veteran Ride of the Day – Noel Said, Northern CC

Eureka Veteran Ride of the Day – Greg Curnow, Eureka VCC


(Photo – remnants of Scratch at 20 km)


(Photo – 2nd Scratch/6:00 min, at 30 km mark)

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