EUROPA cafe and HOPSCOTCH cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
18th August 2019
Burrumbeet – 45 Km handicap
JAKKII – STORMS HOME
HENDRY – STORMS HOME
BACCHUS MARSH RIDERS – RIDERS ON THE STORM
Seven days earlier, the district resembled an Arendelle snowscape. On this day the sun peeked through the clouds and fourteen riders enjoyed mild spring like conditions on the Burrumbeet circuit.
With low competitor numbers in attendance, Eureka President Wells was worried that riders would not enjoy the scheduled Graded Points racing. A quick conference with VCV President Faulkner resulted in a “Double Presidential Decision” being made to change the event to handicap conditions.
This was not ideal for a race circuit just 6.5 kilometres in length and would likely see riders complete one lap (maybe even two) before others had started!
A lack of Handicappers available created a momentary dilemma.
No Livitsanis, no Lee, no Parker and no Morley – he had headed out to do corner marshal duties…
Presidents Wells and Faulkner agreed it couldn’t be too difficult to do a handicap, then spent all of 30 seconds planning the marks for the 52 kilometre race. Race Referee Goldfinch approved (between juggling his time as Head of Kitchen) then headed out to the start where he consulted with riders.
A decision was made to reduce the number of laps from eight to seven. This change reduced the race to 46 kilometres!
Jakkii Dawson and Darryl Brown rode off as the Limit riders at 24 minutes.
It was a long wait eight minute until the next group set off at 16 minutes. Roger McMillan joined the Lee brothers – Brian and Kevin.
Shaun Martin and Andrew Wilson rode off at 12 minutes. They anticipated a reasonably quick catch – they just didn’t know if they would be the catchers, or the catchees…
Brown and Dawson passed through the start/finish line before the next bunch set off. The pair were separated by almost 500 metres. In fact, they had blown apart in the first few hundred metres and unfortunately consigned themselves to individual time trials.
The six minute pair was Ash Burke and Wayne Klauss. Was the six minute chase too far? Was the four minute gap to the Second Scratch group too little? Time would tell.
Second Scratch saw Tony Mirabella and Dean Wells start an early preparation for the final round of the W.A.R.S. when they will be united yet again for the Team Time Trial (pencil that in Livi!). They enjoyed just a two minute buffer over the Scratch bunch.
If there was any doubt that there is another changing of the guard in motion at Eureka, the Scratch bunch confirmed it beyond doubt.
With not even two years under his belt and less than twenty Scratch appearances, Jason Hendry was the “old guard” in this group.
Dayne Pearce was the next most experienced. Dayne is one of just eight “30 to 35 year olds” who has joined Vets racing in Victoria since the recent rule change.
Jason Shipcott rounded out the bunch, at just his third outing with the club.
Back to the head of the race and Brown’s lead had stagnated due to Jakkii’s never say die attitude. Husband Brad reckoned she would be watching her power meter and ignoring everything else.
Second Scratch had been caught by Scratch less than 10 kilometres into the race. Hendry, Shipcott and Pearce doing track turns continued on their merry way, oblivious to Mirabella and Wells. As for the other groups, they were all practising for the Team Time Trial the following week as well. Can’t see anyone ahead, can’t see anyone behind!
We should probably make a special mention to today’s wind. From the north, the wind both hampered and helped as the short laps were ridden. The downwind Avenue Road section was fast – for everyone. The northward trip up Carpenter Road was tough with the headwind and uphill road. Henderson’s Road and Glue Pot Road, well the cross wind had some effect, but probably nothing race defining. Severe Weather warnings for wind were in place for districts to the north and west of Learmonth… yes it was windy!
Back to the race and excitement was building. Jakkii appeared to be slowly bridging the gap back to Brown. The other bunches were all closing on the leaders. Maybe this would go down to the wire?
The combined Scratch/Second Scratch group lost Wells along Glue Pot Road as he became unstuck (apologies for the Dad joke!). The Scratchies then put a lot of effort into dropping Mirabella, which was weird because they should have concentrated on actually winning the race…
Back up the road and Brown was still in front with two laps to go.
Jakkii was slowly closing. The Lee brothers and McMillan were still working well. Wilson and Martin actually had riders in view. Burke and Klauss agreed that the latter should probably power on alone.
The crowds (children brought along by their parents) were cheering wildly for the combatants. The enthusiasm was so infective that Wells decided he should watch from the sidelines and not miss this epic battle.
Bell lap, there goes Brown.
Here comes Jakkii. That gap is less than 300 metres! No one else in sight.
Hang on, here they come. It’s the Lee brothers (Brian + Kevin) and McMillan.
Martin and Wilson are right on their heels.
Here comes Klauss with Scratch just behind. Tony is still there.
Hey, here comes Ash.
The tension is building. Can Brown hang on? Will Jakkii make the catch?
Scratch are too far back. Surely they are only racing for Fastest Time!
The Lee brothers lose McMillan, but Wilson and Martin join in the chase. They can see Scratch closing fast. They can also see the head of the race.
The final turn into the home straight and Brown is still 100 metres ahead of Jakkii.
The red flag goes up! A car and a truck are bearing down on the intersection. The combined 12 and 16 minute groups slow up.
Green flag! All steam ahead, then whoosh, there goes Scratch.
The last climb and Brown is still well clear of Jakkii. He is pedalling squares and weaving all over the road as he crests the final rise.
Here comes Jakkii!
Here comes everyone else!
Brown wobbles towards the line. Jakkii is closing fast.
The pack behind has blown apart, yet some riders are flying home, including Hendry!
One hundred metres to go…
Jakkii flies past Brown and takes the win.
Hendry flashes home and grabs second place just ahead of Brown, then Shipcott and Mirabella.
Wow, what a finish.
What a marvellous handicapping effort.
What a great decision to make the race seven laps!
That result certainly changes the outlook of the 2019 W.A.R.S. Peter Livitsanis’ large lead has been ripped away and all eyes will be focussed on the Team Time Trial next week as he goes head to head with Jason Hendry.
Brian Ure, Jakkii Dawson, Darryn Reed, Bob Morley and Danny Whelan can all still make the Winter Aggregate Race Series podium… but this race is down to just two riders!!!
Special mention to VCV President John Faulkner for coming to check that everything is still going OK at his club. Also to Terry Collie and Michael Lynch who chose to spend Vietnam Veterans Day visiting Eureka Cycling. Michael was a medic in Vietnam and Terry was in a mortar team.
It is fifty years since Michael and Terry were sent to war.