July 22, 2018 – GP Doug Garley – handicap, Davenport Road

In honour of Doug – 22nd July 2018

GP Doug Garley

Davenport Road circuit – 43.5 km

EVCC2018 GP Doug Garley poster

15 kilometres of dirt!

Sixth edition proudly sponsored by ORR & Co. CYCLES

The sixth edition of the GP Doug Garley saw more dirt racing than ever before on the testing Davenport Road circuit.
An alteration to the start line meant that riders would encounter the unsealed Davenport Road less than two kilometres into the race.  Riders were set to tackle the two miles of unsealed road a total of four and a half times – dirt would account for over one third of the race distance!
The riders would cross the high point – on Saddleback Hill – five times!

Twenty riders attempted to warm up in the chilly breeze as spectators braved the conditions to cheer them on their way from outside the clubrooms.
The northerly wind was steady throughout and kept the “feels like” temperature hovering around 1 degree for the entire event.  The northerly also helped each group explode from the start line as they headed south towards Davenport Road.

Jacqui Dawson and Roger McMillan joined the 2017 victor – Kevin Lee – in the limit group which rode off at 15 minutes.  Swinging onto the unsealed road, the trio were pleasantly surprised to find the north wind was actually assisting them up the hill towards Avenue Road and they averaged over 29 Kph for the first dirt sector.

Five riders set off at 10 minutes.  Peter Livitsanis led his men – James Gretton, Bob Morley, Dan Whelan, Brian Ure – out fast.
Resplendent in a woollen jersey, Fifi was honouring Doug in the most fitting way.  Unfortunately, that was all she wrote for Pete, as he punctured as soon as the group turned onto the dirt road.
Down to four men, they quickly rallied and started working turns.  Morale was still high!
The bunch was dealt another blow however, as Whelan lost contact halfway through the first lap.

The six minute group looked the goods on paper and they were all ready to fire.  Grant Dawson, Jeremy Humber, James Knipe, Greg Nunn and Dan Crook were quickly into stride and went out hard.
Crook was out for his first race in a while, however his training sessions with Ure have kept him in fine fettle.  The others all had recent race form and it showed.  Good turns with fast averages through the sectors.

Second Scratch saw Greg Ley and Dean Wells joined by Jason Hendry and Mick Veal.
Veal saw the writing on the wall before the race even started and was wondering what exactly he had done to be placed onto the chopping block.
Away fast, the group were swapping turns before reaching the speed signs just one hundred metres down the road.  Onto the dirt and the pace was high, however dropping Veal was not in the plans, but that is just what they did.  With a mere two minute advantage at the start line, surely it was only a matter of time before Scratch would be breathing down their necks.

GPTempDownload

The Limit trio were halfway down Hendersons Road for the first time before Scratch departed the starting gates.  Craig Lee, Jason Birch and Peter Kiel made for a strong evenly matched bunch.
Birch was out to exorcise his memory of the 2017 GP Doug Garley where he was on the comeback from illness and suffered a flat on the first hectic lap.
The challenge was mighty…Limit was onto Davenport Road for the second time before Scratch had left it…  There was plenty of hope though, Scratch could see the “chopping block” up ahead – which is always a nice thing for the hunters!

Through the first lap and each group had made some ground on the bunch ahead.  They had all struggled in the wind, with most barely staying above 25 Kph on the north leg back towards the dirt.
Meanwhile, Livitsanis was enjoying the warmth of the heater from the motor vehicle he had been picked up in…

Lap two and the remnants of the 10 minute group were bearing down on Limit, taking hundreds of metres out of the advantage on the Hendersons Road leg alone.  The other bunches were not fairing as well – with each holding the immediate chasing bunch at bay.
Past the pig farm and Morley and Co. were almost close enough to touch Limit.  Steadily, steadily closing, they had their prey just after halfway – on the third ascent of Saddleback Hill.

Lap three and the field was slowly compressing.
In the lead bunch, Morley was keeping his troops marshaled and working hard.  McMillan had held on during the catch, but Dawson and Lee had been cast adrift to battle to the finish alone…Veal and Whelan both knew that feeling!
Scratch was breathing right down the neck of the 2 minute bunch, but the Ley group were not about to go down without a fight.

Receiving the bell as they crossed the highpoint for the fourth time, gave renewed enthusiasm to the 10 minute group.  Not that enthusiasm had been lacking, but now they sensed victory was theirs to lose.  The team had been strong thus far.  Ure never missing a beat, Gretton putting in big power efforts and Morley pushing them onwards, onwards.
The race wore on and the chasing bunches continued to close on their prey.  Hendry lost contact with the 2 minute group along the dirt, but Scratch and the 6 minute group were both still at full strength.

GPTempDownload (1)

The leaders were onto Avenue Road and Morley knew the bunch had to be thinned.  He rolled the dice and sped up.  Ure responded, but the effort dropped both Gretton and McMillan.  It was a risky play with eight kilometres remaining…
McMillan and Gretton are chasing hard. The wheels ahead are the lure.  The lure is winning…maybe not.
The downhill provides the extra boost the chasers need.  I can, I can…

Every group is on Hendersons Road.  The leaders are at the pig farm and Scratch are back at the dip, trailing by one thousand metres.  That gap can’t be bridged, however the 6 minute group is still five strong and not missing a beat.
Dawson is doing massive turns, Nunn, Knipe, Humber and Crook are matching him.  There is a glimmer of hope!

Back into the headwind for the final time and the two leaders are racing for the victory.  Swapping turns, they have broken the threadlike lifeline that McMillan and Gretton had clung to.  The danger is further back…
Or is it?
The 6 minute group has stalled in their chase.  The desperation of Morley and Ure has snuffed out the threat.

Morley and Ure are racing for the win.  They keep swapping turns to ensure the victory is theirs.  They are onto the dirt road and the gap is holding.
McMillan and Gretton are both in no mans land.  They fight too!  A podium position is up for grabs.
Scratch can’t win.  They are racing for fastest time.  Hendry has jumped aboard for a ride to the finish.

Somewhere behind, Dawson, Lee, Whelan and Veal are all battling the elements.  They are not racing for the win.  They are racing for pride.  They are racing for Doug.

The two leaders are closing to the final few hundred metres.  The dirt road kicks up.  They have raced brilliantly and it is a shame that only one will have his name upon the cobblestone trophy.
The 6 minute group are still closing on Gretton.  Crook flats out at this most inopportune time.  With that, the chase is over and they are racing for crumbs.

For Morley and Ure, the finish line is now in sight.  Morley has given his all.  Ure has taken a deep breath, counted to five, then hit hard.
He opens a space and wins.  Two riders, so gallant.
McMillan is the next to crest the hill.  He takes third in vengeance for his crash during this same race one year ago.
Gretton is up and over the hill in fourth place.
The 6 minute group fragment on the final climb and collect the final prizes.
Ley and Wells are next in view.  They have stayed clear of Scratch and have a sprint to the line.
Scratch are less than a minute further back and Birch edges clear to claim Fastest Time and put the demons of the previous year to bed.

The combatants gather at the finish and cheer on the 2017 victor – Kevin Lee – as he finishes.  A short wait for Whelan and Dawson.  A much longer wait for Veal…the winner back in 2014 and the man who gifted us the cobblestone trophy for this most important cycling race.

We hope we did Doug proud!

Results:
1st – Brian Ure (10 minutes)
2nd – Bob Morley (10 minutes)
3rd – Roger McMillan (15 minutes)
4th – James Gretton (10 minutes)
5th – Grant Dawson (6 minutes)
6th – Jeremy Humber (6 minutes)
7th – James Knipe (6 minutes)
Fastest Time: Jason Birch (Scratch) in 1h 13m, ave. 35.6 Kph

Photo: Brian Ure taking the win

IMG_1957Orr & Co CYCLES snip

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