Also known as the Tom Probert Teams Challenge, hosted by both Coburg & Sunbury Cycling Clubs, this annual battle was fought at Calder Park Raceway on Sunday 27th May.
A group of 10 SKCC warriors, captained by Cam Lester, represented SKCC in this A Grade teams race.
The first break of 10 riders went out early, within the first lap. SKCC’s (not so secret) weapon, Dave Kelly and his chiselled calves of steel, and Rowan Dever made the break with Luke MacKenzie unlucky not to get across in the formative stages also. The remaining 7 SKCC riders breathed a sigh of relief as this appeared a winning team move.
The break dangled in front of the main bunch for the first 10 laps with the SKCC team banding together to monitor any attempts to jump across. Coburg with only one team member in the break were keen to get an extra member across , whilst Nathan Elliott (Brunswick), Shannon Johnson (Preston), Shane Miller (Coburg) were all making their presence felt in the break. 10 laps into the 25 lap race, on a sprint lap and on the back straight, Rowan gave Dave the go ahead to drive off the front in an attempt to split the bunch further. Four of the ten riders got away, Elliott, Johnson, Miller & our Dave. But with the finish line approaching for a sprint lap, the lead group decided four’s a crowd and Shannon Johnson slipped off the back and rejoined the second bunch. Unfortunately Rowan and another rider were collateral damage of the pressure Dave applied to the break and drifted back to the main bunch.
An error in the counting of the riders away, thinking there were only 2 Brunswick riders rather than 3, left SKCC team members a little more confident than they should have been and as such left it to the Coburg riders to close the gap to the second group. Maybe they counted better and called our bluff which allowed the breaks to slowly increase their gap for the remaining laps. The remainder of the race saw Nathan, Dave & Shane swapping turns until the final sprint for the finish with Nathan taking line honours, Dave a close second and Shane third with no SKCC riders in the second bunch of five. SKCC riders dominated the main bunch taking the only available points in 9thand 10thplace. It was an impressive effort by all particularly the last 5km lead out by Rowan Dever and Chris Smith engineering the bunch sprint into an SKCC advertisement with 4 SKCC riders in the top 5 bunch finishes
The final result saw Brunswick taking Gold and SKCC awarded Silver.
Awesome bunch of guys and great team work. It is events like this that leave all involved feeling like they are a part of something bigger – their club.
Many thanks to Simon Meagher who braved the cold to take these brilliant photos.
Contributor: Cam Lester