Orica Kermesse 15 March

The Orica Kermesse is a great one day event for those who love flat and fast racing, with the chance of some serious winds. Put it in the big chain ring at the start line and then just forget about changing for the next 63 odd kilometres. Specific Womens and Juniors grades are catered for.

The Hunter District Cycling Club are hosting The Orica Kermesse on March 15th on their Kooragang road course in Newcastle. Essentially you are racing through the coal loaders on wide open exposed roads, it could be the Tour of Qatar or it could be just over an hour north of Sydney.

If you enjoy fast pacelines and want a course that doesn’t have all these nasty little pinches in it, then this is the course for you. This is the rouleur course and sprinters salivate at the finish not having to worry about some nasty little berg a few kilometres from the finish that the little jack rabbits bounce up. You won’t need a bigger gear than a 21.

A Grade Finish

This year the race is expanding and will include races for junior riders from U/9 all the way through to U/17. So all junior riders are encouraged to enter and race with the race lengths being varied depending on the age groups. Please note that the children racing will be required to ride with the appropriate gear restrictions.

There is also a womens only grade with a good level of prize money and some real competitive racing. This is a great opportunity to step up and race a proper NSW Open that isn’t just a cyclo-sportif. We would strongly encourage our female racers to enter this race. So maybe ask some of your other club mates to come along for the event, team mates make the drive up more enjoyable and also provide more firepower and help in the race.


Our recommendation would be to leave nice and early, to ensure that you have a smooth drive up to Newcastle and then also have enough time to warm up on the course. Because the pace can be on from the start.

Entries are now open for this event and riders must have a gold racing licence in order to compete. To enter this event you must use the Cycling NSW website for entry. Entries close 2nd March. Enter here  Entry fees for Juniors is $10-15 with all other grades $30.

With this race being a NSW Open, riders do not select their grade that they want to race in. Your grade will be decided by the NSW Handicapper. How will he know what grade you are able to ride in? Our club handicapper sends quarterly reports on all riders and gives them what he considered to be an appropriate Open grade. This will be different to your normal local club grade, because this is meant to be measuring you against all riders across NSW and there are also a lot more grades to be put into.

Sometimes depending on race numbers, riders may be pushed up or down a handicap grade in order to even up numbers or perhaps due to other riders who have entered and their level. Sometimes you may think that your grading is harsh, sometimes you may benefit. In order to have your best possible race – turn up fresh and with a positive attitude, thinking that you have been graded harshly will not put you in the right mindframe. This is racing – it isn’t meant to be easy or a procession.


What is a Kermesse? A kermesse is similar to a criterium in that riders complete a set number of laps on a course. However in a kermesse the laps are much longer and on this course they are 7 kilometres in length. This course is pretty much dead flat except for one small rise on and over a freeway overpass – so think the Tour of Qatar when you think of elevation, landscape and average speeds.

This means that riders can start to learn where the opportunities are on each lap, where the riders are exposed to the wind and when potential opportunites to slip away from the peloton are and then use that to their advantage in the later laps.

The venue for the race is Greenleaf Road, Kooragang Island, Newcastle

Start Times:

U9 & U11 – 7km – 1 lap – 12:00pm

U13 – 14km – 2 laps – 12:02pm

U15 – 28km – 4 laps – 12:04pm

U17 – 49km – 7 laps – 12:06pm

D Grade – 56km – 8 laps – 12:08pm

E Grade – 56km – 8 laps – 12:10pm

A Grade – 70km – 10 laps – 2:00pm

B Grade – 63km – 9 laps – 2:02pm

C Grade – 63km – 9 laps – 2:04pm

Women – 49km – 7 laps – 2:06pm

If you decide to stay up in Newcastle for the weekend, the Hunter District CC also have their local monthly criterium at their Steel River crit course on the Sunday, March 16th.

C&D grade crit starts 0800. 30 mins + 3 laps.

A&D grade crit starts 0830. 40 mins + 3 laps Juniors start at 0940. 10 mins + 2 laps

So get your entry in via Cycling NSW before the 2 March – it is going to be a weekend of some fast racing.


1 Comment

  1. Ian Lovell

    Magic write up in support of the HDCC Kermesse, it’s great to see a positive post on open racing even if the course is dead flat. Thanks and hope to see you all there.

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