Dog Trap Road - Cole Family Trophy Secret Handicap Report – 14th May

After our President, Alex O'Shea, died this week there was some thought regarding whether to proceed with the race, but I think most members rightly assumed we would carry on. There was no better way to honour Alex’s memory than to turn up and race, or help with the race. I had only volunteered to referee the day before with an email to Alex. Ben Davis and Rob Landridge together took over Alex’s role of organising some details. Ian sent out a Bleat seeking a few more helpers and by Saturday we had sufficient volunteers to run the race.

The weather was lovely, a fine mild sunny Autumn afternoon, and a good turnout of 50 racers. However my heart sank when two riders came back from their warmup with a handful of brass thumb tacks each. Some idiot had emptied a box of tacks around the causeway near the finish;

The club has endured such dangerous sabotage before, but it seemed worse to be so targeted this week. John Paul went with a broom to complete clearing the causeway area, but we knew some tacks would be carried down the road and redeposited by cars. Luckily, only one rider found a tack with a tyre during the race, and did not crash.

Now in a normal handicap we send out the grades in reverse order, at handicapped intervals, and first across the line wins. Secret handicaps are the only races where the whole club starts at once, and the winner is the fastest secret handicap corrected time. The format leads to different tactics and encourages everyone to race hard to the end, because no-one knows who is winning! Past winners have come from all grades. A few years ago we ran the secret handicap from Gundaroo north towards Gunning and back, but the traffic on that road has increased. Dog Trap road is a much better venue: a pretty area with great views and much less traffic, one short sharp hill near the North turning point, and otherwise gently rolling terrain suitable for fast bunch riding that will win a handicap.

From the start the four A graders cleared off as fast as they could uphill to the first turn, but Michael Carr and Aaron Sedgman of B-grade stayed with them. Following the lead bunch of six first time past the start/finish: there were a few riders in no-mans land and then a large powerful bunch of over 10 that was mostly C-grade, a couple of B-grade, and a few D-grade riders; then there was another bunch of about six D-grade and E-grade riders working well together. Most other riders were in smaller bunches. The groups formed in the first few kilometres largely kept together through the race, though some riders escaped or were dropped in the drive to the line from the last turn. It was no surprise to see Mark Harris sprint to the line first, narrowly leading a group of four that included Aaron Sedgman from B-grade. The largest bunch of nine contested a close sprint finish less than six minutes behind, and the three D-graders in that bunch: Mark Stevenson, Seymour Savell-Boss and Terry Moore; took all three top spots after Graham had entered Rob’s secret handicap corrections. Places 4-6 went to E grade riders Phillip Anderson, Ally Roche and Donald de Smet who finished in the next bunch six minutes later, but only one minute slower on corrected time. close together.

So Mark Stevenson won the gent’s Cole Family Trophy, with Seymour Savell-Boss second and Philip Anderson third.

Terry Moore took the ladies Cole Family Trophy, with Ally Roche and Barbara Bayliss taking home medals.

Many thanks to the marshals, drivers and helpers: Tony Weir, Dale Kleeman, John Paul de Sousa, Bruce Jones, Des Brown, Richard Gorrell, Ian Morton, Rob Landridge and the magnificent Graham Hendrie.