June 16, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 2 – handicap, Ercildoune

EUROPA cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
16th June 2018

W.A.R.S. – race 2
Handicap

Ercildoune – 46 km

Saving James - poster

Lost in No Mans Land…

“Ever tried.
Ever failed.
No matter.
Try again.
Fail again.
Fail better.”
– Samuel Beckett

July 2017 Eureka Cycling club rooms
Committee Meeting…
D – ‘We have a proposal before us to consider staging some Saturday races during winter’
T – ‘It couldn’t be this year. We already have our permits.’
D – ‘The plan would be to do it in 2018. The two Saturdays either side of winter solstice.’
M – ‘Why would we want to do that?’
D – ‘Try something different. Ballarat Sebas haven’t been racing during winter. Great opportunity to attract new members. The races would start later in the day. Hopefully to avoid fog.’
P – ‘Okay, who is in favour of trialling Saturday races in the middle of June?’
The motion is passed…

Saturday 16th June, 2018

The forward planning from one year ago has proven fruitful.
As other cycling clubs abandon their scheduled races for the Sunday, the Eureka members prepare to race on Saturday afternoon.
A testing handicap race on the Ercildoune circuit.  A stiff head wind for the first seventeen kilometres.  Some relief after that point as the race turns away from the west. Nineteen riders warm up in cool, yet sunny conditions.

The small window when the race is held will be the warmest part of the whole weekend, however the riders are bracing themselves for the cold that the wind brings as it sweeps across the plains.

Graeme Parker surges away from the start line – the lone Limit rider.  His belief was that this day was for the Scratch riders.
From his 25 minute mark, Parker hopes to survive off the front until at least Black Bottom Road.


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At eighteen minutes Terry Collie led away a small group including Jacqui Dawson and the Lee brothers – Brian and Kevin.  With a large group just four minutes behind, this bunch would need to work well to conserve as much energy as possible for the inevitable catch.

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The largest group of the day rode off at fourteen minutes.  Danny Whelan, Peter Livitsanis, James Knipe, Jeremy Humber, James Gretton and Roger McMillan.  With so much available firepower, this bunch favoured themselves for the win.
The key to victory would be using their strength in numbers and rotating into the wind.  If they could hold a few minutes margin by the high point of the race – Mount Misery – they stood a good chance staying clear.  Rounding up the out-markers would be a mere formality.

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Former Club Champion Greg Ley, led the five minute group and a formidable group it was.  Matthew Ayres and Grant Dawson are more than capable of smashing out big turns.  Joining the bunch was Jason Hendry who has been impressing with every race.

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The Second Scratch trio had just one minute to spare over the lone Scratch rider – Tim Canny.  How long could they hold the Club Champion at bay?
Tony Mirabella, Peter Kiel and Craig Lee are strong, but would they take it easy to allow Canny to catch them early?

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Out on course and the windchill started to take its toll early.  Another factor not to be dismissed was the later start time.  Had the riders fueled correctly?  What of the rain showers?  They were short, yet they brought more cold and the temperature plummeted!  So many questions and they were about to be answered…

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Collie and company had Parker in their sights as they headed west past Ercildoune.  However, they were in the crosshairs of the large 14 minute group, which by now had lost McMillan from their number.
A similar story for the 5 minute group, with Dawson off the back.  Canny had latched onto the 1 minute group inside the first eight kilometres, rolled straight to the front and had the team working well.
Along Black Bottom Road there was a reprieve for all as the wind was now a cross tail.

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At halfway Scratch was still trailing Ley, Ayres and Hendry by two minutes.  The race lead was many more minutes ahead with the 14 minute group already heading east along Beaufort-Waubra Road.  The tail breeze threw them up the early rises as they swept aside the out-markers.  Knipe had lost contact with the group and went on to miss the turn, yet they still had strong riders who now smelled a victory in the offing.  They had also picked up Brian Lee.  He alone had been able to hold on as the 18 minute group was caught on the climb.

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With the whole field – well, except for James Knipe – racing up Mount Misery from the west and a glorious tail wind, now was the time to push even harder.  The extra efforts in the cold saw splits in the bunches – Ley and Hendry lost Ayres, Scratch lost Craig Lee and the leaders lost Gretton to gravity.

Rain showers started being more frequent as the race turned at Addington.  Four riders charged up the Edmonstons Road climb – Livitsanis, Humber, Whelan and Brian Lee.  They had a large gap over Kevin Lee.  Caught in a rain shower at Addington – Terry Collie and Jacqui Dawson were next with James Gretton and Graeme Parker following.
Jason Hendry and Greg Ley came through Addington a bit too hot.  Ley went down as the grip between tyre and tarmac gave way.  Scratch were next through the corner, with Matt Ayres joining them.

Four riders were still clear as they turned onto Weatherboard Road and headed for the finish line at the big tree.  Easy through the turn, then “What the?” as they charge past the Avenue of Honour and see the club Media herding a horse…

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The last few hundred metres are with a tailwind and Peter Livitsanis has this finish down to the millimetre, Jeremy Humber knows he has the fastest sprint, Brian Lee is just happy to be here and Dan Whelan knows he has no hope.
The line looms large, Livitsanis waits and waits, he goes, but Humber goes faster gets the win. Brian Lee grabs third ahead of Whelan.
Tim Canny finishes tenth, takes Fastest Time and a swag of Strava KOMs!
The rest come in a stragglers…well, not everyone.  Grant Dawson also missed a turn and came home via a new route.  Then there was James.  He was missing!
Back at the club rooms and the club Media finally arrives after capturing the loose standard bred horse and handing it over to the local policeman.
James Knipe has not returned though… Out goes the search party.  They drive west, south, north and east.  They lap the race circuit and they drive off route.
Eventually, they find James.  James is safe.  James is well.

Results:
1st – Jeremy Humber (14 minutes)
2nd – Peter Livitsanis (14 minutes)
3rd – Brian Lee (18 minutes)
4th – Danny Whelan (14 minutes)
5th – Kevin Lee (18 minutes)
Fastest Time – Tim Canny (Scratch) in 1h 11m, ave. 38.3 kph

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