22nd March 2015
VLCC, Founders Day Graded Scratch Race
Simon Wong and Steve Hampton (pilot)
The 54km Founders Day Graded Scratch race involved nine laps of the Mersey Road circuit at Outer Harbour. This race marked the second appearance of stoker Simon Wong and his pilot Steve Hampton lining up against a field of able bodied cyclists in B Grade, a promotion from C grade in which they raced last time.
It was a field of 16 competitors on a fine day; Simon/Steve were the only tandem team in the race. Simon Cooper initiated an attack right from the starting line. There were ongoing attacks and counter attacks so there were frequent fast surges throughout the race. At about the mid-point of the race, Simon/Steve and Russell Hodson made an attempt at breaking away but only lasted a few km before being shut down. With about 3 laps to go, Simon Cooper and Paul Heaft had a 100m break on the main group when James Bodroghy powered across. Simon/Steve made a couple of serious attempts to leave the peloton to catch the leaders but were unable to make any significant gains. Turning into the head wind at the start of the last lap, Steve saw the gap had narrowed a little between the main bunch and the leaders, and made a desperate effort to leave the main bunch and catch the leaders. According to Simon’s Runkeeper app data, they did a km at 45.7kph then followed by another km at 49.2kph to bridge the gap. Simon/Steve then worked with the leading bunch to try and keep their distance from the pursuing group. With less than a km before the finishing line, Simon was itching to launch into a sprint but Steve kept saying “back off a little”. With about 400m to go, Simon Cooper launched into his final attack and everyone went with him. Simon/Steve gave it everything they had and chased him down getting to the front with about 200m to go. They managed to hang on to win by 3/10th of a second from James Bodroghy.
The squad spent 12 very focused weeks preparing for the Nationals and our preparations were not without their ups and downs. We were privileged to have the support of so many fabulous pilots who were pitching in to make sure our vision impaired (VI) riders were on the road between three and four times per week. Our pilot support base is the most significant key to our success, and we are extremely grateful to have them helping us.
We also had our most significant training accident since the beginning of the program. One of our VI athletes fractured a cheek bone and eye socket and underwent two reconstructive surgeries following a training crash. Unfortunately the accident brought an end to his Nationals campaign.
We couldn’t have hoped for better results at the Nationals. The team looked truly amazing. Our kit in high numbers made a significant impact, with some people amazed to see our squad having expanded from the previous year. We continue to be the only para team run as a private enterprise.
The girls led the way, with Elizabeth D’sylva Clark and pilot Victoria Veitch taking out the bronze medal in the Time Trial. They backed up on the second day to take the silver medal in the 85km road race. It was a lesson in fortitude for Elizabeth, who was vomiting during the second of four laps. She held herself together and kept focusing on her technique as the two girls kept the pace on to hold off the bronze medallists.
The major excitement was the prestigious men’s 105km road race. The defending champions had not been beaten on home soil for five years, and have world cup titles and world records to their credit. But the Euride Mercedes-Benz Adelaide team have changed the landscape of tandem racing. The pairings of Kieran Modra/David Parsons and Damien Williams/Mike Hoile were able to control the race. An extraordinary lead out by Damien and Mike was finished off in a sprint to the line by Kieran and David who took gold over their rivals by half a bike length. Damien and Mike finished strong to claim bronze. Congratulations also go to our other participants Neil Massey with Mat Miller, Beau Wotton with Paul Murray, Keiran Murphy with Tristan Ferguson and Simon Wong with Simon Veitch.
World Para Cycling Track Championships 2014
Kieran Modra and his track pilot Jason Niblett travelled to Mexico for the World Para Cycling Track Championships. Kieran has again done his county proud by winning two silver medals – in the 1km Time Trial and the Sprint. Sounds like that sprint came in handy for the National road race!