August 6, 2017 – EUROPA W.A.R.S. round 7 – Windmill / Mt Beckworth, 55 km handicap

EUROPA W.A.R.S. – 6 August 2017

Winter Aggregate Race Series
round 7

Windmill / Mount Beckworth – 55 km, handicap

EVCC 2017 WARS rd 7 poster

The Winter’s Tale

Apollo’s angry, and the heavens themselves
Do strike at my injustice.
- Leontes

A group of enthusiastic riders assembled at the Eureka clubrooms on a true winters’ day.

The *planned Graded Scratch races were changed to a Handicap due to low numbers – which also meant that handicap points would be issued for round 7 of the W.A.R.S.

Would a new challenger emerge?
Or, would one of the high ranked riders seal the aggregate win with a dashing display?

Anything was possible and only the hardest, most committed riders (or riders who should be committed…) were about to ply their trade in the appalling conditions.
Some say it was the worst weather they had ever seen.  All agreed that it was one of their toughest days out on the bike.
West north west wind which brought the rain straight into the riders’ faces as they battled up towards the turnaround…but that’s not how the story started…

Terry Collie was the lone Limit rider – away at 25 minutes.  It wasn’t raining at the start of the race, yet Terry would be the first to see how his body held up in the “feels like” minus 4 degrees temperature.
At best, Terry’s blubber/fat protection is paper like.  Could he hold off long enough in his solo raid?

The formidable 15 minute group included last weeks’ GP Doug Garley victor Kevin Lee, as well as James Knipe, James Gretton and Roger McMillan who was still sporting the scars of his crash from the previous week.  The smart money was on this group providing the days’ winner.

At 10 minutes, Bob Morley had assembled an impressive unit who stood the best chance of upsetting the betting market.
Brian Ure has been getting stronger with each race, Mark O’Callaghan was fresh after a short break and Peter Livitsanis would be sheltering amongst the larger lads and barking instructions the whole while.

Second Scratch saw the return of Matt Ayres who was attempting to climb back to the top of the W.A.R.S. table.
Jeremy Humber would ride with Ayres.  He too was planning to reassert his control over the winter aggregate.  Their plans went awry when Humber flatted inside the first two kilometres, leaving Ayres to time trial his way around the circuit.

The lone Scratch rider was Tony Mirabella.  On paper the 3 minute gap to the Second Scratch riders looked tough – that was also the reality as Tony went into time trial mode and attempted to cross the gap.

The sleety rain came mid race – out front and Collie had already been claimed by Knipe and Lee.  They had lost Gretton to a puncture and McMillan had been left in their wake.

Knipe and Lee were making every post a winner and the Morley group were not making any inroads.  In fact, behind the leading duo the race was in stasis – Ayres wasn’t making any ground and neither was Mirabella.

At the turnaround Knipe and Lee were still commanding almost their entire five minute advantage over the Morley group.  Passing the chase bunch as the roared downhill and downwind the leading duo could almost be seen to break out in smiles, for victory beckoned.

And so it would pass that after a long battle in freezing conditions, the rain would cease let our warriors sprint in clearing conditions.
With the time gaps between groups seemingly suspended, Knipe and Lee turned into Donovans Road with a massive margin.

Down to the wire and our dynamic pair sprinted towards the soggy chequered flag with Knipe taking the win over Lee.
Almost four minutes behind, the chase bunch were now racing for the minor places.  Ure proved to be too strong in that battle, taking third ahead of O’Callaghan and Morley.
A few minutes later and Ayres came into view – completing his individual time trial and claiming Fastest Time.

Impressive rides all round and fantastic efforts by the marshals and officials who also braved the weather.

1st – James Knipe (15 min)
2nd – Kevin Lee (15 min)
3rd – Brian Ure (10 min)
4th – Bob Morley (10 min)
5th – Mark O’Callgahan (10 min)
Fastest Time – Matt Ayres (3min) in 1h 36m 10s ave. 34.2 kph

*Ironically, this race was originally a gazetted as a handicap when the 2017 racing calendar was created.
Then it was changed to Graded Scratch racing when EUREKA Cycling were given the honour of hosting the Road Race – State Championships.
The idea was that the local riders would get a chance to freshen up on their scratch racing skills before the Championships (also Graded Scratch races).

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EVCC 2017 WARS after 7 rounds

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