Race Preview: Womens Race Series Rnd 2

The rolling hills of West Head will set the stage for round two of the Sydney Womens Race Series this Sunday and the battle field will be filled with riders from all over Sydney. This round is going to be big – will you go into battle?

The demand for this race has been unprecedent and we are absolutely ecstatic that so many ladies are taking the opportunity to enter our race. We originally budgeted for two grades, these filled up in no time with some of the best female riders in Sydney entering in quick succession, so on Sunday we should hopefully have at least 3 separate races to cater for all of the various standard, but for that we still need some more entries. We have a number of first time riders entered into the C/D Grade, so don’t let your lack of experience put you off. We have day licences available for riders who don’t have a racing licence, so entries are open to everyone. Read on for a review of the race and what to expect on the day. We want to see you on the startline.  YOU can still enter – www.trybooking.com/EQVY


In the womens A/B Grade which is a two lap race with a non neutral start, this star studded field is being headlined by the current series leader and recent female winner of the Blayney to Bathurst Lynne Clarke. This MWCC rider is currently riding in career best form and she took the win in round 1 of the series with a Bronzini like sprint at the Waratahs race.  However at the recent media conference, Lynne was cagey about her potential success, she spoke of her legs being a little tired after Blayney and she also expressed some concern about the strength of some of the other teams, that were looking to make an impression on the race.

She was of course alluding to the SuVelo squad which will be led by their team captain Gina Ricardo, this team will have a number of different strategies for this Sunday race and with a team full of experience, we may see a team similar to Omega Quickstep on the startline. SuVelo will be looking to put plenty of pressure early on in the race in an attempt to crack Clarke.  While not listed on the official program at the time of going to press, SuVelo may look to call upon Amber Jenkins to further strengthen their squad.

Lynne Clarkes defence of the series lead will be bolstered by the return of a number of her teammates – Cat Haines, Rebecca Snell and loyal lieutenant Lana Moy will be there to set tempo if required. The club will also have young Ella Falzarano who may be the opportunist within the team, she may be allowed to seek out any opportunities. Spectators should expect to see Snell and Moy spending a lot of time on the front dictating the pace.

However this won’t be a simple two club race, Sydney Cycling Club has had a strong presence at recent MWCC races in an attempt to gain some local knowledge of the course and to ensure that they send their most suited riders into the A/B race. This club will be led by Josephine Meldgaard and could cause some havoc with a number of experienced racers in their ranks. Other riders who will be looking to cause some pain will be Camilla Larsen of Peloton Sports and Geraldine Blomfield-Brown of Waratahs. While Larsen will attempt to break the peloton apart on some of the shorter, sharper climbs with her Gilbert like attacks, Blomfield Brown is more the chess player and we would expect that she will remain hidden until the famed final Berg leading into the finish line. The darkhorse may be young St George rider Cait Surgenor who will be looking to set a hot pace up Akuna and the Wall at West Head, she can climb but can she win?

It will be a cracking two lap race and expert commentators are expecting that this will be one of the most hotly contested races of the year. The entry list is below (please note that this has not been finalised – there may be some changes to gradings and race numbers depending on entries in the next few days – this field may be split into separate A & B grades depending on late entries)

Entrants to date Grade A/B

Yvette Amaral

Lisa Antill

Lynda Behan

Geraldine Blomfield-Brown

Nicola Bodor

Lynne Clarke – Series Leader

Emily Cunningham

Jo Dean

India Faehndrich

Ella Falzarano

Cat Haines

Holly Hawtin

Gabrielle Howard

Camilla Larsen – Euro Pro

Gaye Lynn

Marissa Madden

Josephine Meldgaard

Lana Moy

Belinda New

Gina Ricardo – SuVelo Team Leader

Rowan Sams

Ella Scanlan-Bloor

Rebecca Snell

Cait Surgenor – Contador climbing skills

Breege Turnbull

Imogen Vize

Shiona Will

Suvelo Race 1061

The C and D Grade may well show up some potential superstars of tomorrow. These riders will be facing the feared Akuna Climb under neutral conditions, which should allow riders a chance to get comfortable with their surroundings and also get a feel of the racing peloton under the first few kilometres, until they unleash hell as they turn on West Head road where it will be game on for the one lap race. This one lap race promises to be a tactical race with many riders unknown and it is difficult to pick a clear favourite. Breege Turnbull of Sydney CC was to lead the series after her first round win but has been promoted, so that leaves second place getter Laura Rigby of Sydney CC to take the series lead. Larri Wallbridge is an experienced mountain biker, will this convert to road success? Similarly Kim Austen is experienced, who if memory recalls correctly is a decorated track rider, but will the hills be her enemy? If I had to pick a rider – MWCC rider Jen Bullock will be hungry for success, similarly Natalie Fraser is well versed on the course – but then we could have a first time rider, long time trainer come out from the pack and blitz it – it truly is a riddle wrapped up in an enigma enclosed within a matrix.

Entry list to date – C/D Grade

Larri Wallbridge – Can she make the transition to road racing?

Marlise Buson

Laura Rigby – Series Leader

Natalie Fraser – A regular fixture at West Head

Jen Bullock – Local Club Favourite

Ella Gundersen –D Grade opportunist

Janet Lindsay

Penny Nolton

Rebecca Hay

Tegan Cox

Kim Austen

Victoria McNeill

Coreen Mazzocchi

Virginia Woods

Anne Lynam

Sarah Oakes

Givanna Haryono Putri

Sharon  Teran

Mary Fien

Anna Whitten

Imogen Hines

Kirsty Flanagan

Nicola Rutzou

Melinda O’Halloran

Sue Tierney

What should riders expect on the day?

The A/B Grade is due to depart at 7:55am and the next grade will leave 5 minutes after that. You can sign on and collect your number from 7am down at the Akuna Bay Marina, Akuna Bay. You will see a tent set up in the car park next to the marina and this will have the sign on table. Riders simply need to sign their name and collect their number. The number goes anywhere on the back of the jersey. There is plenty of parking at the Marina carpark if you choose to drive in. Please note that the start and finish lines are in different locations. If you ride to the race, any unneeded items – like lights, phones, jackets etc can be placed in the trailer that makes it way up to the finish line.

You will see a lot of riders waiting around and then from 7:20am the riders will be called forward for each of their grades – these riders are given a pre race briefing and then sent on their way. Before the womens race there will be seven mens grades, so don’t panic if you here them calling the grades up and you aren’t ready. You only have to be ready when your grade is called. Just make sure you are at the startline 5 minutes before your race is set to depart so from 7:50am. How much earlier you want to arrive at the start is up to you.

Our race can send your heart rate rocketing from the roll out, so we do encourage riders to be warmed up and recommend that you consider parking around Terrey Hills and riding into the park, to ensure that you have had a good warm up prior to race start. Please be cautious on the descent down into the Park.

Once the race starts, the race goes up the Akuna Bay hill heading towards West Head Road, at the top of the climb it turns left into West Head Road – the climb is approximately 4 kilometres in length. After that you will complete a loop of West Head Road – this is approximately 25 kilometres in length. You do not ride all the way to the end of West Head, rather you turn around at the toilet block prior to the final descent to West Head point. You will know that you are getting close when you come to the Wall (don’t worry you will know it when you get to it) you will go up that, down the other side, up a another small rise and then take the entry into the turning bay. There will be a marshal at this point directing where you turn. You then come out of the turning bay and head back towards Akuna Bay.

You will ride all the way back to the intersection of West Head and Akuna Bay, this will send you down the short little berg – be aware that you have to U-turn at the intersection – you are not descending back into Akuna Bay. Stay close to your brakes and watch out for others. You will turn around the concrete traffic island (again there will be a marshal there directing you) you the ride back up the nasty little berg and start heading back into West Head. You will ride approximately two kilometres before you come towards the Elvina Walking track Car Park. This is the finish line. You will see traffic cones on the ground and a line on the road – this is the part where you want to be first. If you are riding in A/B Grade you will continue on for a second lap, if you are riding in C/D Grade your race is now finished.

Once you have finished keep riding, further up the road and be careful when turning around to come into the car park. There may be other riders and cars on the road coming from both directions. Make your way into the car park, where you can return your number. Then there is a bit of a brief period where you can chat to your fellow riders and watch the other grades finish prior to the presentations. It should be all wrapped up by about 9:30am. While waiting around the Elvina Car Park please do not stand on the road – there are lots of vehicles coming past and riders at speed.

If you put anything in the trailer, it will be available for collection. There should also be water available to refill your water bottles.

We would request that you do not park in the Elvina Walking Track car park – this not only assists our marshalls when they head up there to set up for the finish, but also assists with our relations with the National Parks. This also gives riders more room to hang around in post race.

For more information about what happens on the day – check out this our guide https://manlywarringahcc.org.au/news/racing-how-to-enter-and-what-to-expect-a-beginners-guide/

We are still accepting entries for the womens race – www.trybooking.com/EQVY


 “Local” Rules for the West Head Road Races

 Road & Racing Rules:

•             All NSW road rules apply at all times during this race.

•             DO NOT cross double lines at any point during the race.

•             All Cycling NSW and Cycling Australia road race rules apply at all times during this race.

General Course Instructions/Etiquette:

•             Always be aware of other users on a public road.

•             General Road Etiquette:

o             Ride 2-abreast unless overtaking.

o             Leave enough room for vehicles to pass safely.

o             Do not crowd other cyclists as you pass them – give them space. Remember, some of them are only new to cycling and we would like them to enjoy their ride.

o             Don’t shout, yell or swear at non racing riders as you pass them.

•             Remember! Bad behaviour could jeopardise the future running of this event. Also you are riding in your club’s kit and any bad behaviour or rule breaches reflect on your club, and on the Manly Warringah Cycling Club who are hosting the event.

•             Blatant disregard of Commissaire instructions and/or breaking of road rules will result in disciplinary action – relegation and/or disqualification.

•             Please exit the park with safety and other road users in mind. How we conduct ourselves when racing is finished has a bearing on our ability to get race permits in future.

•             Please ride single file up McCarrs Creek road (at a minimum when a car is coming) this has an impact of residents perception of cyclists and has an impact on getting racing licences in future.

•             If you have a team car please don’t follow directly behind your group up McCarrs Creek Road or to Akuna Bay – this makes it difficult for cars to pass and is a major issue for residents.

Akuna Bay Start:

•             Please keep the registration area clear to allow a quick sign in process to happen. Don’t bring your bike into the registration tent.

•             A Pre-race briefing will be given to each grade by the Chief Commissare of the day. If you are unsure of something, ASK!

•             Riders are responsible for knowing the course – please ask if you are unsure.

•             Grades will depart at 3 to 5 minute intervals.

Turn-Around Points:

•             West Head Turn-Around Point at Resolute Picnic Ground Car Park:

o             The turn-around point is marked by a large orange safety cone and a MWCC Marshall standing behind it.

o             A number of small orange safety cones will be spaced approximately 5m apart leading up to the turn-around point.

o             Riders will turn right into the amenities car park between the last of the small cones and the large cone.

o             Riders should be prepared to give way to oncoming traffic.

o             On exiting the car park, riders MUST check for traffic coming from their right.

o             All racers must follow instructions from the Marshalls

o             NB: Marshalls are not allowed to stop traffic on public roads.

•             Southern Turn-Around Point at the West Head gates:

o             This is the intersection of West Head Road and Akuna Bay Road.

o             The turn-around end point is marked by a large orange safety cone and a MWCC Marshall standing behind it.

o             Riders must turn between the concrete divider and the safety cone/Marshall.

o             Riders that turn behind the Marshall onto Akuna Bay Road will be disqualified (safety reasons excluded).

o             All racers must follow directions from the Marshalls.

o             NB: Marshalls are not allowed to stop traffic on public roads.

Elvina Car Park Finish Line:

•             The finish line is indicated by 2 orange safety cones and a line of masking tape across the road.

•             5 (or more) orange safety cones will be spaced at 5m intervals on the centre double lines leading up to the finish line.

•             At NO TIME are the double lines to be crossed during the finishing sprint. Unless for a safety reason, the rider will be relegated or disqualified.

•             On finishing, riders are to continue past the corner to ensure they can see any on-coming traffic before turning across the road to the car park. An orange witches hat will mark the point where riders can turn across the road and return to the car park.

•             Check for oncoming cyclists who may be coming down the hill in the shadows.

•             Make sure you check behind you as well for other riders not racing.

•             The entry to the car park is to be kept clear at all times.

•             For safety reasons, riders must also keep to the left of the gutter near the car park entrance to ensure that the road is kept clear.

1 Comment

  1. Larri Wallbridge

    Thanks for the great article; and it’s fantastic to have a pre-race hype.
    Bring it on – hello Sunday!!!

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