EUROPA cafe and HOPSCOTCH cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
14th July 2019
Waubra – 42 Km handicap
LIVITSANIS – FIRST MAN
WHELAN SECOND – WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH
CLARKE FASTEST – SPEED TO BURN
CANNY BACK IN FORM – WINS RAFFLE
Strong winds almost thwarted the launch of race 4 in the 2019 Europa Cafe / Hopscotch Cafe Winter Aggregate Race Series.
Severe weather warnings had caused other clubs to abandon racing on this day, yet Eureka were free to fly after receiving race day approval from the local Highway Patrol.
T minus ten seconds, we are go for launch.
Six, five, ignition complete.
Three, two, one.
We have lift off!
Ground Control – Bill Goldfinch – set the Limit riders off at 9:30 AM. Kevin Lee was back for his first race in 2019, alongside Darryl Brown.
The slight downhill start helped the pair as they headed off into the strong cross headwind. At 22 minutes, they had a small advantage over the four man 17 minute group.
Peter Livitsanis, Dan Whelan, Brian Lee and Roger McMillan rolled up to the launch area. Fast decisions were made about how many layers should be stripped off before the race…not many clothes were discarded though. The temperature may have been 6.5 degrees, however the “feels like” temp was minus zero point six.
We have launch.
A long, long, ten minute wait until the largest group of the day was set off. The 7 minute group consisted of Bob Braszell, Jim Crumpler, Scott Keating, Wayne Klauss and Darryn Reed.
This looked a strong bunch on paper, with much firepower to spare! They also had a handy five minute to spare over the chopping block…
Recent good results by Second Scratch saw the handicapper take some of their advantage away – just a two minute buffer was enjoyed. The addition of Jason Hendry to the ranks was warmly received. Tony Mirabella, Greg Ley and Dean Wells made up the numbers.
The formidable Scratch group saw Craig Lee, Tim Canny and Shane Clarke.
Flight controller, we are all systems go!
Out on course, the Limit pair were battling away into the ever increasing wind. Kevin Lee was wondering why he had chosen today to make his return, whilst Brown was wondering “What fresh hell is this?”
The Whelan group (17 min) were making great time and closing fast. They had made little time on the leaders as they headed towards Addington, yet once the turn into the wind was made, they quickly stripped the gap away.
The Crumpler group (7 min) had opened a massive gap on Second Scratch as they rocketed down Edmonston Road. Upon turning into the jaws of the wind, they lost that advantage almost immediately.
For their part, Second Scratch had been struggling to find rhythm. Mirabella was out of sorts and the other three paddled until Hendry took the lead towards Addington. Scratch were bearing down quickly on them. They could almost reach out and tag Second Scratch as they climbed out of Addington. Over the crest and they soon had their prey…in just 9 kilometres!
Further up the road, Group Whelan took the race lead as they crossed the highpoint of the circuit (for the first time). The long downhill section beckoned, yet the wind made it a lot harder than normal.
Minutes later, Group Crumpler crossed the highpoint. The downhill section presented a great opportunity for the booster rockets to get flicked on…yet in the distance a new threat emerged. Scratch was over the steps near Waubra.
Canny, Clarke and Lee all swapping turns, with Wells, Hendry and Ley all hanging on for a free ride…
Whelan had control of his group. They had reached the turnaround at the Black Bottom Road intersection with a healthy margin over the chasers and were climbing before they saw anyone.
There goes a bunch…it isn’t Scratch.
Here comes another bunch…that is Scratch!
Quick calculation… we have four kilometres on them!
Crumpler’s 7 minute group are through the turnaround. They can see Scratch coming over the hill ahead. Looks like a big bunch!
Scratch pass through the turnaround with the passengers still onboard. Clarke and Canny pace themselves up the first part of the climb. The strong tail wind is literally throwing them uphill and making it too easy for everyone to hang on.
Into the treed section Canny flicks the boosters on. The speed is soon pushing 45 Kph… uphill! He has one aim – drop Hendry. The big fella represents too much of a threat! Hendry holds strong. Others can’t…
Wells is off the back, but he is in good company with a pair of Club Champions (Lee and Ley). The three quickly unite and start swapping turns.
Canny, Clarke and Hendry keep pulling away…
The three leaders aren’t losing any ground to the Crumpler group. In fact, as the road continues up, the three slight men are pulling further ahead.
They crest the highpoint still well ahead, however such is the ferocity of Canny & Co. the advantage has been halved to just 2 kilometres.
Once over the crest the tail wind is huge!
There will be some serious attempts at Strava KOMs on this day!
The Crumpler group is caught by the rampaging Scratchies on the climb. Reed and Keating hang on. The others can’t and Hendry is finally dropped.
A few hundred metres behind, Club Champion Lee has his men working well. They fly up the hill closing on the riders that Canny & Co. have left in their wake.
Canny and Clarke are over the highpoint. They can’t see anyone ahead. Group Whelan is already down the dip past Waubra. They are hidden from view! Heads down, they find another gear! Down the dip and there in the distance they finally see riders.
Group Whelan is through the sharp right hander at Addington. One minute later Canny & Co. take the same turn. The gap is just over one kilometre.
The three leaders are at the steep section, passing Harrison’s Road. Their lead is being whittled away with each pedal stroke.
Reed finally loses contact with Canny and Clarke. The pair of Scratch riders are free of all burden, yet the gap to the leaders has stopped closing… at about 250 metres.
Whelan, Livitsanis and Brian Lee crest the last rise on Edmonston Road. The road is smoother here and their speed increases yet again. Final turn.
The leaders are on the home straight! The tail wind is still huge. Their pace is above 50 Kph. Their lead is less than 200 metres.
Past the Avenue and down the dip. Up the other side. The three are eyeing each other off.
Whelan takes a quick look back. The chasers are almost upon them. “Here they come. We have to go now!”
Livitsanis senses trickery from the older rider, yet Whelan has exploded away for the line. It’s too early.
Livitsanis knows this race finish to the centimetre, yet his hand has been forced. He chases Whelan…
Canny and Clarke are pushing well over 60 Kph. They are closing fast. The line is coming up quick. They pass Brian Lee.
Whelan and Livitsanis are just ahead. Livitsanis now has the lead. The tree is very near…
Clarke has an extra surge. He misses. Livi WINS!
Just a bike length in it, from Whelan who is a wheel ahead of Clarke.
Canny next, then Lee. A short gap to Reed. Then a bunch as Hendry and Keating just hold off the fast finishing Lee, Ley and Wells.