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Pt Fairy CC

July 5, 2003

Initial deflation ends in elation

By David Tozer

12 min group licking their lips
Photo: © David Tozer
Click for larger image

On the eve of the Centenary edition of the Tour de France, the pinnacle of competitive cycling, local 'mortals' attempted to imitate their hero's during last Saturdays weekly Port Fairy Cycling Club handicap. Contested over 31 kilometres, beginning from the Port Fairy Show-grounds, the handicapper chose to send the limit markers off with an eighteen minute start.

Six minutes later, the 12 minute group, lead by Lou McLaren and Jill Edwards set out to real in the limit markers. Next to be released was the eight minute bunch. This group had been bolstered by the return of one of the clubs favorites, Rex Habel who has overcome the effects of a nasty accident and looked pleased to be back in the fold.

Six and a half minutes after the departure of the Habel group and it was time for the 'chopping block' group to head off. With only one minute thirty start on the scratch markers, this group knew that the inevitable capture would occur and decided not to expend too much energy in the early part of the race. The scratch markers took off knowing that the early starters would be the ones to catch, the fact that the second last group was always in site meant that the two back groups would definitely combine.

Meanwhile, further up the road first time starter, Simon Dempsey had the misfortune of a puncture. Normally this would put an end to any hopes of victory. However a quick replacement of the deflated tube meant that Dempsey was able to resume in time to join the 12 minute group. Too his credit, Dempsey was able to contribute to the progress of the group and they were able to engulf the rest of the limit markers.

At the half way turn around, the race was in the balance. The scratch group was steadily catching the lead group but the tailwind assistance for the return journey would be pivotal in the final outcome.

With the help of the breeze the front-runners were able to hold off the fast finishing scratch group and in an amazing 'back from the dead' effort Simon Dempsey marked his rookie race with a convincing sprint finish. Jill Edwards and Lou McLaren filled out the podium places.

In another noteworthy effort, ten year old Geoff Cook, beat all riders home in the Junior event. Geoff completed 16 kilometres with ease to cross the line before all competitors.

Riders can return for their weekly fix of racing at 2.00pm this Saturday 12th July, At the Port Fairy Show-grounds. In a big week end for the club, the Victorian 100 Kilometre Championships will be held on Sunday 13th July at 10.00am. Many of Victoria's best cyclist will be on show racing around the two and a half kilometre Port Fairy street circuit.


Images by David Tozer

  • Before the race, most of the riders thought that the eventual winner would come from the 12 minute group.
  • Simon Dempsey (L) overcame many obstacles to capture his first win.


1 Geoff Cook (Junior)
2 Simon Dempsey            1.02.15
3 Jill Edwards
4 Lou McLaren
5 Doc Nicholls
6 Lester Campbell
7 David Tozer                 1.16
8 Hank Winnen
9 Craig Taylor
10 Darryl Edwards 

Australian results from the past week

Randwick Botany CC
Illawarra CC Scratch Race
Beverly Shire Cycling Classic
Velo Tour Race #2


Complete Australian results for 2003