Last week over the public holiday long weekend saw the staging of the Pemberton Classic Road Race. SPR had a contingent of competitors across most grades – some in team kit and some in GREEN! And it was an outing for the new SPR Club van. Swish!
The event consists of a Saturday afternoon criterium on a challenging circuit with a kicker of an incline that peaks on the start/finish line. The Sunday saw an early morning Road Race over different distances per grading on an undulating, rural road course with beautiful views and plenty of speed.
Saturday Crits saw SPR members in Mens A (Patrick S-W and Matt H in GDT team kit, Matt C in neutral), B Grade (Elar and Alex B) and C grade (Jon Hanson, Simon Millichip, Bryan Thurstan, Peter Wilshaw and myself in SPR kit and a few others – names escape, sorry!) and our SPR Chicks in A grade (Sarah Fitton, Corrie F and Michelle Mc in respective team kit) and B grade (JJ and Rebecca). In a word, tough. The course has a punchy climb preceding the start/finish and in 26 mins (for me, anyway) it took its toll – my Training Peaks Intensity Factor registered as 1.11. Ouch. There were no podiums for SPR, but a few places of note with a 5th to Corrie, 5th to Rebecca, a 7th for Bryan T and a (upright and intact) 9th to me. And Tony Lendrum caught a good pic of the Mo – let’s have a beer (Jon and Bryan concur).
Sunday morning saw a nice early start for the Road Race, with different distances per grade. Mens C grade set off first and a mere 600m is all it took to reach Pump Hill from the start line for the first climb. A sharp 70 vertical metre, 4-5 minute kick skywards, then 35km of undulating rural and Karri forest-lined roads ensued. Peter W and I made the decisive and early split on the first Pump Hill ascent and the pace stayed solid through the first lap. Jon managed to hold a disturbingly close distance leading a small group no more than 100m back but couldn’t quite bridge, with Bryan and Simon also back. The second lap up Pump Hill saw me dropped, getting closed in and stuck behind a rider with a dropped chain at the base of the climb – 50m of gap opened before I could get around the stationary bike and moving again and that was day done, never making contact. Peter W finished in the lead group, with apparently a crash on the last corner into the finishing straight.
Results are not yet website published and there was no timing system due to illness affecting the volunteer team. HOWEVER…… Mens A grade saw Matt C top 10, Mens B grade had Elar finish with the lead group in what were both fast races, averaging over 38km/hr.
Womens A grade saw Sarah Fitton back in race mode after some recent time off and appeared to be straight back into it – in search of “up” – and finishing only a few minutes behind the winning group. Our B grade women, both of whom were in their first graded road race. SPR Chicks, represent.
To round out the weekend, we elected to head to a local winery and brewery, soaking up the afternoon sun with some live music from a local Bridgetown blues and roots musician and some tasty beverages.
The Pemberton Classic is staged over the March Labour Day weekend annually, and I haven’t attended an event more thoroughly supported by the local community than this one. On the approach to town, right through the town and around the course on rural roads there are white painted bicycles hanging in trees, mounted on fences, on 12ft high stakes in garden beds. We weren’t able to readily identify a local business that did not appear on the list of sponsors for the weekend. The local pub, cafes, the general store, the coppers and local drivers on the road were fantastic, welcoming and hospitable. We spoke with one of the cafe owners – April (we won’t be spruiking specific cafes, but come and speak with us if you’re after a killer iced latte in P-town!) – who said the race coming to town and building over the years has seen a big change in the tourist traffic that they experience during and then returning after the event. It’s a lovely little town that truly earns the support this event gives back. Get on board for next year.
COMING SOON: Tour of Bintan race reports
EVENT EOI COMING SOON: Goldfields Cyclassic