March 31, 2019 – Weatherboard – handicap, 60 Km

Dodgy Weather – 31 March 2019

Weatherboard handicap

Weatherboard circuit – 60 km

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“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
– J.K. Rowling

What appeared to be a bleak and horrid day, was actually not too bad.  Whilst light rain showers and a west southwest wind would be prevalent throughout the day, the wind chill factor was almost non existent, hence, conditions were rubbish, yet not horrible.

Eighteen keen cyclists signed on for the fray, knowing that the hit-out was all important for the Eureka Open the following Sunday.
The Club Champion – Craig Lee – was Handicapper on this day, he fielded unlimited excuses, complaints and general whinges before deciding upon the the final handicap.

The limit group comprised John Creek, Rob Young, Darryl Brown and Rob Kinna.  They set off at 24 minutes, with an eight minute gap to the next group on the road.
The 16 minute group saw Roger McMillan, Danny Whelan and James Gretton combined, for a short time at least.
Next away was the 7 minute group of Peter Canny, Jim Crumpler, Dean Wells (yes, we thought this was a typo as well) and new club member Mark Verberne.  On paper, this seemed like the winning bunch…
The 4 minute group hailed reigning Eureka Open winner – Rob Phillips – as well as Peter Gunston and Richard Taylor.  This bunch seemed destined for being collected by Scratch and forming a super group!
Scratch consisted of Greg Ley, Jason Hendry, Stuart Brien and Tony Mirabella.  Mirabella is on the comeback trail from an unfortunate ankle injury.  Wise heads would suggest an easier mark, yet Tony was having none of that!

Out on course and the bunches quickly realised their dreams to be smashed by the parcours and the wind.  No direction made for easy riding and the bunches started losing members in sync.  All except the 7 minute bunch who had found their rhythm and speed.
Scratch had lost Mirabella early, then caught the 4 minute bunch.  Brien, Hendry and Ley rotated as though the others didn’t exist.  Eventually the pace would prove too much for Phillips and Gunston, however Taylor held fast.

At the half way mark the 7 minute bunch started to encounter dropped riders from the groups ahead – none were able to hang on for a free ride.  Soon after they lost Crumpler, however he would later play a vital role for the bunch…

By this stage, Whelan was closing in on the lead – solo.  He had lost both Gretton and McMillan.  The leaders were in his sights.
Whelan against four others…it was almost unfair on the four…

Canny, Verberne and Wells ploughed on through the elements.  Their pace was even and deliberate.  They swept past the remaining Limit riders and quickly determined that Whelan was probably in the lead – solo.

Crumpler had played his final hand for his former 7 minute cohorts.  Swept up by the smoothly rotating Scratch bunch, Crumpler rotated through a few times at high speed.  The short disruption to their metronomic rotations eventually led to Brien losing contact with the Ley and Hendry.
*Note: Brien claimed a soft tyre…

The 7 minute group caught the lone leader – Whelan – who quickly locked onto the trio.  Just 18 kilometres remained in the race.  It was still a long way to the finish line…
The race outcome was down to just two groups.  Scratch versus the 7 minute group.  Whelan was the only rider remaining who could impact the outcome!

Final lap and the 7 minute bunch was full of confidence as they headed up Avenue Road.  They couldn’t see any chasers, however they still needed to drop Whelan.
Heading towards Weatherboard and Whelan rotated to the front and straight into the gutter.  The 7 minute men sat and bided their time.  They could afford to play their cards and they did, exploding past the gallant Whelan just before the run down to the chicane.
The race leaders were three – Canny, Verberne and Wells.

Wells led into the final corner and his rear wheel slipped on the wet tarmac.  Verberne suffered worse – he slipped and crashed!
Canny and Wells sat up for their comrade.  Verberne had already remounted and was waving the other two on.
Wells declared he wouldn’t take advantage of the move out to 7 minutes and Canny rode to the chequered flag unchallenged.  Verberne crossed in third place and one minute later the brilliant Whelan was fourth.
Another minute passed, then Ley and Hendry (also Taylor) crested the Hendersons Road hill and sprinted towards the finish line.  Hendry taking fifth and Fastest Time in a tight sprint.

1st – Peter Canny (7 mins)
2nd – Dean Wells (7 mins)
3rd – Mark Verberne (7 mins)
4th – Danny Whelan (16 mins)
5th – Jason Hendry (Scratch)
Fastest Time – Jason Hendry (Scratch) in 1h 38m ave. 37.5 Kph


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