By Simon Veitch
The Southern Vets host this 5 race series each year and it is named in honor of club member the late Ron Williams. Each race contains a King of the Mountain point and points are accumulated over the series to give an overall King of the Mountain in each grade.
I started the race a bit nervous about my form as my last two races have been very ordinary but with the feeling I was coming good. The race started in McLaren Flat and headed towards Kangarilla for a few k’s before turning right onto Wickhams Hills and our KOM point. The climb is 3.1 km long with an average 7 % gradient so it is a good test. I was feeling pretty good at the start so I decided to go with my usual subtle tactical approach to a climb, smack it right from the bottom and hope I don’t burn out before the top. Wickham’s starts with its steepest section at the bottom so I rode a fast tempo, out of the saddle for the first 400m, dropping about half the field. Dave Anderson then took over pacing duties and I sat in until the first hairpin. Here the gradient eases a bit and I put it in the big ring and attacked again for about 300m. When I looked around a gap had been opened and it was time to see if I could hold to the top. I was maintaining a good tempo at around 19km/hr and the gap held to the top.
I recovered a bit at the top and waited to see who would join me. Aaron Drogemuller was with me pretty soon and we started working together to stay away from the rest. We maintained a good tempo across The Range and up the Meadows road. We missed the turnoff unfortunately and had to turn around, losing about 30 seconds but we still couldn’t see any pursuers so seemed to be going well. We went across Peters Creek Rd and onto the road back to McLaren Vale. At this turn we could see about 6 chasing us and had a quick chat about whether to sit up or keep going. We decided to keep going, but not full beans, and see what happened. The group caught us as we went through town, comprising team mate Greg Chivers, Dave Cox, Richard Mc Kenzie, Paz Russo, Dave Anderson and Stan Bastiras, so we were 8. We turned onto the climb up Chapman’s Rd at a good pace. I sat in the wheel until about 2/3 way up and the pace started to drop so I accelerated to try to thin the group out. Got a bit of a gap but the others were all together so I waited.
We turned onto Mc Murties Road and I am sure it is the only time I have raced down this road and it not be a strong headwind. There was a series of attacks, first Aaron, then Greg, then Stan, all chased down particularly by Dave who was working hard as usual. As we got to the 750m mark to go we were all back together, the pace slowed and I was in third wheel. The attacks and chases had taken a lot of energy from the group and everyone seemed happy to get some recovery so I figured this was my time and I launched an attack with about 600m to go. Looked around and I had a good gap, really hadn’t expected that so it was head down and try to hang on. Turned onto Hunt Rd and about 300m to go and the gap was holding. I crossed the line about 100m in the lead, pretty pleased with my mornings work. Aaron came in second, well deserved after all his work in the breakaway and The Chiv in third, proving non sprinters can sprint!
The weather gods decided to give us a break for the final race with a warm night to race and a bit of breeze to make it interesting.The thought was that the Corsa team (leading team and yellow jersey) would be happy to cover any moves from BE’s Davies to protect the jersey and well that sure did not happen.
Right from the gun they were on the attack with Nashie going first stirring things up and then McLoughlin got into the action. Each time we had a rider with them so the boys were playing their part and it was not long before 6 riders went clear before the first preme with Dave Cullen being in this group.Dave scored a 2nd in both premes to help his overall position in the sprint points and with Davies back in the peleton scoring no points, Dave may have even taken the jersey by one point! Will be interesting to see when the points are updated!
Anyway the 6 riders in the break did a great job to work well together and hold off the peleton as the BE boys tryed way too late to pull them back in. Dave did a great job to place 3rd at the finish to cap off a great season for him and if he was not enjoying himself over xmas on the Yorke Peninsula with his family living the life, who knows what he could have done!
Dave Millward, Kym Clark and BB did a good job back in the bunch riding strong and made sure they were there at the finish.The team will finished 3rd for the season and Dave Cullen took out the sprint Jersey, great effort from a man who claims not to know how to sprint ! A great result for a season that was a bit disjointed at times.
I would to thank Dave Cullen, Dave Millward, Shane Gill, Kym Clark and Greg Chivers for their efforts this season and their approach to the demands of team racing at this level.
Also thanks to our main sponsors Euride and Mercedes- Benz Adelaide plus Clipsal, Huon Salmon, Ozone Cleaning and Edwina Reid Neurophysiotherepy for their help.
Monday night saw the penultimate round for us old fellows and looking at the forecast for next Wednesday, will be the last.The evening brought a very hot starting temp around the 38-39 mark and everyone was looking weary even before the start. Our main goal was to be in any move but also be ready for a late attack as the field would be suffering towards the latter part due to the heat.
The first 10 minutes saw the usual strong men try their hand and every time Dave C, Dave M or BB were there covering the moves but all was together for the first preme.Dave C gained some more points with 4th and the bunch was strung out some going into the back straight so BB made a move up the right to test the waters and going into the finish straight realised that he was on his own.Its all or nothing when a gap opens up so quick and that is just what happened. The Corsa and BE boys were watching each other and BB was forging away thinking to himself…what the bloody hell am I doing?
For a number of laps the gap grew and Kym C was giving time gaps from the sidelines and then informed BB that 2 riders were coming across just before the 2nd preme. Ellerway and Bastiras, both from the second BE team made contact providing some relief for BB and this allowed the gap to widen further. For the 2nd preme BB rolled through in 1st and Dave C managed another 4th back in the bunch for some more points. It even looked like we would make contact with the bunch at one point but they managed to increase their pace to stay clear.Coming into the final 2 laps BB was keeping a close watch for a one-two from the team mates but Bastiras was happy to stay on the front leading into the finish straight and then it was a kick for the line with BB getting the jump on Ellerway and holding on for the win!
Dave C and Dave M finished in the bunch just outside the top 10.As said earlier this could be the last race for the series and if so will see the team finish in 3rd overall, BB move up to 4th in the individual and Dave C move to 3rd in the sprint premes.
Lets see what the weather gods bring!
The boys did a great job this round with Dave C riding strong at the right times claiming both preme sprints(who said this whippet could not sprint), well the first one was in a small break and the 2nd one saw Dave just ride off the front, as he does.
Kym C was having his first race this season and was doing well during the race following some moves and I hear did a big leadout on the last lap for the bunch sprint.
Shane and BB were always looking at the right move to be in and it happened after the 2nd preme when BB got in the winning move with Watters and Nashie. The 3 riders put the hammer down for a couple of laps and the gap grew to half a lap and then it was a game of saving enough for the finish. In the run for the line, BB let Watters lead into the straight thinking he could come around before the line but had to be happy with 2nd as Watters was too strong.
Meanwhile Shane was putting his sprint to the test coming home in 7th for some more good points for the team.
We are sitting in 3rd overall after 3 rounds and with a small break before the next race, will come out with guns a blazing on the 25th!
By Baden Brosnan