Well it seems time to write a report on Round 1 of the Battle of the Bridge, given we have all had time to digest the fictional novels published by Manly and North Sydney. You can be forgiven for thinking that both these clubs fielded the largest contingent of troops in the Battle, but alas we rallied the troops well and came through with the numbers.
The day began early for the Club with some of our troops out buying the supplies to keep the riders and spectators fed and watered during the arduous afternoon of racing. Then there was the team out sweeping the track (making sure only the other clubs got punctures) and the smiling faces behind the registration desk and in the canteen. Tony Aitchison, from Southern Cross Cycling Club, kindly offered to man the BBQ just to be involved in this momentous event. It really was a great team effort to run a show as well as we did.
As mentioned by Manly and North Sydney (who managed to get some facts right) the race was a sell-out and we had people at the registration desk begging for entries. We might have let some slip through the cracks, depending on what they were wearing but generally there were no exceptions!! Manly’s first attempt at sabotage was to throw our Trybooking’s website into chaos by entering Alexis Kaless into both A and B grade! But never fear he was really just buying up A grade entries for his clubmates!
So by the time the race started and our Commissaire (Matt Hynes) and his Assistant (Richie Jenkins) got the show on the road, there was a great buzz around the start/finish area and lots of spectators watching on with great interest. Brad McGarry (who learnt everything he knows from Crafty) kept the crowd interested with his commentary and it wasn’t long before most of the grades were fragmented and everyone was kept on their toes working out if riders were off the front or OTA!
With Manly, North Sydney and Central Coast (hope they had their GPS’s set right) coming to Heffron Park and not being used to our character building track and local conditions we did think that St John’s might have been busy, however we made sure there were lots of witches hats around the course so North Sydney felt at home and thankfully we didn’t require the service of any ambulances! We then turned on the sunshine and made sure the wind was blowing in the right direction to waft the smell of cooking sausages on the riders each lap – this tactic seemed to work well as the number of riders spectating, drinking beer and eating sausages increased as the race went on!!
So onto the racing….
A Grade – definitely had the who’s who of Sydney cycling on the start line. It was great to see some faces we haven’t see at Heffron Park for a while. We had most of our Masters Racing Team in A grade to keep an eye on proceedings and they worked tirelessly to try and pull the winning break back. It was not to be and of course the rest as you already know is history.
From all accounts B grade was a solid race and the pace was high from the start. Daniele Vanolini from RBCC drove the pace hard, establishing the breakaway dragging two Manly and two North Sydney riders along with him. Jacko and an anonymous rider (later found to be from SUVelo) went across to the break to even up the numbers. However the toll of spending all morning pushing the supermarket trolley around buying the sausages and the beer, had left Jacko with no energy whatsoever to work in the break. In the sprint the A graders from Manly were just too strong for us taking 1st and 3rd. Ironically, a rider who cannot be named for privacy reasons, sprinted in the chasing bunch and crossed the line claiming 2nd place, he was completely unaware of the break!
In C grade our game plan was clear and worked to perfection. We had the numbers and everyone worked well together getting the result we have worked so hard to achieve. All the allegations about the race winner, Peter Selkrig, seem completely unfounded given the photo below shows him passing B grade with clear air and taking the victory. Seeing Peter and Declan Jones on the podium for the club was inspiring and we are sure there will be more podiums to come for us during this series.
A big thanks to ESCC and CCCC for being part of the Battle and to Col Iremonger for helping out on the day. Thanks to all the clubs involved, it really was impressive seeing the North Sydney peloton roll into Heffron Park and we are looking forward to seeing what you guys can turn on for us all at Beaumont Road on 16 July.
We also await with baited breath to see what Manly can dream up for the point table and we may have to appoint an official scrutineer should there be any doubt as to its validity!!
Thanks Stu Baker for the awesome photos!
Chris Miller (SUVelo)
Jesse Coyle (SUVelo)
Michael Potter (NSCC)
Nicholas Martin (MWCC)
Ben Daley (SUVelo)
Scott Austin (MWCC)
Peter Selkrig (RBCC)
Minh Dinh (NSCC)
Declan Jones (RBCC)
Cameron Osborne (NSCC)
Henry Paton (MWCC)
Henry Davison (MWCC)
Female: Jennifer Darmody (SUVelo)