June 2, 2019 – W.A.R.S. race 1 – Mt Beckworth handicap, 55 Km

EUROPA cafe and HOPSCOTCH cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series

Race 1

2nd June 2019

Mount Beckworth – 55 Km handicap

 2019 WARS version 2 poster

“Winter is coming”
numerous characters – Game Of Thrones

This year, Europa is joined by sister cafe – Hopscotch – in presenting the Winter Aggregate Race Series

Eight (non-trophy) races during the winter months will decide the eventual aggregate podium.
Three handicap races, four graded division races and the famous Team Time Trial make up the 2019 series.

It promised to be action aplenty from the very first race…
There was plenty of low lying cloud around for race 1 of the 2019 W.A.R.S.  The day was very cool, yet barely a breeze was felt as the riders warmed up before the event – the 55 kilometre Mount Beckworth handicap.
A special prize was also being raced for on this day…at least by those who qualified.  One of Eureka’s members – James Gretton – is heading overseas on an adventure, which may last forever.  James particularly despised the hill climbing races, so with his blessing we introduced the Ralph Jones Award.
Ralph Jones was James’ cycling nickname, which came about by people getting his name wrong…a lot!

Back to the race…

The Limit riders headed off with a handy 22 minute start on the cobbled together Scratch bunch.  Jakkii Dawson, Laura White and Darryl Brown rode off into the mist, hoping they would be shielded from the chasers.

2019 wars 1 - Limit

The next group to head out was the second most winningest bunch over the past few years. *Tim Canny is the most winningest bunch…
Race Referee – Terry Collie – set the 14 minute group on their way and Bob “Muncher” Morley rode off the start line like he’d stolen something.  He was determined to set expectations early!
Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis groaned – he was hoping to warm up a bit slower before going into the red.  Roger McMillan was looking resplendent in his Giro synchronised pink jersey, Danny “Fidel” Whelan and a pair of youngsters completed the group.  Dan Crook was back…calves as big as footballs before the start, he had casually discussed race tactics with Brian Ure, both guys towering over the four more diminutive riders….
With nearly every club trophy to their name, these six guys have pretty much won it all and on this day, they planned to make a good start on their 2019 W.A.R.S. ambitions.

2019 wars 1 - 14 min

The group at 7 minutes were keen on their chances considering the firepower they had on hand – Bob Braszell, Jeremy Humber, Scott Keating, Mark O’Callaghan and Darryn Reed.  Sure they had seven minutes to make up on the bunch ahead, however the group behind only consisted of three riders.  They planned to make the numerical advantage work for them.

2019 wars 1 - 7 min

Second Scratch rode off 4 minutes. Jim Crumpler, Rob Phillips and Peter Gunston created a formidable group, yet they severely lacked in numbers and planned to hitch a ride with Scratch at some stage.

2019 wars 1 - 4 min

Scratch was cobbled together with pretty much anyone who walked in and said they’d give it a go.  Jason Hendry, Tony Mirabella and Stu Brien were the true Scratchies, with Rick Calvert and Dean Wells both thrown in to make up numbers.  The group still exuded a lot of confidence on the line.  That confidence started to diminish when it took nearly half the race just to rope in Second Scratch…

2019 wars 1 - Scratch

Well up the road, the 14 minute group had been making great time on Limit.  Rolling turns, with Ure and Crook both providing solid efforts.  Whelan was racing more subdued – he didn’t feel obliged to sit on the front all the time…
Heading out through Coghill’s Creek, the bunch dropped McMillan off at the church.  Pink jersey or not, he wasn’t the protected rider on this day!
By this time, the limit bunch had come into view.  Ure and Livitsanis accelerated the bunch to ramming speed, “repel all boarders” was the order as they descended on Limit.  Jakkii and Laura were caught out, however Brown hooked onto the back, to suffer a bit more before being dispatched later.

The hill to the turn around was conquered at a gentlemanly pace, everyone knowing that keeping the bunch together was the only way to win the race.  However once around the traffic cone, the gentlemanly pace was disturbed by Morley as he hit out hard, to get the group back up to speed quickly.
They hurtled – gasping all the way – down the hill past the chasing groups.

Those chasing groups realise that this will not be their day.  The leaders have a massive advantage and with barely any wind about Mother Nature won’t have a say in the outcome.
The groups drop weaker riders, however Scratch catches the 7 minute group and a mega bunch (of sorts) forms.

The leaders hadn’t returned to the Windmill circuit before the games started.  A soft pedal here, a soft pedal there.  Some stern words explaining that they weren’t home yet, succeeded in shaming the soft pedallers back into action… if only until Donovan’s Road.

With no sight of the chasers, the rolling turns had ceased and the games had started in earnest with less than 3 kilometres remaining.  Ure and Crook were cooking something up and it wasn’t long before the rest found out what was on the menu!

Crook attacks at the top of the last rise and pulls out fifteen metres.  He is going away.  Livitsanis sets off but doesn’t have the power to close, he waves his elbow like a dying swan – Morley takes over and turns himself inside out to get across, dragging everyone else with him…including Ure who could hardly contain his glee.

Morley makes the bridge, things settle for 30 seconds, then Ure attacks.
Livitsanis likes chasing things and sets off again.
Morley has burned his matches.
Whelan starts his wind up…which takes for ever to work up to sprint speed.
Crook is just laughing as his training mate – Ure – is clear and crosses for the win.

Almost two minutes later the big bunch races to the finish line with the remaining Scratch riders sprinting for (hopefully) Fastest Time.  Hendry packs too many guns and holds Brien at bay.

Race results:
1st – Brian Ure (14 min)
2nd – Peter Livitsanis (14 min)
3rd – Bob Morley (14 min)
4th – Dan Whelan (14 min)
5th – Dan Crook (14 min)
Fastest Time – Jason Hendry (Scratch) 1h 24m 30s, ave. 39 Kph



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