Done and dusted.
Both the event and I. Well dusted, in fact. After riding the Sunday Heroic for most of the 100 miler, on a single speed. However, at the conclusion to what was a pretty successful day, I wanted to give a bit of an idea in what goes on to make this event happen and acknowledge the “give” that people in our membership offer.
This year marks 120 years since the very first running of the race that became known as “The Beverley”. Something not lost on us as event organisers, now being the caretakers of that WA Cycling legacy.
The whole Beverley weekend is chock-a-block full of cycling. This year we saw Beverley and York townships completely booked out of accommodation for the weekend. The events included our Beverley Handicap Road Race on Saturday, the Retro Bike Show through the afternoon, CX racing in the evening, and then the Heroic rides on Sunday – a short Town Ride for the families, a 50 Miler and a 100 miler taking in a lot of scenery and a LOT of dirt roads. Much Heroic indeed.
Last year for The Beverley, we had 91 registered entries, apocalyptic weather conditions and were graced with Cameron Meyer and Michael Freiberg. Both multiple Track World Champions and taking first and second place respectively. In our humble little first-time outing, it felt momentous at the time.
Stepping up this year, we had 170 entries, and 37 women racing. An amazing build on last year. And a bit more organising too. So, with 14 groups on a 57km stretch of rural road, 130km from South Perth, with no phone coverage and limited radio range, it takes a fair logistical effort to make The Beverley happen, and make it happen safely. That’s where the SPR Army come in.
We had volunteers manning seven lead/follow cars, a SAG wagon to bring up the rear as well as myself and three Commissaires all out on the road in between race groups. Radio communication is so important in allowing groups to merge and overtake, as well as managing public car traffic through the peloton, without those race vehicles obstructing or compromising safety. And once again, our SPR crew were exemplary. Although there is some contention about the need for 3-point turns….. Belinda. Brooke. Video evidence indeed.
Back at base, a crew of many ran the registration desk, distributing and returning timing chips and race numbers, marshaling riders for their procession through town to the Start/Finish on time, and keeping local traffic under control in our Finishing straight.
Above and beyond OUR race day, we also assisted in the Sunday’s festivities – the 50 and 100 miler Heroic Rides. I was taking and RDO and riding, but we had another crew of many volunteering with Toby Hodgson’s Heroic crew as lead and follow vehicles, marshals and manning the various check points throughout the day. The majority of these came from our Tour of Margaret River nominees, most of whom raced on the Saturday.
This crew of Green making Wheatbelt Magic happen were:
I can’t thank this crew enough for enabling The Beverley to run so smoothly. Most of these guys and girls are regular volunteers and were here last year as well. They represent all that is great about the Club and really enjoy giving back – it shows in the show they all put on for the rest of the WA Cycling community. Give it up for the SPR Green Army!
We stage this event on a modest budget, with fairly modest entry fees, and modest prize money. So far. For next year, we’re pursuing local sponsorship around Beverley and also Perth based businesses. It would be amazing to be able to offer bigger prize money and goodies to the racers pulling the results, having come out and supported our race in a rural region that is supporting WA Cycling events at large. Watch this space.
Above all, we need to acknowledge the reason this weekend of bicycle bliss known as the Beverley Heroic exists in the first place – it was created by our own SPR member Toby Hodgson, Mr Vesparazzi, the bloke with the less impressive and fake moustache! He’s developed an awesome concept, and fostered a great relationship with the local Beverley community. We’ve really benefited from that groundwork in staging The Beverley. And the Shire of Beverley has supported us too, as cyclists. So you should get out there and Explore the Wheatbelt on two wheels and support them back.
I can’t believe we’re already talking about next year, but……….
We’re running a Survey Monkey survey for feedback in the immediate future for our racers, there is a post-event Free-Thinkers session (over beers, I hope) by the Event Director and we’ll be talking amongst the SPR Committee for an improved event next year. Just you watch.