August 5, 2019 – Rocket Ascent – Paraparap, Interclub handicap, 61 Km

Interclub/ Combine – 4th August 2019

Rocket Ascent Hcp

Host: Geelong & Surf Coast CC

Gum Flats Rd, Pararaparap – 61 Km handicap

GSCC Rocket Ascent 2019 - slide

PARAPARAP DELIVERS – PERFECT RACING WEATHER
COLAC VETS – QUINELLA THE RACE
BROWN – LEADS HERD HOME
CLIFFORD – YOUNG GUN CLAIMS FASTEST TIME

Forty one riders contested the 5th edition of the Rocket Ascent in perfect racing weather.
Riders from Warrnambool, Colac, Eureka and of course Geelong, had converged on Paraparap, where the roads were dry and the temperature hovered around 10 degrees.
The out and back, down and up circuit provided plenty of opportunities to gauge other groups.  The barest of northerly breezes gently kissed the course, ensuring it would be a fast race…
some groups were pure speed from the start…

Eureka’s Graeme Parker set off as the lone Limit rider at 34 minutes.
Jakkii Dawson and Carolyn Hall (GSCC) were next away at 28 minutes.
A GSCC quartet at 24 minutes with Paul Bubb, Darren Richards, Paul Bird and Umberto Scolaro holding the fort.
One of the larger groups set off at 16 minutes.  Locals Chris Fenech, Rick Lambourn and Steve Barille played host to Warrnambool riders Laurie Paltridge and Clive Coomber, as well as Eureka’s Roger McMillan and Don Steward.
The Colac group at 12 minutes saw Nick Brown, Heather Hamling, Larry Nocera and Steve Hamling joined by GSCC’s David Lambourn and Eureka’s Andrew Wilson.
A small group at 10 minutes with Eureka’s Shaun Martin and Bob Braszell joined by GSCC rider Jesse Cropley.
Matt Angus was a lone Eureka rider amongst Team GSCC’s Daryl Suter, Nigel Pearson, Steve Douglas and Michael Hazeldine.
The Eureka Second Scratch group rode off at 3:30 with Tony Mirabella, Lindsay Burgoyne, Rick Calvert and Dean Wells joined by Colac’s Gavin O’Brien and GSCC’s Robbie Southern.

Appropriately, Scratch took off like rockets and had halved the gap to Second Scratch by the first U-turn (Forest Rd).
The seven strong bunch had been joined by GSCC’s Andrew Goodwin, who had self elevated himself from Second Scratch on the day.  David Newett, Brad Haskett and yongster Trent Clifford rounded out the home team, whilst Eureka added their top 3 riders in Craig Lee, Tim Canny and Jason Hendry to the mix.

GSCC winning bunch

Early in the race it was action aplenty!  The deceptively fast south leg on Forest Rd saw some groups lose riders before reaching the first U-turn.
The first climb up Gum Flats Road required measured efforts, however some bunches lost riders.

GSCC up and down
The untimely arrival of vehicles at intersections – with the subsequent red flags – disrupted groups and the violent accelerations saw more riders dropped.

GSCC uphill

Scratch had the 3:30 group in their sights as they headed north after the first ascent of Gum Flats.
For their part, Second Scratch had swept up the 7 minute group and were passing other bunches which had imploded.  Extraordinary efforts by Rob Southern halted the Scratch advance and a red flag at Larcombes Rd gave the chopping bunch some more breathing space.

Onto Nobles Rd and the Second Scratch riders were working overtime to stave off the Scratch riders.  Timely assistance from some of the 7 minute riders helped hold off the inevitable catch until the return leg on Nobles.

The head of the race was still well up the road and making every tree a winner as they raced back onto Forest Rd.  They still enjoyed a 3 kilometre advantage on the massive combined chase bunch.
Some 20 riders were part of that group which poured down the Larcombes Rd again, led by the Scratch men.
Then the red flag happened… A vehicle at the Larcombes/Forest Rd intersection brought the chase to a halt and restored some more valuable seconds for the leaders!

Onto Forest Road and the massive chase bunch quickly lines out as Canny, Wells, Newett and Clifford (to name a few) start swapping turns and ramping the pace up.  Riders are spat out the back early.
All the Scratch riders are rotating turns by the time the group starts to glimpse the lead vehicle in the distance – the rest just hang on for a free, yet hard tow.

Closing to the U-turn on Forest Rd, the (still large) Scratch led bunch sees the race leader heading in the opposite direction – towards Gum Flats Road.
It’s the Colac bunch in the lead!
Nick Brown, Heather Hamling, GSCC’s David Lambourn and Steve Barille from the 16 minute group.  They look like they have victory in the bag!

The chase bunch goes through the U-turn and notices the breeze has stiffened a little… or maybe it is just tired legs… nonetheless, the Scratch riders are still front and present leading the chase.

Time checks are noted from when the lead bunch was passed – they still have almost three minutes on Scratch!

The leaders turn onto Gum Flats Road.  They take the “neutral downhill section” at a controlled speed – no need to lose the race on a technicality!

The massive Scratch bunch swing off Forest Road.  They see the crowd which has been drawn to the finish line.  They too descend in a controlled manner… no passing… no advantages taken… by gee it is fast though!

GSCC chase bunch downhill

There goes the head of the race.
Four riders still in the lead.
Victory will be theirs.
Just the order to be determined.

The U-turn at the bottom sees the chase bunch line out again.  Scratch is at the front – all present and accounted for – Lee, Canny, Clifford, Newett, Hendry, Haskett, Goodwin.
Some riders dig deep to form a regrouping as the actual climb commences.  Wells, Burgoyne, Pearson and Douglas are also in the mix.
The rest are lost to the cause, they climb to the finish at their own pace.

The race leaders come into sight of the final rise in the road.
Brown edges ahead to take the win.  Lambourn second*, Heather Hamling and Barille next.

The Scratch riders are racing for Fastest Time and top ten positions.  Canny and Clifford mark each other.
The steep ten percent section sees Hendry almost out the back before he recovers and surges back through the pack.  The last step arrives and they start sprinting – Clifford proving fastest.

*Post race, a number of riders were informed that they had been disqualified out on course.
Finalised Top 20 race placings:
1st – Nick Brown (12 min), Colac
2nd – Heather Hamling (12 min), Colac
3rd – Steve Barille (16 min), GSCC
4th – Trent Clifford (Scratch), GSCC
5th – Tim Canny (Scratch), Team EUREKA
6th – Jason Hendry (Scratch), Team EUREKA
7th – Brad Haskett (Scratch), GSCC
8th – Andrew Goodwin (Scratch), GSCC
9th – Nigel Pearson (7 min), GSCC
10th – Steve Douglas (7 min), GSCC
11th – Craig Lee (Scratch), Team EUREKA
12th – Lindsay Burgoyne (3:30 min), Team EUREKA
13th – Dave Newett (Scratch), GSCC
14th – Dean Wells (3:30 min), Team EUREKA
15th – Rick Calvert (3:30 min), Team EUREKA
16th – Robbie Southern (3:30 min), GSCC
17th – Daryl Suter (7 min), GSCC
18th – Gavin O’Brien (3:30 min), Colac
19th – Tony Mirabella (3:30 min), Team EUREKA
20th – Chris Fenech (16 min), GSCC
Fastest Male – Trent Clifford (Scratch), GSCC in 1h 34m, ave. 39.6 Kph
Fastest Female – Heather Hamling (12 min), Colac in 1h 45m, ave. 35.5 Kph
QOM/KOM – first ascent Gum Flats Road:
34 min – Graeme Parker, Team EUREKA
28 min – Carolyn Hall, GSCC
24 min – Darren Richards, GSCC
16 min – Steve Barille, GSCC
12 min – David Lambourn, GSCC
10 min – Bob Brazell, Team EUREKA
7 min – Nigel Pearson, GSCC
3:30 min – Tony Mirabella, Team EUREKA
Scratch – Tim Canny, Team EUREKA

placings Rocket

GSCC Rocket Ascent 2019 - slide

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