For the first time in a few years, we had a perfect day for the Memorial Race, which was a treat - particularly compared to last weekend’s hurricane conditions! With a bunch of 41 Senior Riders willing to take on the tough course, in honour of some of the great cycling names from the Deep South, there was much prestige and several trophies up for grabs: The Murray McLeay Trophy for the Overall win, the L K Wilson Trophy for the Fastest Time, and the Martin Verbeek Trophy for the first C-Grader, with the Juniors racing for the Curtis Dunn Memorial.
In the Senior Race, front markers Helen McKenzie and Kate Wilson, were off on their way at 11am sharp and looked to be working well together. They held off the chasers for a good chunk of the course, Kate taking off on her own from Fortrose, before taking out the Letter Box Hill Climb, chipping away solo before eventually being caught by the chasing bunch at Gorge Road on the return leg home.
A very strong 2nd Limit bunch of 9 riders, set off in pursuit of the two front markers and worked together very smoothly, driven by Sid Cumming and Antony Garvey. This mark eventually whittled down to 5 riders, with Sam Kopae, Marty Lohrey, Tony Raggett, Garvey and Cumming combining seamlessly to catch the front markers, with Garvey taking out the Gorge Road Hill Climb on the way back.
Six minutes behind 2nd Limit, the Mid Markers set off on their way with Jeff Rooney and Ant Leathart driving the pace (particularly from Letter Box Hill), followed by a sound 2nd Break mark of 8 riders, and a mix of youth and “Masters Force” in a very solid 10-man Break mark.
With only three riders on Scratch, due to the unavailability of some of our local stars, and a 46 minute time gap to close down to get to the front of the race, it wasn’t going to be an easy day out for Rob Huisman, Luke Macpherson and Pieter Bulling! With Bulling pulling the pin in the opening stages, Huisman and Macpherson were forced to dig deep, and showed true class to reel in the marks ahead, combining with the resilient Break Mark and then a sturdy 2nd Break, featuring a very strong Gabby Vermunt, and eventually the hard-working Middle Markers, as they continued their drive towards the front of the race.
With a time gap of 4 minutes 30 seconds at Gorge Road, it was looking like the finish would be a handicappers dream. At Tisbury rise the time gap was down to 1 minute 30 seconds and the pressure was on the front markers, as those of us at the finish scrambled to get cameras and videos at the ready for a possible big bunch finish.
Coming around the final bend, it was clear that the courageous front makers had held off, with Sid Cumming leading the group in and unleashing an awesome sprint to convincingly take the win from Tony Raggett, Sam Kopae and Marty Lohrey, with the chasing bunch hot on their heels, only 35 seconds behind, led in by Mike White in 5th, followed by Garry Smith, Brendan Akeroyd, Rob Huisman and Antony Garvey. Gabby Vermunt was 1 minute 8 seconds back to round out the top 10, followed by hard working Scratchie Luke Macpherson.
The following groups were mixes of all the marks, and a very weary but happy lot headed to the Sarah Ulmer Lounge at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome to compare war stories and enjoy a well-earned afternoon tea and special prizegiving. We were lucky enough to be joined by the Dunn Family to present the Junior Awards (the Junior race report will be posted separately) and Graham Sycamore, who spoke about all of the trophies and the people they were in memory of – an important part of the day. Thank you very much Syccie!
HUGE thank you to all those who helped us out with Marshalling, Judging, Sign On and the finish – We couldn’t have done it without you! A particularly big thank you to Peter Grandiek, Mark Day, Allan Milne, Ray Robinson, Robin Criglington, Kirstie James and also the Kew Bowling Club, who allowed us to use their rooms at the start of the race.
1 Sid Cumming – Murray McLeay Trophy – 2:55:00
2 Tony Raggett “ “
3 Sam Kopae “ “
4 Marty Lohrey “ “
5 Mike White +0.35
6 Garry Smith “ “
7 Brendan Akeroyd “ “
8 Rob Huisman “ “
9 Antony Garvey “ “
10 Gabby Vermunt + 1:08
Letter Box Hill Climb: Kate Wilson
Gorge Road Hill Climb: Antony Garvey
1st C Grader: Sid Cumming – Martin Verbeek Trophy
Fastest Woman: Gabby Vermunt - 2:40:43
2nd Fastest Time: Luke Macpherson - 2:30:43
Fastest Time: Rob Huisman – L K Wilson Cup - 2:29:35