Illawarra cycle club returns to racing on the spectacular Mt Keira course……
On Saturday 10th April 2021, the ICC finally returned to road racing on our new course on Mt Keira. The racing consisted of 4 grades, with the juniors and social riders testing the course prior to the commencement of racing.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank our Race Director Mario Sessini, Commissaire Geoff Gooley, and all our volunteers in making our first race such a huge success. Our first race attracted over 90 cyclists from all over the State. The ICC will continue to race this course in 2021. Now for our race reports.
With 51 local riders entered and 44 entries from across NSW the event was a huge success. The following regions were represented:
- Bairnsdale Cycling Club
- Camden Cycling Club
- Manly Warringah CC
- MTBA – Greenvalleys Mountain Bike Club
- MTBA – Southern Highland Cycling Club
- MTBA – Wollongong Mountain Bike Club
- Nowra Velo
- Parklife CC
- South Perth Cycle Club
- Southern Cross CC
- Southern Highlands CC
- Sutherland Shire CC
- Waratah Masters CC
With roads open to the public from 1pm we saw a number of locals take the opportunity to ride the scenic course without cars.
From 1:30pm we had some junior rides followed by the main graded racing at 2pm.
Across the board the racing was of a very high standard with all racers reporting tough racing and a challenging course.
ICC Vice President.
The racing was fast from the beginning, with many riders attacking in the fast corners and the hillier sections.
There was a breakaway towards the end of the race that was pulled back on the final turn approx. 3km from the finish.
A tight bunch of 114 riders took the last corner at speed with an uphill bunch sprint to the finish. Rhys Clarke from Camden was the winner over Oliver Ludlam from Southern Cross with Luke Skelly from southern Highlands in 3rdplace.
A field of over 30 local and interstate riders representing nine different clubs lined up for the start of the 40-kilometre B grade mixed scratch race.
Racing was on from the start with a number of riders launching solo attacks during the first three of five laps. On lap four, a dangerous break of five riders including the Illawarra Cycle Club father and son pairing of Rod and Jake Latham, Dayna Davidson, Chris Boyle and Neil Arnold went up the road and opened a small gap over the bunch. A strong chase ensued and the breakaways were brought back after several kilometres off the front.
At that point it appeared that the bunch would stay together until the end, however Dayna Davidson, Southern Cross Cycle Club had other ideas and launched her solo bid for glory just before the start of lap five with over eight kilometres to go. Strong riding by Davidson combined with some hesitation from the bunch saw her lead blow out to over thirty seconds before Dean Marcinkowski, Illawarra Cycle Club took up the chase and stirred the bunch in to action. Davidson was caught about three kilometres out from the line at which point Graham Rutter, Sutherland Shire Cycle Club attacked on the hill before the final turnaround with Arnold on his wheel.
The pair opened a small gap however the move was quickly shut down as the finish approached. On the final corner, with 750 metres to go, Rod Latham launched a long range sprint, however faded to 5th place as Arnold, Charlie Kent, Davidson and Jake Latham came past. In a drag race to the line, Arnold, Illawarra Cycle Club narrowly held off fast finishing club mate Kent, with Davidson claiming 3rd.
The first race in the ICC Mt Keira series was held in sunny conditions with a gusty at times westerly wind. Illawarra jerseys stacked the bunch that lined up accompanied by riders from Manly-Warringah CC, Camden CC, Southern Cross CC, Southern Highlands CC. All riders were eager to get into what would turn out to be a strongly contested 32km’s of scratch racing.
Riders respected the neutral zone and remained very orderly to the first turn around where the gloves came off and the racing started proper. Illawarra riders upped the tempo, stringing out the bunch and putting it in the gutter making it difficult for those who failed to take the turn within the top half of the group. Passing through the start finish point the paced surged and riders started popping off the back.
Laps two and followed the trend of lap one with the pressure being applied through the turns and Illawarra riders managing anything that resembled a break away. On the last lap everything blew apart when the bunch rounded the Picton Road turnaround for the last time when the youngster Ben Coates (MWCC) launched an explosive attack from the middle of the bunch. The bunch disintegrated leaving a handful of riders at the Coal Loader turn trailing the new race leader Scott Wallace (ICC).
At the finish Wallace (ICC) held on for first place followed by Ben Coates (MWCC) and Stephen Franklin (ICC) took out second and third. Fraser Bliesner and Tom Futia made up the top five.
All riders were treated to a beautiful, sunny, Saturday afternoon for the inaugural race on ICC’s new Mt Keira course. An 8km circuit of smooth asphalt and varied terrain awaited the D grade bunch, providing great opportunities to push limits on those winding descents and punchy climbs. Starting at the rear of the bunch allowed me time to identify those who I’d very soon see at the finish line. Breaks appeared after the first lap and the shuffle for positions began. One by one, I closed each gap until I found myself in a bunch 10 riders at the front. A lap later, the bunch halved again and being behind fatigued legs resulted in me bridging across to the lead group. As a fast bunch, we worked well together to keep the pace high.
On approach to the fin
al lap, the race marshal happened to be preoccupied, resulting in a very late showing of the #1 as he appeared from behind the car. I burnt a few matches on the final lap to get some separation from those behind me but was soon caught and struggling to hang on due to poor timing. A lone rider then attacked off the front and was not to be seen again. I missed my shot to chase back and with the finish line insight, I was racing for 2nd place. Fatigue and confusion slowed the pace down within the last 100 metres, that’s when I knew I had to go. I unleashed some rage watts after missing an opportunity to join the lead rider, securing 2nd place on the day.
In the end, It was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend it if you’re new to racing!