Tour of the South West

In its first year on the cycling calendar, the Tour of the South West didn’t disappoint the rider’s expectations in what was a terrific event with great racing. The weather was windy but fine for Saturday mornings stage 1 road race until the weather turned upside down in the afternoon for the stage 2 Time Trial providing some added rain to the already challenging windy conditions. Stage 1 saw the Torq/BSS Victorian Team Riders of Robbie Hucker, Jack Haig and myself line up in the Elite Men’s A Grade field which was hotly contested by some of the top riders from all over Australia. The South Australian (SASI), Drapac Porsche and Budget Forklist teams were the ones to watch, but a strong contingent of Victorian based riders and teams made racing that little bit more furious. A 17km loop consisting of short climbs, flat roads and very strong cross winds was to be undertaken 7 times (119km’s) and from the very first lap, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be an easy course to race on. Narrow roads ensured the bunch was never going to stay together with many small breaks developing throughout the field. Robbie, Jack and I were riding well as a team up the front, keeping out of trouble and being protected from the strong cross-winds. My legs were feeling really good and the course was perfectly suited to my riding style and physique. On lap 2 however, I looked down at my rear wheel which was going flat and I couldn’t believe it. I was given a spare wheel from the spares van and proceeded to chase the bunch which was already 2 minutes up the road. By then, there was no chance of re-joining the bunch which was well into the distance and my race was over. Not every race is going to go your way and this weekend was an example of one that most definitely didn’t. Luckily for Jack and Robbie, they were both able to stay out of trouble and ride well with Jack finishing in 6th place and Robbie finishing in the 2nd main bunch. A great result for both boys in tough conditions. Stage 2, a 12km Individual Time-Trial which was once again heavily affected by strong cross winds which made everyone think carefully about how they would plan their race. Finishing into a strong head wind, it was obvious that you needed to save some energy for the last half of the race. With my overall Tour chances out the window, I decided to give my Time Trial bike to brother Jarryd, who was racing in B Grade and had a better contention to place well in his overall tour standings than I did. My road bike and alloy training wheels was to be my ‘race rig’ and with the Tour now just a training and valuable experience event, it was a perfect chance to ride a 12km tempo effort on the Road bike. Robbie and Jack both rode strongly on their road bikes to stay in contention of a respectable overall finish and I was also happy with my very respectable time and decision to give my TT bike to Jarryd for an added advantage. The final stage 3 took place around a cemetery which was a very interesting place for a criterium circuit. A short but steep 200m climb was the most difficult part of the course and proved to be a race changing obstacle with many attacks being created on this climb. A break of 7 riders was established 30minutes into the race and included both Jack and Robbie. I was riding strongly up the front of the bunch but couldn't quite find the legs to make it across to the main break. In the end, Robbie took control to finish off with a win with Jack finishing in 4th to cap off a great day. I cruised home in 10th position in what was a fast and furious crit race with less than half the field finishing. Great result boys! Next race is on the Dirt at the Forrest 6hr MTB event. It will be a bit of fun before the road racing steps up another level over the next few months. Keep posted for my next report, Cheers Brenton


Popular Posts