January 27, 2019 – Burrumbeet – Kermesse, 51.5 Km

Season Opener – 27 February 2019

Kermesse

Burrumbeet – 51.5 km

gone-sketching-jamie

Blame it on Tony

“And suddenly you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

The EUREKA Cycling 2019 racing season started with a kermesse on a new circuit near Burrumbeet.
29 riders raced in four divisions, with results a mix of new and seasoned faces.
Eight laps of the undulating 6.4 Km circuit gave riders ample opportunities to attack in 51 kilometres of racing.
Most divisions ripped apart with the long uphill drag to the finish line (complete with headwind)
making everyone earn their post race cuppa – where tales of glory and misfortune were heard…

Division 1 

Nine riders faced the starter in a line up for the ages.  Unlike the other grades, no new faces, but uncertainty around the new course and the form that their competition would bring back from the summer “break”.
A neutral lap allowed a sighter of the new course, with Rob Phillips, Matt Bowman and Andrew Rushton doing the majority of the pace-making which was solid enough to bring Division 2 back to only a couple of hundred meters in front.

Once the race proper started, a pattern of sorts took place over the next four laps. ? Rob Ellis setting tempo with the occasional surge, while Rushton and Bowman attacked and Jason Birch and Craig Lee (united in their efforts) counter attacked.
The action was mainly over the first half of the course – the second half was a little more benign, although it included the gradual climb to the finish.  That climb was proving tough going into the moderate, but strengthening headwind.  The question before the start was where could you attack on this course?
The answer it seemed was “everywhere”.

It was toward the end of this tough start that the bunch lost Phillips and soon after Peter Gunston, who had seemingly got through the hard stuff and earned a spot into the last couple of laps.  Unfortunately, Gunston had run over something along the course and a slowly deflating tire ended his day.
It was also around this time that the race started to change pattern, with Jason Hendry taking over some of the bullocking work.  Richard Taylor had been riding a smart race up to this point, now he started closing down attacks and putting some pressure of his own on the front.
This extra power started to pick the overall pace up and claimed its next victim, with Bowman dropping off the back.  Birch took a look back and decided it was time to get rid of the always dangerous Bowman and the pace picked up again in the cross-winds down the avenue.

10 km to go, six riders left.  At this point, self-preservation or the desire to finally put the Division 2 bunch behind them (also, to maintain the natural pecking order) was enough to persuade Ellis to go to the front and head for home.  Would the hard pace would discourage any more attacks?

Ellis led through the final corner and was surprised to see the bunch had sat up.  Head down, he emptied the tank and stretched his lead out to fifty metres.
Birch, Lee and Hendry were stalking their prey before the inevitable sprint cresting the hill.
Birch and Lee had the race finish planned.  Lee leading Birch out and trying to drop Hendry.
The uphill headwind sprint was proving hard work.  Birch was able to hold his power and come up with the win over his lead out man Lee (who capitulated at exactly the correct moment).

Post race discussions centred around Birch’s consistent summer of training and Lee’s disappearance off the Strava training platform.

Division 1 (9 riders):
1st – Jason Birch
2nd – Craig Lee
3rd – Jason Hendry

Division 2

The largest field of the day belonged to Division 2 and included some trial riders and a new member.  All experienced racers, how would the event unfold?

After the neutral lap, the race plan was revealed as four training partners set about blowing the field apart.  Gradually, Craig Lightfoot, Ash Burke, Bob Braszell and Alan Cureton applied the blowtorch.
Early days, saw Tim Wright, Jeremy Humber, Mick Carter and Steve Linane in forward positions, whilst Tim Tyler, Noel Said and Mark O’Callaghan were slotted in comfortably as well.

Cureton fell foul to a flat tyre just two laps in.  The climbing and crosswinds quickly started to take their toll and the field stretched then started to crumble.

Halfway through the race and just six remained at the head of the field, the others trying to hold together as a bunch before finally being strewn around the circuit…
Lightfoot, Braszell, Burke and Humber eventually cast off Wright and Carter.

Two laps remain when Lightfoot observes that they are being hunted by a group of discarded riders.
A pact is discussed – keep working, share the prize money.
The gap is closing on the leaders, Lightfoot calls they are just 500 metres behind.  Keep working!
Will all their hard work be lost?

The chase bunch gets closer to the four leaders who are getting quite desperate as they climb the hill for the bell…
Whoosh, there goes Division 1…oops!
Burke correctly chastises Lightfoot, who by this stage has blown himself up and can barely hang on to the other three.

Home straight – Burke and Braszell are wary of the canny Humber as they approach the climb.  Humber has track speed to burn.
Over the crest and Burke launches early which splits Braszell off.  Humber is quickly onto Burke’s wheel though and the result is a formality.

Division 2 (11 riders):
1st – Jeremy Humber
2nd – Ash Burke
3rd – Bob Braszell

Division 3 

In just his third season, Phil McLennan was the seasoned rider in an interesting grade.
2018 sensation – Jakkii Dawson – was among the numbers, along with three new members all lining up for their first race with Eureka.
Matthew Angus gave the others a bit of a head start at the line and spent the first half of the neutral lap chasing them.
Non-relations Geoff Martin and Shaun Martin made up the field.

The pace lifted after the neutral lap with most of the riders swapping turns.  On the climb Geoff lifted the pace again to test everyone’s legs.  The field spread apart, then regrouped on the downhill section along the Avenue.
This tactic continued through the next few laps and eventually led to the new members breaking away and leaving McLennan and Dawson to both wonder who invited those guys along.

Whilst the “old campaigners” settled down into individual time trials, the three amigos up front were swapping turns and having a blast – all great practise for when they are off the same mark in handicap…

With just the finishing order to be decided, the kid gloves were off during the final laps and the race began in earnest.
Coming up to receive the bell and Shaun got off the front – though he soon had Division 1 tacking on for a free ride.
Not to be outdone, Matthew and Geoff were towing the Division 2 leaders along.

Actually there were so many riders congregated together it was difficult to work out which division was being naughty and which division was being nice.

The final lap saw a shake down and the two Martins were suddenly free and able to watch each other.
Angus, Dawson and McLennan were still chasing, however their battles were of an individual nature.

To the final straight and one last time up the hill.  The two Martins being cagey with each other.  No attack on the hill, just a long sprint on the dead flat.
Head to head all the way to the line with just a half wheel separating them at the end.

Division 3 (5 riders):
1st – Geoff Martin
2nd – Shaun Martin
3rd – Matthew Angus

Division 4 

An eventful race even before it started, with Graeme Parker puncturing on the way to the start line.  A quick repair and a lift from Ian Nunn saw Graeme take his place.
Soon enough they were away on their neutral lap.

Contenders on this day included Mal Rock, who plans to race himself into fitness after limited racing the past few seasons.  Five laps shouldn’t be too difficult…actually it’s eight Mal…
Brad Eppingstall was also back for a rare race along with Robert Young who missed a lot of riding last season.
New member – winner of the Commodores Cup in the last race of 2018 – Emma Goodall was also lining up for just her second ever road race.

Neutral lap out of the way and Emma was soon on the front, then a little bit off the front, then a long way off the front.
In triathlete mode, Emma had blown the field apart.

Graeme was chasing Emma, Robert was chasing Graeme, Brad was chasing Robert, Mal was chasing Brad.  At times Emma may have even been chasing Mal, such was the spread of the field.

Past midway in the race and Emma had a sizeable gap.  Could she take this all the way?
Graeme and Robert had united in the chase of the newbie.  Brad and Mal were still in their own time trials…

Disaster for Emma as a flat tyre ruins her winning chance.  A quick repair and she is back into time trial mode, albeit at the rear of the field.

Bell lap and Graeme is getting over the hill quite well.  He has a small break on Robert.  Brad comes through, then Mal who pulls up and is quite happy with seven laps of that difficult circuit, Emma is close behind.

Over the hill the final time and Graeme takes a comfortable win, with Robert not too far behind.

Division 4 (5 riders):
1st – Graeme Parker
2nd – Robert Young
3rd – Brad Eppingstall
Schwinn cartoon

 

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