The Rapha party came to Sydney and it really was super.
Word by Sean Couley
Saturday 16 November2013 saw the Rapha SuperCross Series travel to Sydney, following the first SuperCross series in Melbourne last year. The Spokes People, who organised the day, found an excellent location at Sydney Park in the inner western suburb of St Peters. The night before the race, Sydney got absolutely pounded with almost 100mm of rain falling. To my surprise the venue was in very good nick, probably due to the course being set on the side of a hill so the water would have just run off instead of soaking. The course itself featured a nasty paved climb which those I arrived with called Sydney’s own Kopperberg. Once at the top, riders traversed the hill back down with plenty of off-camber corners, some short power climbs and 2 sets of barriers.
In a complete switch compared to every other cyclocross race I have attended, the elite men were the first race of the day. It was obvious from the warm-up that the pit area was going to feature in the race, as large thorns littered the course. Plenty of punctures had made it difficult for some to even make it to the start line. The stacked field included National Champion Allan Iacuone, Canberra’s Andy Blair, NSW State Champion Nick Both, Adelaide’s Shaun Lewis and Under 19 National Champion Tom Chapman.
After a close tussle in the first few laps, which saw Allan Iacuone chest-plant the ground on one of the many off-camber corners (along with Garry Millburn having an untimely puncture), a select lead group of three formed containing Lewis, Blair and Chris Aitken. Aitken was hanging tough and looked in good touch until he too was dropped from the group, following, you guessed it, a puncture. On the final lap Lewis put in a devastating attack to gap Blair on the ‘mini Kopperberg’. As a result he held a 4-second gap to Blair for the remainder of the final lap, enabling Lewis to cross the finish line with both hands in the air. Finishing third was Nick Both. True to form, Nick rode at a pace that he made look comfortable,moving through the field as the race progressed to finish strongly as others faltered, and the front two tried to outfox each other.
The Crossmas Cup
‘who says you can’t race cross in the height of summer?’
words by Sean Couley
The Crossmas Cup was held as per tradition on Wednesday 11 December 2013 (second closest to Christmas). As organiser Rob Parbery reminded all in attendance, don’t let those Melbourne boys fool you: the Crossmas Cup is Australia’s oldest annual CX race,having started in 2006. It’s a one-off, stand-alone race held in conjunction with the Manly Warringah MTB summer short track series.
As people turned up to St Ives showground still wearing their work clothes, it was becoming obvious that a lot of the cars had full-on CX rigs on the roof. It was a good sign. In total, 18 people signed up for the shortened twenty-minute summer version of CX racing. Unfortunately the field was missing Nick Both, who didn’t know CX was a separate race so didn’t bring his bike; and Garry Millburn, who had suffered a nasty kitchen accident (don’t ask), did not race. To take their place was young NRS rider Tom Patton, who looked prime in what I believe was his first cyclocross race. Also attending was Sydney CX stalwart Duncan Markham on a questionable cross bike, and other Manly Warringah locals. More impressive was seeing people who had travelled from as far as the other side of the bridge, and even from Newcastle!