Last Saturday, SPR hosted its first road race. A proper, 113km handicap race through the rural lands and National Park areas of the Wheatbelt town of Beverley.
To quote me – “Rolling over undulating terrain, riders travel through rural views gently uphill, into shaded bushland of Wandoo National Park. The turnaround on to the return run sees a fast flowing lightly downhill run – handicap groups will need to work well to keep the scratch men at bay. The racing climaxes in the short rise on the approach to Lennard Rd with 4km to go– the first rider to crest holds the advantage in a fast run into the line.”
Could not have worded that better myself!
As a first time event, a large field would not be the expected norm, but we secured 91 entries for the day. A strong contingent of SPR riders were in that number. But most impressive – 30 entries were for racers on a one-day or three-day license, with even a few more on a brand, spanking, shiny new, never before used CA Race License.
The weather was variable to say the least. The wind was a Nor-Easter at 35+Km/hr and the rain patchy and ever threatening – head winds out, tail winds home. The race started with those off a 40 minute handicap, and one by one the remaining 9 groups went off. Showing solid teamwork and work ethic was the 32 minute group, comprising Phillip Stevens, Jon Hanson and Bryan Thurstan from South Perth Rouleurs. The group started eating up the earlier groups quickly and became the mob to watch.
Coming off scratch were three of the big names – Stephen Hall, Michael Freiberg and Cameron Meyer. Along with a concerned Patrick Saccani-Williams (come on Pat – they’re only FORMER World Champions!). The scratch boys hit hard from the get go. From the Race Directors car, it was an awesome view. From the saddle, maybe not so much. There were reports of huge wind gusts blowing the groups metres sideways, patches of hail and rain…. definitely a challenging day.
As the race progressed, our Commissaires indicated they expected the Scratch men to catch the lead groups, but the 32 minute crew had other ideas. They held their resolve and worked like dogs (plenty of tongues out!). They maintained the lead on the road and looked like they may get home first. At 15 km to go, there was a jump from one of the 32 minute men. Solo. 15 long, lonely km. Gutsy, bold and brilliant, Col Tierney was off. Two and a bit hours and 100 km in, the Scratch group by this time was in proper contention. At 6 km to go was one small kicker, and then a rise up to Lenard Rd. First rider over the top should get the win. Unless perhaps you are being chased by 2 World Champions…….
Tierney crested first staring down a long fast descent with a massive tail wind. Close behind were the remaining Scratch men Cam Meyer and Michael Freiberg.
At the finish line we had reports of one lone man out front and two stupidly fast in pursuit coming into the final km. When the riders came into view, there were two, exploding off the front to the chequered flag. Cameron Meyer – multiple Track World Champion, WorldTour rider, Tour de France finisher….. and local Perth legend, won our humble little race, just ahead of Michael Freiberg. Col Tierney, third, in what one of our Commissaires described as the ride of the day. To have this calibre of riders contest our race was a joy and a privilege – thanks Cam and Michael.
1st Cameron Meyer
2nd Michael Freiberg
3rd Col Tierney
4th Jarred Anderson
5th Jayden Waters
Fastest Female Rebecca Mackey
Fastest over 45 year old Col Tierney
Fastest time Cameron Meyer
There were a few hiccups along the way on our part which lead to the incorrect prizes being awarded on stage. Pretty embarrassing, but unfortunate for one Col Tierney who missed out on receiving Third place and Fastest over 45 year old. On our maiden voyage with the timing system, we have missed an offset of times from the start process, and given our top ten riders were so close, this affected our reading of the results. I’d like to apologise again to those racers affected and thank you guys for your understanding. Your generous spirit and support was most sportsperson-like. Col – make sure your wife reads this!
Some lessons learned for us in future events – events I’d love to see you all return to enjoy with us.
Other notables –
- Philip Stevens, Bryan Thurstan and Jarred Anderson – SPR top ten finishers!!!
- Lorna Henson – recently returned to racing after an extended time off from injury and smashed home 2nd place female.
- My mate and SPR Race Committee member Jon Hanson in 12th, from the 32 minute group.
- elPrez raced.
- Daniel Harvey – a tough year, a tough handicap and our Lanterne Rouge. Declined the SAG Wagon and still finished with a smile. Everything this Club represents!
The event has been run in conjunction with the Beverley Heroic weekend, an event that has been running for a few years now, and has some loyal patronage from SPR riders. Our own member Toby Hodgson runs the weekend, with a selection of participation style rides through the Wheatbelt back roads on the Sunday, with plenty of old school gravel and dirt roads in the mix. If you haven’t been, mark it in the calendar for next year. http://www.theheroic.com.au/
Thanks to the Shires of Beverley, York and Northam for their support. Thanks to Tourism WA for their support as sponsor. Thank you one and all to our competitors and Commissaires.
And finally, thanks to our generous volunteers who gave up their day to make this happen:
Julian Johnson; Belinda Evans; Brooke Colton; Andrew Williams; Fiona Williams; Jennifer Williams; Rob Ramsden; Paul George; Cameron Dawson; Laurensia Rosana; Jay Richardson; Shelby Corbett; Allan Penaranda; Stuart Carson; Peter Lander; Mike Madsen; and Lachlan McRea, VP of Midland CC.
Until next year……………