2013 Gunning 2 Day

The 2013 Peter McLennan Memorial Gunning Two Day Tour 6th - 7th April 2013

Peter McLennan Gunning 2 Day Tour Report

Perfect weather, good bunch sizes and no safety incidents helped make the 2013 Gunning Two Day a memorable one. All stages started on time and initial results were printed within 20 minutes or so. All in all a great event and thanks to the tireless band of experienced helpers, the race administration remained in the background.

The event commemorates the late Peter McLennan, a tireless worker for the club who was tragically killed in an accident just over 3 years ago. Peter worked very hard to build club numbers up to 200 and wanted large fields doing longer distance races. He would have been so pleased to see the club now numbers 350 and all but 20 riders did the 100 kilometre course on Sunday, rather than the 'short' option of 50 km.

The prologue time trial started right on time and riders were off, plunging down towards the Fish River before the short climb to the finish. The climb is not much of a gradient, but appears so much steeper as you try to finish with a good time. This year saw a mild headwind spring up after the first riders had left, so year by year comparisons do not mean much. Plus, many competitors were mindful of the large collection of broken glass strewn across the road, the result of careless dumping or a rubbish bag bouncing out of a utility. Lee Hooper spent well over 30 minutes sweeping, even after the time trial started.

In a field of just under 90, 4 riders managed times of under 6 minutes.

Roger Northcote's time as the fastest B grade rider also gave him the 4th fastest time of any rider, including the tandems, so well done Roger! Most grades showed a time separation of 30 seconds to 1 minute from fastest to slowest, but it is always interesting to watch the spread of skills across this discipline, where the winning rider in D grade would have had a competitive time had he ridden in A grade.

Spare a thought for Graham Hendrie - he set off just before A grade's Steve Blackburn with Henry Beaverstock and Sue Frost driving by in the lead car at high speed, trying to beat Steve to the finish line. Henry co-ordinated his stopwatch with Steve's departure, then raced to the finish to record the results and pull Graham off his bike so that Graham could take over the electronic data collection with his laptop. It is a tribute to the efficiency of this pair that no-one got the wrong time, with 1 change to someone who missed the start and was subsequently accommodated at the end.

Thirty minutes after the start, the race results were printed off and made available on the internet.

Stage 1 was a 50 km road race to Breadalbane for all grades with sprint primes on the Cullerin range. Gone are the days where lower grades turned at the poplars. This year the big bunches kept the KOM judges and the line judges on their toes. A grade had 16 keen riders who basically stayed together, swamping the finishing chute as they sprinted for the line. C grade saw a clear win by a well-known rider who seemed to want to gift the win to someone else. Unfortunately, he sat up a few hundredths of a second too early and saw his plan foiled by 3 impartial judges, who all thought he had just won! Strong finishes by David Gunther and the welcome return to the club of the aptly-named Phil Anderson highlighted the lower grade finishes, topped off by a fine performance by James Meredith.

Day 2 traditionally sees A, B and C do two laps of the Gunning Breadalbane course but this year, D grade and the tandem riders also wanted the extended course. Cycling Australia also conduct championships on the Sunday and while their turn point is 500 or 600 metres short of our finish line, their finish line is a few hundred metres from the Breadalbane turn. Luckily Ross Robinson negotiated a compromise and the 2 highly-skilled KOM judges of Paul Scherl and Vince Dunn stood poised to resolve two bunches travelling in opposite directions reaching the KOM point simultaneously. Luckily this did not happen and they managed to avoid recording Cycling Australia numbers in the mix.

The heat was building up and as A grade reached the start / finish for the first lap, the pace had taken a toll and Michael Tolhurst led a bunch of 3 riders grimly hanging onto his wheel. Like limpets they had been holding on since the KOM sprint. Even the tandem had been dropped. B grade saw David Dixon well out in front and not many B grade riders wanted water bottles as they continued to pursue Dave. It was left to D grade and the tandems for the leisurely turn, gentlemanly truce and pleasant chat as water bottles were exchanged for full ones, with the odd shout of "remember we are neutral" as they rode off.

With almost 3 hours' racing completed, the final sprints were memorable.

Luckily for the finish line judges, the long rise towards the line spreads out the field, assisting judging. Particularly memorable were the sprints from Christophe, with an interesting verbal commentary from a strong sprinter who thought he might have gained 1 or 2 positions in the dying stages. The pure class of the Dale Teddy sprint, made it all look easy.

Two minutes before lunch at Gunning was ready, results were printed out and placed on the web. After a high-standard feed from the Gunning Showground Committee and a short overview of Peter McLennan's contribution, club president Rob Diamond handed out medals and trophies, signalling the conclusion of a most successful event.

It would be remiss not to mention those volunteers who helped out, giving up an opportunity to ride to assist those who wanted to: Start line - Bill Frost, Henry Beaverstock and Alex Sommariva. Chute - Leo Biurra and Jan Koehler.

Breadalbane - Ross Robinson. KOM - Lee Hopson, Angie Wren, Belinda Wren, Vince Dunn and Paul Scherl. Drivers - Chris Chant, Sue Frost, Ally Roche and Dave Hennessy.

Many thanks to Bill Frost for refereeing the event.

At the presentation ceremony, Club President Rob Diamond paid tribute to Peter McLennan and also thanked the members of the local show society for putting on another great lunch.

The medal winners in each grade were;

Tandems: 1st Ashley Carruthers and Lindy Hou (left), 2nd Don Mankewicz and Rosemary Robinson and (centre), 3rd Elton Ivers and John Barlow (right);

G Grade: 1st James Meredith (left), 2nd Bruce Jones (centre) and 3rd Bernie Crowe (right);

F Grade: 1st Phil Anderson (left), 2nd Terence Mulligan (centre), 3rd Graham Hendrie (right);

E Grade: 1st Craig Kentwell (left), 2nd David Gunther (centre), 3rd Liz Lowe (right);

D Grade: 1st Dale Teddy (absent), 2nd Mark Taylor (right), 3rd Brian McGlynn (left)

C Grade: 1st Robert Britten (centre), 2nd Allan Bontjer (left), 3rd Michael Reppion (right)

B Grade: 1st Kevin Goodman (centre), 2nd Roger Northcote (left), 3rd Michael Fawke (right)

A Grade: 1st Michael Tolhurst (absent), 2nd Matthew Kinch (left), 3rd Jeremy Gillman-Wells (right)

The helpers who made Gunning possible