EUROPA cafe and HOPSCOTCH cafe
Winter Aggregate Race Series
16th June 2019
Mount Ercildoune – 45 Km graded divisions
“And some places you been before are so great that you don’t mind going back.
Some places you been before you don’t ever want to go back, like Montreal in the winter.”
– Morgan Freeman
This year, Europa is joined by sister cafe – Hopscotch – in presenting the Winter Aggregate Race Series
Eight (non-trophy) races during the winter months will decide the eventual aggregate podium.
Three handicap races, four graded division races and the famous Team Time Trial make up the 2019 series.
Division 4 – through the eyes of Terry Collie
Race report from the other end of the alphabet.
“5,4,3,2,1, go .. and it’s on push down with the right foot, then the left, then right, then left again and simply repeat the process thousands of times, simples Sergei”.
The only problem is the other riders are doing the same thing!
Darryl Brown, Laura White, Jakkii Dawson, Brian Lee and Terry Collie appeared to be fairly evenly matched and most of the race was spent swapping turns.
Drama mid race, when Brown, all of a sudden wasn’t there! He’d forgotten the last minute visit and had to stop for a nature break – behind a suitable bush we hope…
Into the climbing part of the race and Lee is looking ominous just pedalling away on a lower gear than everybody else (note: check Brian’s bike next time – suspect he has a 40 tooth BIG chainwheel).
Then… what the?! Brown is back and off the front and we can’t catch him. He is away and gone.
The others are racing for second.
Into Edmonston Road and Brown is still up front, as the rest work up the hill half expecting an attack from Lee – which does not eventuate – he must be as tired as we are.
Brown had crossed the line and awaits the place getters.
The four line up for a sprint, with no-one keen to hit the front. Collie, ever the gentleman says “I’ll lead you out” and ups the tempo.
The others won’t come past, the line is drawing closer. Dawson can be heard as she makes every effort to get to the front – maybe they couldn’t come past?
Post race, it transpires that Brown had caught the referee’s eye at the wrong time and had been relegated – so everyone moves up a spot.
A good solid ride from everybody.
1st – Terry Collie
2nd – Jakkii Dawson
3rd – Laura White
Division 33 – as summarised by Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis
33 years between oldest and youngest, 33 cm between tallest and shortest and 33 Kph average speed.
Two new riders – Tim Sinclair (couldn’t wipe the grin off his face all race), and Andrew Wilson (very tall, very strong, very green).
Peter “Fifi” Livitsanis took off from the gun and had them strung out around the right hander into Ercildoune Road, Brian Ure quickly alongside and the pair got a small gap. Bob Morley and Danny Whelan dutifully bridged to the leaders, with race favourite Steve Linane and Sinclair sitting in – because one of them knew what he was doing and the other was enjoying the scenery.
The pattern repeated a few times along Ercildoune Road with either Wilson or Ure animating the race and one of the old guys bringing it back together.
With Mount Misery looming, the attacks halted while the riders took a breath and regrouped. Just before the hill Linane punctured and waved goodbye.
Onto the hill and the old hands set a tempo to discourage attacks, this worked mostly with only Wilson keen to press every now and then. The inevitable acceleration towards the top and the downhill drag race to the Addington corner with everyone (except Linane) still gruppo compacto.
Turn at Addington, downwind and uphill – just how Fifi likes it. He gradually winds up the pace until everyone is strung out. Over the rise and downhill to Weatherboard Road, Fifi continues to increase the pace – everyone else content enough to sit in the wheels and wait for the final sprint.
Turn into Weatherboard Road and Wilson guns it again, opening up gaps and everyone is scrambling for wheels.
By the Avenue it’s all back together and now it’s time for lesson 1 in racing…
The grinning Sinclair hits out on the downhill and up over the rise, burning every match in his book. The acceleration has raised the adrenalin levels as the finish comes into view.
Next to succumb is Wilson, who hits out before the Cemetery Rd intersection with a stinging attack, Fifi jumps on his wheel, Ure follows and Bob is next in line. Wilson’s house of cards folds with 250 metres to go – leaving Ure on the front, who has no choice but to have a crack.
They reach the farm gate and Fifi launches over the top of Ure – who wishes him well as he explodes past. Morley hesitates just a fraction, but soon has his big black steam engine winding up and bringing Fifi back.
Fifi sees Morley looming up on the right, grabs two more gears and gives it everything – just enough to hold to the line for the win. Ure hanging on to finish third.
1st – Peter Livitsanis
2nd – Bob Morley
3rd – Brian Ure
Division 2 – courtesy Jim Crumpler
A nice sized group of seven riders out for a Sunday cruise…they moseyed down to Black Bottom Road watching the sheep and cows, all taking turns along the way.
Rob Phillips was sporting his new “man of the country” look – all rugged and itchy.
Wayne Klaus was taking the new roads in his stride and Darryn Reed was thinking these Ballarat winters aren’t all that bad.
As the group hit the first hill back towards Mount Misery, the slight breeze from the north created an echelon up the road. After waiting for the heart rates to go up, Ash Burke attacked from the back and flew past the group with no immediate chasers.
A slow (or deliberately reserved?) response by the group gradually reeled him in.
The cards had been shown! No more wasting heart-beats rolling turns on the front, as survival on the hills was paramount.
Further towards the top, Burke attacked again, but this time he was a marked man and the gap didn’t open up.
The group rolled around the corner into Edmonston Road, looking up at the last hill and last chance to destroy the souls of the sprinters. Burke was thinking about it, but Scott Keating blasted past and the pace was on for the whole climb.
Rounding into the final straight, the sprinters tightened their shoes and got into position ready for the upcoming battle. Jeremy Humber – the crafty sprint strategist – made his bet and sat on the tail downwind of Jim Crumpler for the whole run.
The flag was in sight, an attack happened and it was on for the whole group. Crumpler blasted out the front, then rolled towards the line hoping to avoid the pending asphyxiation…but Humber was furiously chasing and closing the gap – Crumpler had to stomp the pedals again.
1st – Jim Crumpler
2nd – Jeremy Humber
3rd – Darryn Reed
Division 1 – from our inhaler man on the spot
Much mirth at the line with the bunch almost convincing Tony Mirabella that it was a handicap race. He responded by flying out the blocks and causing the others to gasp.
The regroup saw the first action of the day with Rob Ellis rolling to the front and pressing the pace.
Things settled, then Stu Brien took a flyer out of the chicane.
Regroup and nerves aplenty as the next rise greeted. No attacks this time, but over the hill Jason Hendry poured the pace on. Rob Ellis obliged and gasping was had all round.
Rick Calvert went to the front to settle things, which set Brien up for his next effort. Ellis obliged again, so did Hendry, then finally an easing.
Dean Wells, who had followed wheel after wheel, was now reaching for his Ventolin inhaler.
Brien went again as they approached the end of Ercildoune Road. The word quickly spread “Let him hang”, and they did!
They regrouped halfway up Black Bottom Road and held a steady pace, everyone rotating through.
Turning towards the hills and everyone was watching everyone. No attacks, however the ramping of pace did occur.
Ellis made a move and had riders scrambling. Some further efforts led to Wells, then Brien surging as they crested the high point of the circuit – Mount Misery.
Mirabella and Calvert looked like being dropped, yet they both fought their way back on.
Closing towards Addington, Brien announced he was pulling out. The clicking of his bike had gotten the better of him – post race inspection revealed a loose cassette.
With the race robbed of its main antagonist, the remaining five would have to ignite the race to salvage some W.A.R.S. stories.
Calvert led through the tight Addington turn and stretched the field out. The bunch was closing fast on other divisions and had to gauge their efforts as they passed by.
Past Harrison’s Road and Ellis lit it up, quickly opening a small gap – which Hendry then closed with frightening ease. Wells and Mirabella were scrabbling, Calvert was gone.
Mirabella crossed to the lead duo.
Ellis powered on over the final rise and soon had the pace up to 55 Kph, with Hendry glued to his rear wheel and Mirabella tacked on. Wells made it back.
Final turn, the sharp left hander onto Weatherboard Road. They are closing fast on Division 3 and it could get real messy, so Ellis eases a fraction.
Out of the dip and Ellis is still on the front – it has been a huge lead out! Hendry, Mirabella and Wells are all being drawn along.
Mirabella turns to Wells and says “I’ll lead you out”.
So, Wells launches.
Hendry jumps to that wheel.
Hendry jumps to that wheel.
Game over man. Game over.