June 3, 2018 – EUROPA cafe W.A.R.S. round 1 – graded racing, Mt Beckworth

EUROPA cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
3rd June 2018

W.A.R.S. – race 1
Graded Racing

Mount Beckworth – 54 km

EVCC 2018 WARS June poster

Let the WARS begin…

“Difficulties mastered, are opportunities won.”
– Winston Churchill

Round 1 of the EUROPA cafe 2018 W.A.R.S. started off with confusion as the club’s generals were missing in action…
The scheduled handicap race was turned into a graded division event.
No one was on hand to manage the kitchen.

It was pure chaos.

The calamity served to remind us that in W.A.R.S. there are no rules.

The troops rallied though!  The bugle was sounded and the reserve brigade came to the fore.  A plan was hatched and the combatants recovered from their initial shock.

And the races began…

Division 4

Division 4 headed out first and Graeme Parker led from the front.
Not even halfway through the first lap and Division 4 was entwined with the Division 3 race.  The combined divisions carried on regardless.
In the home straight and Parker weaved his way through the faltering Division 3 riders to claim a clear victory in Division 4.

Result:
1st – Graeme Parker

Division 3

Division 3 were out for a Sunday ride.  “No need to put ourselves deep in the hurt box” was possibly heard mentioned on the start line as riders introduced themselves.
Rob Parker was back and very pleased that the scheduled handicap had been changed into a graded race.
Steve Linane was also back. Linane has a liking for the W.A.R.S. and tends to win on debut each year – he was one to watch.
Jacqui Dawson improves with each race and targets every Open on the calendar.  Her efforts today were with a view to the long term.
Kevin Lee was also happy to have a reasonable hit out today, as he eyes off club trophy races over the winter months.
Rounding out the field was Phil McLennan.  Always one to watch, particularly because he likes riding off the front.

There were no shenanigans today and it seemed like a field sprint might decide the outcome.  McLennan, Linane and Dawson dragged the bunch over the last 7 kilometres with no complaints from the more experienced Parker and Lee.

Turning into Donovan’s Road and McLennan put the power down.  The bunch scrambled for his wheel, however Dawson was out the back and dropped.  Linane took up the pace into the head wind.
Then over the final rise the real games began.  The finish line was in sight and the players were all keeping their cards close, each waiting for the move…
McLennan blinked first.  His attack was the perfect lead out for Linane who had the desired sit.  Parker was in the prime spot on Linane’s wheel.
The finish line loomed, McLennan started to fade, Linane launched, Parker hit out…
But Linane was too strong in the sprint.

Results:
1st – Steve Linane
2nd – Rob Parker
3rd – Phil McLennan

Division 2

An even field stood on the start line with most of the chat wondering what Pete Canny was doing in Division 2.  Pete Canny was saying nothing.
The race started and Steve Biram took off and was quickly covered by the smooth pedalling Ralph Jones (aka James Gretton).  What they were hoping to achieve no one was too sure.  Anyway the chasing bunch didn’t panic and picked them up after five kms into the race after some strong turns by Danny Whelan, the aforementioned Canny and stand in Handicapper – Bob Morley.

Things rolled along with no surprises and nobody was willing to activate anything.  That was until the second lap when Canny cranked it up over Crick’s hill to see if anybody could be dislodged.  Nup, no one was dropped.
Things settled back down and then all were waiting to see what would happen at the uphill turnaround.  Gretton thought that the best idea was to be at the front of the hill at the start of the uphill grind to the turn around, hoping to be still in touch at the top.  Great idea in theory…. Reality (and gravity) hurts, so whilst the plan was solid, he ended up being shot out the back like a shanghai and his race was over.
The climb to the turnaround accounted for Roger McMillan as well.

Canny, Whelan and Morley led them into the turn and all were waiting for the downhill smash-fest that would split the group.  It didn’t happen.  The bunch regrouped, minus Gretton and McMillan.
Grant “Smokey” Dawson did a turn on the front for about five kilometres and seemed impervious to the head wind.  Ash Burke was on his wheel and everybody else was strung out behind.

Closing to the last few kilometres and it Looked like being a sprint finish – with the winner likely to come from a number of sources.  Things were starting to wind up in the home straight and the group had to wait for Division 1 to fly past and finish their race.

Dawson lit it up and there were riders left right and centre.
Mark O’ Callaghan looked good in his all black kit as he hit out down the outside of the road.
Jeremy Humber, astride a new bike fancied his chances and attacked, momentarily.
However it was the Division 1 escapee – Peter Canny – that cranked up his formidable sprint and headed for the flag.
James Knipe (after having used his noodle throughout the race) threatened to snatch to victory, however a shrewd “Saganesque” manouvre by Canny quickly snubbed that flicker of hope.
Canny winning from Knipe, with Morley getting over “the man in black” to take the third spot on the podium.

Results:
1st – Peter Canny
2nd – James Knipe
3rd – Bob Morley

Division 1

With no Tim Canny to compete against, they came from everywhere for the Division 1 race.  Actually the riders all thought it was going to be a handicap, so the fact that there was no Tim actually had a few riders confused about what might transpire.
Sam Edwards was out for a trial race.  His mere presence had most riders worried.  Tony Mirabella was coughing up a lung just before the start…but was that a ruse?  Jason Birch arrived with moments to spare, quickly assessed the field and knew he was in with a chance to come second again.

The eleven riders rolled out from the start and the pace was taken up by Dean Wells.  No “in the gutter” pressure, just an easy pace with plenty of room for everyone to shelter in the wheel.
Rob Ellis rolled through to assist with the pacemaking.  Robert doesn’t play fair though.  Robert likes to accelerate, then ease off, then accelerate again.  Robert plays hard!
Matt Ayres found a nice spot near the back of the bunch.  His turns stretched the group out, however he was conservative.
Greg Ley stayed close enough to cover any attacks – of which there were few.

Mirabella attacked on the first lap and was left dangling out the front.  The leaders quickly enforced on the group that no chasing was to be done.  The bunch complied and the message was clear – “If you go off the front, you will be hung out to dry”.
Mirabella was eventually allowed to rejoin the bunch.

Craig Lee was the next to try his luck.  The field worked as one to extinguish the risk.  Eventually, he too was brought back into the fold through Coghill’s Creek.
Everyone was wary of the StoreIT team.  Adorned in trademark blue and pink, the squad was hard to miss.  Lindsay Burgoyne sat close to the front, Peter Kiel sat mid-field and Tavis Baker brought up the tail.  Formidable.  Imposing.  Did they have a plan to hatch?

The climbing had begun and the pace with the tailwind ensured any attacks would be futile as the leaders continued with their “negative racing”.  Up the hill, through the turnaround, spread across and block the road.  No attacks today!

Ellis rolled to the front and kept everyone guessing.  Fast, ease off, fast, ease off.  Legs started hurting as the tactic had a concertina effect on the field.
An attack through Coghill’s Creek with Ellis, Burgoyne and Lee all getting off the front.  Birch followed, then the bunch regrouped.
Into Addington Road and the race went into the gutter…but still no one attacked.

Donovan’s Road and the pace was just high enough up the first rise to deter the would be attackers.  Over the top and Ellis again stretched the field and str-arted closing in on the Division 2 race.  Those riders wisely eased up to let Division 1 pass inside the final 500 metres as Ellis kept driving.

A head wind sprint would decide the day as Edwards launched early and out wide.  Birch followed, Lee was close and Kiel was right there.
Birch looked like getting the win, but Lee hit the afterburners and relegated him to second again.  Kiel closing fast to collect third place.

Results:
1st – Craig Lee
2nd – Jason Birch
3rd – Peter Kiel

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