31 March – 2 April 2018
Australian Veteran Cycling Championships
Age Based racing
‘Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed’
– Charles M Schulz
The 2018 Australian Veteran Cycling Championships were staged over the Easter long weekend in Maryborough, Victoria. This report is written with a distinctly Team EUREKA slant, however we will recognise the significant efforts of other medal winners as well.
As with most years, some events had low numbers and some events had reasonable numbers. To combat low entries in criteriums and road race events, Age Groups are combined until at least six riders are formed. This can lead to interesting racing with up to four age groups contesting for four sets of medals in just the one race.
The merits of the Age Group system will continue to be debated, but for now, this is the format and we can celebrate the accomplishments of the many who contested the events.
Saturday 31st March – Individual Time Trial
Perfect conditions greeted the riders for the time trial. Sun, no wind and temperature in the low 20s. The first rider to compete at the Championships was Eureka’s very own Craig Lee (35-39 Male).
Riders started at one minute intervals and it wasn’t long before Stephen Lane (Northern Cycling) was breathing down Lee’s neck.
The third rider away was James Ogilvie (Eastern) who under the guidance of Lane recently rode the TRACK 1 hour and now holds the World Masters – record! Ogilvie was just bike lengths away from Lane at the finish and now has an Australian Time Trial title to his name after averaging 48.352 Kph!
The next Eureka competitor away was Ralph Jones (aka James Gretton). His time made him the sixth fastest veteran Time Triallist in Australia…until the seventh rider started…
Gretton competed in the 45-49 Male age group and Team EUREKA had four of the six riders entered.
Jeremy Vanderklift, Peter Gunston and Matthew Bowman completed the Team EUREKA line up.
Bowman won the SILVER medal for his efforts and finished just 25 seconds behind Justin Hogan (Eastern). Bowman ranked 9th overall out of the 65 competitors (male and female) who contested the Time Trial.
Gary Beazley and Stephen Biram both contested the 55-59 Male age group, but were no match for Southern Districts (South Australia) rider Michael Davies who recorded the fourth fastest Time Trial all day – behind Ogilvie and Lane (35-39 M) and Eastern’s Troy Drinan (40-44 M).
No EUREKA riders in the female events this year, however Emily May (ACT Vets) who is new to road cycling won the first of THREE (35-39 Female) gold medals for the weekend and ranked fourth fastest out the 17 female riders.
The brilliant Anna Davis (Northern) won gold in the 50-54 Female age group and her 42.02 Kph ranked her 16th overall for the day!!
Davis and Ogilvie each received a Mockridge Championship Jersey, trophies and prize money, on top of their Age Group awards.
*There is video footage of Davis donning one jersey on her torso and the other upside down on her legs…such fun!
Unfortunately the MyLaps timing system failed to upload to the website. AVCC officials had to photograph the results and post them on the net.
Sunday 1st April – Criterium
Near perfect weather again, with cloud cover and only a light breeze. The temperature started in the mid teens and reached the mid 20s by the end of the day as the clouds drifted away.
The first event of the day saw the combined 35-39 and 40-44 Male age groups race.
Four scratchings reduced the field to just five riders and what could have been a great spectacle only ended up showcasing the issues with Age Group racing.
Stephen Lane took off from the start and the field imploded within minutes. EUREKA’s Craig Lee united with Mathew Grealy (Central). Tim Bennet (Geelong) was somewhere up ahead chasing Lane and EUREKA’s Duncan Bates was somewhere out the back.
To add to frustration, the MyLaps system registered ridiculous times for the first lap and raised further questions about the current software version.
The 45-49 Male event fielded the complete podium from 2017 and the race was on from the start. Team EUREKA fielded four of the 10 riders.
Craig Feely (Southern Districts, S.A.) won the event in 2017 and exploded from the start with Eureka’s Dean Wells leading the chase pack. James Gretton took over the pacemaking once Feely was caught and time trialled on the front for a lap.
The pace was high and Geelong and Surf Coast rider Kane Airey was one of the early antagonists. Gary Smith (also Southern Districts) reacted to many of the early attacks, while Scott Riddell (Northern) and Alex Randall (Eastern) helped keep the pace strong.
The high pace and constant attacks was too much for Gretton who eased out after 12 minutes, having sacrificed his Easter Sunday for Team EUREKA.
Mid race and Randall broke away from the pack. Airey and Riddell waited half a lap then crossed to the leader. Airey dropped back to the chasing pack after a few laps.
Eureka’s Peter Gunston gave a few efforts on the front chasing, before he too exited the race. Matt Bowman put in some long efforts on the front which had everyone scrambling for wheels, but the two leaders were strong and had extended their lead to 30 seconds.
Nearing the end of the race and the chase bunch was being tactical with some riders just happy to race for the bronze medal. The leaders had slowed, however the surging in the chase bunch meant they were always just around the corner.
Bowman started putting in some longer efforts which saw the chase group lose more riders. Try as he might, Bowman could not get much help from the others in the bunch. With half a lap remaining he buried himself and all of a sudden the leaders were within 200 metres.
Randall knew Riddell was strong in the sprint, so the two had started playing cat and mouse. The chasers closed but Riddell blasted away to the gold medal long before contact was ever made. Randall hanging on for a worthy silver and a four way sprint saw Smith take the bronze.
The next Team EUREKA riders out on course were Stephen Biram, Tony Mirabella and James Knipe in the 55-59 Male event.
Biram had a bad day and turned it into a training ride. Mirabella and Knipe had a battle royale with the Knipe Rider taking bragging rights over the Italian Stallion.
Lindsay Burgoyne WON gold in his race, which was a combined 60-64 and 65-69 Male event.
Burgoyne was often on the front of the pack leading the chase on the two riders who weren’t even in his event. A big sprint finish saw Lindsay finish fourth in the combined race, yet easily earn his Australian Champion title!
Team EUREKA had two more riders compete on the day. Terry Collie and Robert Braszell raced in the 70-74 Male event which fielded nine riders and they averaged over 38 Kph for the race!
Collie bided his time throughout, whilst Braszell was either setting the pace or leading the chase pack.
A close finish saw Braszell just miss the win by 0.183 seconds, but earn a worthy silver.
In the combined 80-84 and 85-89 Male race, Ballarat/Geelong legend Brian Long and Leendert Nieuwenhoven (S.A.) beat the younger men home…
For the Female events, nine age groups were combined into three separate races for what can only be described as a timekeeper and referees nightmare.
Monday 2nd April – Road Race
Sunny weather and a strong southerly, with temperature in the low 20s. Four different distances were designated to the various age groups and sexes, with each race starting at the top of a hill with a tailwind and concluding in the same place after a steady climb back into the wind. Fun times!
Team EUREKA’s first riders away were Terry Collie and Bob Braszell in the 70-74 Male race over 50 kilometres. Eleven riders contested the event and like the previous day, Collie bided his time in the field whilst Braszell made sure the race was hard for everyone.
The climb back to the finish saw the field split, however five riders sprinted for the medals with just two seconds separating them on the line. Braszell came within millimetres of winning and the photo finish camera was required to declare the results. The difference in the end was just 0.009 seconds!
The next Team EUREKA rider to roll out was Belinda Burgoyne in the combined 30-34, 35-39 and 40-44 Female event over 50 kilometres.
The field blew apart, however Emily May secured her third gold medal for the weekend whilst being coached how to sprint by Peta Mullens. Not bad when a former Australian Open Road Race Champion is giving you tips how to ride in just your fifth race ever! Such is veterans cycling…
Burgoyne collected bronze in her event!
The 35-39 and 40-44 Male combined event saw Stephen Lane say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ before dashing off on a solo 85 kilometre race…as you do.
Team EUREKA’s Sam Smith probably wondered what the blazes had just happened before deciding he may as well race the other guys. Smith came to the finish with Tim Bennett (Geelong) and Richard Abel (Eastern) before sitting up to let the two older riders race for gold in their event – Abel taking the win.
David Ogilvie and Duncan Bates were the other two EUREKA riders in the combined field and both endured hellish days.
Three races over 68 kilometres were the final events staged on the day. Team EUREKA had representatives in each event and they all faced well seasoned opposition.
Stuart Brien raced in the 50-54 Male event and certainly put himself into the race early on, when attempting to cross to a sole breakaway rider. In “No Mans Land”, Brien soon saw the peloton go charging past as the likes of Neville Laffy (Goulburn Valley), Brad Haskett (Geelong), Martin Banfield (Central) and Phil Smith (Eastern) took up the chase. Brien’s day did not improve…
The 55-59 Male event saw Team EUREKA’s chances headed by Tony Mirabella, with Gary Beazley, Stephen Biram and James Knipe in supporting roles. Another Southern Districts (S.A.) in Michael Davies, joined with Northern’s Philip Bramich to make the race their own. They streeted the field by minutes. Mirabella was in the group of five racing for bronze.
The final Team EUREKA rider to race at the carnival was Peter Kiel in the 60-64 Male event. Kiel acquitted himself well and got into the winning breakaway with ACT rider Owain Tilley and Northern’s Kevin Russell and Trevor Coulter. Heartbreakingly, Kiel missed a medal by just 0.015 seconds as the quartet raced across the line.
This final write up is long! Grab a cuppa and settle down to read what is probably more exciting than most pro races in Europe…
With a staggering 23 entries, the feature race on the day was the 45-49 Male event. Fielding the likes of Darren Roberts and Tony Giuliano (Northern), David Newett (Geelong), Hudson Crothers (Central), Craig Feely and Gary Smith (Southern Districts, S.A.), the stage was set for an epic duel…and so it was!
On a sour note, the race was marred by no less than three incidents involving vehicles connected to the event…
Team EUREKA’s Matt Bowman did not start, however six other riders did including new member Tavis Baker, Jason Birch, Robert Ellis, Greg Ley, Michael Veal and Dean Wells.
Baker was a “bit flat” after doing a 24 hour ride around Lake Wendouree from 6 PM Thursday to 6 PM Friday. That 108 lap effort (645 km) was equally matched by his feat in raising over $10,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital. It was only natural that Baker would be up the front driving the pace as the peloton roared along with the tail wind early in the race.
Three different Northern riders rode off the front during the first leg out towards Dunolly – curiously, other Northern riders led the chase each time. Most of Team EUREKA sat back in the pack watching these events unfold without exerting much effort, of course Baker was always up near the front.
Giuliano survived his stint off the front through the turn near Dunolly. Now the race headed straight back into the wind and also onto the hills. Wells rolled up to the front of the peloton and closed the gap to Giuliano. He was joined by Veal and they started rolling turns.
Ellis was the next EUREKA rider on the front as everyone waited for the inevitable attacks. Giuliano tried again and was left to dangle for a while. Fellow Northern rider – Darren Roberts – then started to ramp the pace up, all the while being followed closely by South Australian Gary Smith. The pair tried multiple surges on the hills, however nothing stuck. Wells and Ley chased down the mini attacks and Baker resumed taking turns on the front.
Unfortunately Veal was unhitched during the flurry of surges – he would go on to ride the next 55 kilometres to the finish, solo…
The next turn saw the field head downhill and Geelong’s Kane Airey led the field at speed through a corner cambered so steeply it looked like a velodrome. Up ahead the road narrowed and turned again, opening the peloton to a fierce crosswind.
Roberts and Smith continued their games, now surging and crossing from one side of the narrow road to another at speeds over 40 Kph. Wells and Baker were both close to the front when one dive to the left pushed Wells off the road and Baker followed. The peloton had split and the race had ignited.
Baker waited for Wells and they started to chase the second group on the road.
Northern’s Roberts, Riddell and Giuliano, David Newett (Geelong), Hudson Crothers (Central), Alex Randall (Eastern), Smith (Southern Districts, S.A.) and another two riders were in the first group and had quickly opened a hundred metre gap.
Ellis, Birch and Ley were doing their bit to drive the chase bunch of about nine riders.
Baker and Wells were still trying to catch the second group on the road. Two chasing nine was not easy and the gap was gradually increasing until the first of three vehicle incidents occurred…
On a narrow road, with a strong crosswind and riders stretched to their limit, a trailing referee vehicle passed all the chasing riders, even though the gap to the leaders was less than 200 metres.
Hot on the official car’s tail was a medical van, which could not get past the second group and actually towed Baker and Wells along with it. The driver of the medical vehicle even sounded the horn to alert riders to its presence.
Try as they might, the Baker and Wells could not get the driver’s attention and so they were stuck just twenty metres behind the bunch they were trying to catch.
Eventually they risked a small gap on the left side of the vehicle, caught the bunch ahead and joined in the chase.
The sudden increase in pace as Wells and Baker shot through unfortunately resulted in Ellis being lost to the bunch…he too would ride to the finish alone.
The chase continued and picked up a rider who had been dropped from the lead bunch. A left turn had the race back on the original road from Maryborough to Dunolly and the chase bunch picked up Randall who had also dropped from the leading group.
With a tailwind the gap stayed about 300 metres wide. One rider rallied the chase bunch and had almost everyone rotating through track turns.
The gap to the leaders still remained the same as the race worked its way back to the Dunolly turn. Back into the headwind and the gap started reducing.
Up the hills the race continued and riders were gasping for breath everywhere. The gap continued to narrow as the highest peak was passed, then the second vehicle incident occurred in the leading bunch when Newett clipped wheels, crashed and had his bike allegedly run over by an official vehicle.
Crothers eased out of the lead bunch to attend Newett, however other vehicles had arrived by this time and Crothers joined in with the chase bunch.
The gap eventually narrowed, then a few of the chasers who had been “sitting on”, took turns at trying to cross the final gap in the headwind. This both broke up the group’s rhythm and put some riders to their absolute limit.
The catch was made just hundreds of metres before the turn back towards the crosswinds.
The pace ramped up again and the field of sixteen stretched out before the pace was slackened and the race compressed again.
The third vehicle incident came in the form of a car racing towards the peloton as it neared the turn onto the narrow crosswind road.
Calls went out and the leaders surged as the race went into single file. The vehicle pulled up (still partially on the very narrow road) and the driver jumped out with his telephoto lens camera and started taking snaps…mind boggling!
The race was stretched out and on in earnest. Wells, Airey and Ley were early casualties in the crosswind.
Three riders – Roberts, Smith and Giuliano – had opened a gap with about 15 kilometres remaining.
The chase was blowing apart as riders went into survival mode…and the gap grew.
The final turn back into the headwind meant a 6 kilometre climb to the finish.
The leaders were three, the chasers were ten…
The odds were with the chasers but only Baker and one other faced the breeze. The gap grew.
To the finish and Giuliano didn’t try to match Smith and Roberts as they sprinted for the line. Roberts winning gold by a few bike lengths.
One minute later the peloton appeared. Baker eased aside as the sprint started and Birch sprinted clear to claim fourth place and provide some reward for Team EUREKA’s efforts.
Team EUREKA results:
25 Km Time Trial
bronze – Craig LEE, 35-39 Male
silver – Matthew BOWMAN, 45-49 Male
4th – Jeremy VANDERKLIFT, 45-49 Male
5th – Peter GUNSTON, 45-49 Male
6th – James GRETTON, 45-49 Male
4th – Gary BEAZLEY, 55-59 Male
6th – Steve BIRAM, 55-59 Male
Criterium 40 minutes plus 2 laps
silver – Craig LEE, 35-39 Male
bronze – Duncan BATES, 40-44 Male
5th – Dean WELLS, 45-49 Male
6th – Matthew BOWMAN, 45-49 Male
also, Peter GUNSTON, 45-49 Male
also, James GRETTON, 45-49 Male
Criterium 30 minutes plus 2 laps
6th – James KNIPE, 55-59 Male
8th – Tony MIRABELLA, 55-59 Male
9th – Steve BIRAM, 55-59 Male
gold – Lindsay BURGOYNE, 65-69 Male
silver – Robert BRASZELL, 70-74 Male
5th – Terry COLLIE, 70-74 Male
Road Race 50 Km
bronze – Belinda BURGOYNE, 35-39 Female
silver – Robert BRASZELL, 70-74 Male
8th – Terry COLLIE, 70-74 Male
Road Race 68 Km
10th – Stuart BRIEN, 50-54 Male
6th – Tony MIRABELLA, 55-59 Male
11th – Gary BEAZLEY, 55-59 Male
17th – Steve BIRAM, 55-59 Male
18th – James KNIPE, 55-59 Male
4th – Peter KIEL, 60-64 Male
Road race 86 Km
silver – Sam SMITH, 35-39 Male
7th – David OGILVIE 40-44 Male
also, Duncan BATES, 40-44 Male
4th – Jason BIRCH, 45-49 Male
12th – Tavis BAKER, 45-49 Male
14th – Greg LEY, 45-49 Male
15th – Dean WELLS, 45-49 Male
17th – Robert ELLIS, 45-49 Male
19th – Michael VEAL, 45-49 Male
Well that is the wrap. It was a long weekend and Team EUREKA should be proud, not only of the efforts of our riders, but also for the efforts of our members who volunteered to perform corner marshal duties or acted in an official capacity.
Thank you Marika, Darwin and Paddy. Huge applause for Lois, Bill and Terry.
A standing ovation for Eureka President John Faulkner who battled with the timing system all weekend.