After the events of the Iliad and the death of Hector, the Trojan War still wasn’t over. Neither the Greeks nor the Trojans seemed to be able to win, until one of the Greek kings, Odysseus of Ithaca, had an idea of the Trojan horse, a huge hollow wooden horse constructed by the Greeks to gain entrance into Troy.
After round one, we would encourage the SUVelo riders to head along to their Greek mythology lectures, as the plans of MWCC have been foretold over many generations. One battle, in one grade does not win the war.
The first round of the Battle of the Bridge was a sell out event for riders to watch the mastery of the MWCC riders across all grounds. The weather in Sydney was perfect and would have only been made better if set along Manly Beach. Randwick Botany were keen to impress the arriving crowds and the excitement of the event was evident as Dave Jackson (RBCC VP) and Sue Henry (RBCC Secretary) were smiling more on this day than they were at their recent wedding.
Pre Race Instructions for our Northern Brethren
The arrival en masse of the Northern Sydney certainly looked impressive to the crowd of onlookers, a parade I felt mimicked the story of the ‘Emperor Has No Clothes’. The excitement in the air, was enough for St George Conti rider Marcus Culey, to suddenly swear his allegiance back to NSCC and pull out an oversized jersey from 2012, in order to get a place on the start line.
The start line showed plenty of class amongst the riders, we had NSW State Champions, Australian Masters Champions, riders with UCI experience all lining up to start on the A Grade grid. RBCC would put their World Champion in C Grade. With such a classy field all the attention was still on the Manly Club who had the favoured riders amongst the peloton.
From the roll out, A Grade was setting a furious pace, being set by the MWCC riders and being followed by the other clubs. Manly weren’t content with the favourite tag, they also wanted to make a race and spectacle for those who had lined the course to have a glimpse of their heroes.
No one doubted that the fastest finisher in the field was Alex Nazarewicz of Manly, but rather than sit in and wait for the finish line, like some NSCC minion he was one of the most active riders in attacking the bunch.
Phil Lucas of MWCC initiates the winning move in A.
The break was the day was established by a superb counter attack by MWCC rider Phil Lucas who as they hit the straight, punched out 1600 watts to gap the field and it was only Naz who could go with him. The two of them eased up to make it a bit more of a game, when they would be joined by Jesse Coyle, Chris Miller both of SUVelo and Angus Calder and Michael Potter of NSCC and veteran Liam Kelly of Easts.
Angus was useful for the one metre rise over ‘the pimple’ and after that he went back to the main field being policed by MWCC riders Jake Kauffmann and Matt Dinham. Phil Lucas rolled a few more laps before being told that this was an NRS only bunch and so he rolled back into the field.
Still Alex Naz drove the breakaway, here was the fastest finisher, playing the role of domestique. It was a Herculean effort on his behalf with Michael Potter of NSCC also rolling through and keeping the tempo high and riding with some self respect. Meanwhile the two SUVelo escapees missed turns, feigned cramps or soft pedalled through.
The moment we chose to let the Professor slip away
With only a few laps remaining it became clear that this group would stay away due to the hard work of the MWCC contingent. With two laps remaining, Naz pulled off the front and let the Battle Plan spring into action. Chris Miller who must be the oldest University student going around, perhaps he should go by the name ‘the Professor’ decided that he should feel the wind and went with 2 laps to go. The Horse had been accepted by the Trojans.
Will SUVelo learn the lessons of history or will this be Custer’s Last Stand?
While The Professor would go on to ride solo to the finish, MWCC just smiled and cheered knowing that the Trojan Horse had just reached the city of Troy for round 2.
MWCC decide the fate of the B Grade peloton
The second grade under way was the B Grade and again it was MWCC having a major impact on the race and coming away with huge accolades and rewards. Never before had one club ridden so dominantly.
The pace was high from the roll out as Darren Byers of RBCC sprinted from the roll out for some TV time before MWCC Conductor Alexis Kaless rolled around him kept the pace up around the back and down the finishing straight, this strung the field into single file and put a lot of riders into extreme difficulty and then with the flick of his elbow, as they came past the finishing line, the MWCC rider Nick Martin charged off the front. It was the beauty of watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel juxtaposed with the brutality of a sledgehammer.
Valiently RBCC sent their Executive committee of Dave Jackson and Danieli Vanolini off in pursuit and they would be joined by the NSCC A Graders of Simon Davies and Nick Garnon. To join Nick, MWCC sent first timer Scott Austin off with them to learn the Heffron Course. The man in all black Ben Daley was there to proudly representing SUVelo. The winning break was established at the commencement of lap two!
Whilst early on the break hovered at around 20 seconds, the work by Nick and Scott to constantly drive the pace meant that the lead continued to grow. This was aided by the work of riders such as Ed Shilland who tirelessly worked around the front of the main bunch. Even with a 40 strong main bunch, with some good MWCC positioning within it and the work of MWCC in the breakaway, towards the end the lead went out to as much as 50 seconds.
The crowd looked on in awe as the two MWCC riders continually drove the breakaway pace onwards, the other riders within the break just gave various excuses, Garnon and Davies were worried that they still has a long ride home back up the highway and Dave Jackson pulled the pension card excuse to miss his turns. No one knew Ben Daley was there in that kit.
Post race MWCC rider Scott Austin commented “I have never ridden out here, the last time I came this far south, I was going to the airport with the kids to go to Bali”
As they came into the final laps of this masterclass of MWCC riding, it would be Nick Martin who would go from the bottom of the corner, the MWCC warrior leading the charge from the front. They wouldn’t be able to come round him, while Ben Daley of SUVelo would sneak in for second after his all black kit was mistaken for the shadow of Scott Austin in third. A Manly first and third would be a fair reflection of the race and a sign of things to expect for the rest of the series.
MWCC taking the victory
It wouldn’t be a race series without some controversy. Last year we had the ‘Tai Hunyh Affair’ in B Grade and it would be the C Grade race that would get the pitch forks ready and social media court in session.
The C Grade race started with a solid tempo being set, with this grade having a very large contingent of RBCC riders and realistically their only hope of salvaging points, this included having World Champion Vincenzo Nibali in their line up. Early on in the race the grade would stick together as no one rider was strong enough to get away and no break being given enough string to get up the road. It seems the RBCC game plan was simple, wait for B Grade to catch and pass towards the end and then attack.
Thanks to the new Cycling NSW Camera laws we have managed to get footage of the start of the C Grade break and how Nibali managed to slip away from his C Grade racers. The C Grade break can be seen in the footage below.
After Nibali drove off, the rest of the bunch continued to race amongst themselves and it would come down to a bunch sprint with Minh Dinh of Northern Sydney next across the line, followed by Declan Jones of NSCC and then Alex Henderson of MWCC.
Northern Sydney have promised to sort out C Grade next round by moving all the A Graders into the grade as per their normal tactics.
The rest of B Grade sprint it out for second
Newcomers Eastern Suburbs and Central Coast certainly had a tough entry into the scene, with no podiums across the grades. The small turnout from Eastern Suburbs was blamed on the fact that it was a Saturday afternoon and they needed that time to get ready to go out to Double Bay that evening. Meanwhile Central Coast realised that south of Berowra there are no good Chiko Roll sellers and so they were happy to save their soldiers for Beauie Worlds.
1. Chris ‘The Professor’ Miller (SUVelo)
2. Jesse Coyle (SUVelo)
3. Michael Potter (NSCC)
1. Nicholas Martin (MWCC)
2. Ben ‘Shadow’ Daley (SUVelo)
3. Scott Austin (MWCC)
1. Peter Selkrig aka Nibali (RBCC)
2. Minh Dinh (NSCC)
3. Declan Jones (RBCC)
All business and smiles in C Grade
D Grade (Non BOTB Points)
1. Cameron Osborne (NSCC)
2. Henry Paton (MWCC)
3. Henry Davison (MWCC)
1. Female: Jennifer Darmody (SUVelo)
Just watch those hands NSCC
The points table will be revealed once all considerations for how MWCC are winning are computed.
With 120 riders on the track, it was a testament to top level riding that not one ambulance was required and so full credit to all of the MWCC riders who maintained the safety of their various grades.
Special thanks to RBCC who put on the beers and BBQ post race and ensured such a great afternoon of racing for the riders and spectating. Riders should note that the next round at NSCC will also have online entries due to field limits imposed on them. The opening of entries will be posted online when available.
All of the photos from this round were taken by Stu Baker
Not your typical Saturday afternoon at Heffron Park
The date for the remaining rounds:
Round 2 – Northern Sydney Beaumont Road – July 16
Round 3 – MWCC West Head – July 23
Round 4 – “Manly Victory Day” will be held at SUVelo, Heffron Park – July 30
Some of the Uni Students have put together this assignment for their mid term assessment.