ACT Veterans Cycling Club

Hello Vets,

In the Bleat this week;

•  Final Opportunity: ACTVCC Evaluation Survey

•  Race support needed

•  From the Desk of the Handicapper

•  From the Race Committee

•  COVID-19 Restrictions

•  Racing this Week

•  Race Reports

Ian Morton

Final Opportunity: ACTVCC Evaluation Survey

There are two days remaining to complete this survey for current Vets members (including those not racing), former Vets members, and other cyclists in the ACT and surrounding region aged 30 and over who are interested in cycle-racing, including members of other cycling clubs.

Thank-you to those who have already completed this survey, including over a third of current Vets members. This survey will help to identify how we can better engage with our membership and the broader cycle-racing community.

Responses are anonymous and we value your feedback and thoughts. The findings will assist us to identify what works well and where we can improve, and will support the Committee to make informed decisions to respond to the needs and interests of members. We have engaged an external evaluator to help us with this work.

Access the survey here:

The survey closes on Wednesday 25 November 2020.For more information about the evaluation activities, visit the ACTVCC website:

Race support needed

The club is extremely lucky to have Graham Hendrie looking after, and bringing out to races, our race van. Graham also manages the timing and results recording and uploading into RMS. This operates like a pro rider, very smooth looking but a lot of hard work going on.

Graham is looking to take a break from marshal duties, so we need to start looking at transitioning some of the tasks that he does to other people. This could be a member of the club, a family member or someone who has spare time and an interest in cycling. If you are interested in helping out, or know someone who would be, please get in touch with the race Committee.

Remember, it’s up to everyone in the club to help ensure we continue to have a viable ongoing race program.

From the Desk of the Handicapper

Allan Bontjer

I have some very upsetting news to report from Allan’s partner Nat. Allan fell off a wall while gardening yesterday and is currently in an induced coma. His prospects were dire last night, but he’s improved slightly and is stable as of this morning. Allan is the consummate club stalwart, having completed 706 club events and worked tirelessly behind the scenes keeping the RMS going over the years. Allan’s famous post-race cough has rung out over Stromlo for many years and let’s all hope and pray that we will hear it again or see him sitting on a wall there watching the other grades sometime in the future. It was only last Tuesday night when Allan, I, Mark Harris and others had a hilarious time watching events unfold as the easterly blew in causing the B and D bunches to split and riders to pack it in. Adding to the mayhem was my attempt at kangaroo control that nearly sent an entire mob into the path of the B grade bunch.

Please contact me directly should you wish to know more or connect with Nat.

Spice up your ride to Lake George

Ever wondered what’s on the hill on the left side of the Federal Highway when passing Lake George on the way to Sydney? Well, there’s a dirt road from Collector to Gundaroo that traverses those hills before you plunge down to Gundaroo on Marked Tree Road. The view halfway is quite spectacular.

ACT Veterans Cycling Club


This weeks handicaps;
– Paul Watson B to A
– David Rowe D to C
– Rafi Khan C to B

Rob Langridge

From the Race Committee

Optional Pre-entry for Tuesday’s Crit

We are going to trial pre-entries for this week’s crit at Stromlo. Pre-entry will close at 3:50pm on Tuesday to allow the race start sheets to be printed off. You will be entered into your Crit grade. If you’re not sure what this is, look it up in by searching on your race number. Pre-entered riders do not have to sign on, just turn with your grade start for the race briefing. Riders can still enter on the day in the office with cash or card.

Pinless Clips

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Conan Liu, the club will be providing all Vets racers with free pin-less clips for attaching our race numbers.

These are great accessories for us to each use, negating the need for ‘safety’ pins and the fact safety pins are not that safe when dropped and puncture a tire…

These are simple to use, however, care should be taken when taking them off because if you’re too vigorous and begin yanking it is possible to damage the jersey. It is best to take your time and lever the back off of the front.

The pin-less clips will be available at the sign on desk from tomorrow’s criterium. We will try and get some out to the Trackies on Wednesday and in the race van from Sunday’s race.

Thanks again to Conan for all he’s done on this matter for the club.

ACT Veterans Cycling Club

Hygiene in the Bunch

At last week’s Crit there was a complaint from a member that a fellow rider during the race expelled nose mucus mid group. This is not acceptable at anytime but with the current COVID-19 health warnings this action puts all riders in the group at a significant risk due to the close proximity of racing.

All members are advised that this activity will not be tolerated and if reported to a committee member or race official action will be taken to disqualify the member from racing for a period of time.

COVID-19 Restrictions

There are legal requirements in place for people returning to the ACT from Victoria and particular places in New South Wales to self-quarantine.

Members who have been to any of these locations in the past 14 days should be complying with ACT Government quarantine restrictions.

Members should stay home if you have been feeling unwell or showing symptoms of COVID-19 or been in contact with someone who has felt unwell in the past 2 weeks.


Tuesday, 24th November: Stromlo Criterium

Reminder: You can pre-register online on the RMS: or pay cash/EFTPOS on the day.

Where: Stromlo Forest Park
Sign on: 15 mins before scheduled start time wearing your registered number.
Race Description:
B/D 5:50 B 40m+2, D 35m+2
E/F/G 6:35 28 min + 2 laps
A/C 7:10 A 40m+2, C 35m+2

Race Director:  Simon Porombka Contact: Email:    Ph  0418 232 639

Marshals: Ben Zeller

Wednesday, 25th November: Track Racing

The Program for Wednesday is;
5.30pm – 6.00pm: Warm-up and free practice;
6.00pm – 6.20pm: 8-lap graded scratch race;
6.20pm – 6.40pm: 2-lap handicap;
6.40pm – 7.10pm: 10-lap snowball;
7.10pm – 7.30pm: Italian pursuit.

Sunday, 29th November: Old Federal Highway – Graded Scratch

ps. Don’t forget Sunday’s race is pre-entry or cash on the day.

Where: Turn left off new Federal Hwy (dual carriageway) onto Shingle Hill Way. The intersection is signposted to Gundaroo and approx 9 km past the Sutton Rd overpass. Park in gravel pit on corner of next intersection about 100 m in from highway.
When: 9:00 am.
Sign on: 15 mins before scheduled start time wearing your registered number
Race Description:
Gravel Pit – Tulip Farm.
ABCD – 3 laps.
EFG – 2 laps

Race Director:  Marc Vroomans Contact: Email:    Ph 0436 189 202

Marshals: Rainer Wilton, Michael Payne, Bernard Crowe, Peter Jovanovic


Stromlo Criterium – 17th November

Nearly 120 keen riders across the grades fronted up to battle not only each other but also a strong headwind, but with the flipside being a wonderful tailwind down the back straight, at least for most of the night – more on that later. The talk on the sidelines was the possibility of the wind causing the groups to splinter but with a few exceptions, this did not eventuate.

E, F and G grades scored the early start this week. The riders mostly stayed together but a couple of first time riders in E grade inflicted some pain on the rest. Perhaps they fell for the advice that new riders have to do the work on the front. In any case, Natasha Royal crossed the line first followed by John Fleming and Brian Vernon. A small field of F graders was led across the finish line by Pat Rooke with David Witteveen in second and Adrian Breen taking third. Bernie Crow took an uncontested G grade win.

A grade, as usual, was a hotly contested affair. Not surprisingly, the pace was on from the outset with a small group of riders forming a break by the end of the first lap. The breakaway group soon reduced down to a cohesive (at least it seemed cohesive from the sidelines) group of four who powered away from the main bunch, raising the distinct possibility that they might put a lap on the rest of the field. However, the breakaway reduced to three and the gap back to the main field started to close. In the end, it came down to almost a photo finish with Gerard Tiffen just running down Mathew Corby on the line and Marc Vroomans finishing third. C grade made it a little easier on the officials trying to keep track of the two grades by mostly staying together, probably assisted by the winds abating somewhat. David Rowe took out first place, followed home by Rafi Khan and James Tonkin.

The last grades away were B and D, who started with a headwind on the finish straight which seemed to turn into a tailwind later in the race. As well as the changing weather conditions, they also had to contend with some kangaroos who wanted a closer look at the action down the southern end, and had to avoid someone’s car keys and credit card dropped on the track. There were some short-lived breaks in B grade that were quickly shut down. In the end, Paul Watson scored a convincing win and was reportedly heard saying “someone told me to go, so I did”. Paul was followed home by Ben McDuff in second and Bruce Goodfellow in third. D grade mostly stayed together until the closing laps, when the field started to splinter somewhat. Mark Taylor prevailed to take first place followed by Craig Coleman in second and Bob Perkins in third.

Thank you to all riders for staying upright, Ron Parker for his marshalling assistance, Simon Whitehead for his first aid expertise which thankfully wasn’t called into action, and lastly the race committee members who make these wonderful events possible week in and week out.

Kevin Newhouse

Track Racing – 18th November

Wednesday 18 November saw the sixth track racing session for the 2020-21 season. Weather conditions were excellent for racing. It was warm with a fresh breeze creating a headwind in the back straight. Attendance was the best so far for the season, with 22 riders, 13 in A grade and 9 in B grade.

The 8-lap A grade scratch race started at a solid pace that increased slightly as the laps ticked off. Dominic Rideau, Dave Mullins, Craig Kentwell, Steve Jones, Ben Robey and Michael Langdon took turns at the front over the first 5 laps. On lap 6, Craig Kentwell attacked, pursued by Warwick Wilson, leading the remaining bunch. Craig gained about 4m on the pursuers. However, over the next two laps, Warwick Wilson gradually closed the gap. As the bunch barrelled towards the bell lap, Michael Langdon attacked from a consolidated bunch with Martin Graham in hot pursuit. Michael stamped his authority on the race during the bell lap and cruised over the line for first place. Martin Graham kept up his pursuit to take second place. John Paul De Sousa emerged from the pursuing bunch to take third place.

The B Grade scratch race was quite orderly for the first 5 laps with riders swapping the lead lap by lap. James Newhouse raised the pace considerably when he rotated into the lead on lap 6. James’s effort caused the bunch to string out. On lap 7 James accelerated again and quickly gained a lead on Graeme O’Neill and Phil Coulton in pursuit. As the bell lap approached, Graeme began to fall back with the bunch streaming around to pursue James. A hot battle over the final lap saw Ian Drayton emerge as winner with Phil Anderson 1.5 metres back in second and Ken Birch a close third.

The evening’s second event was a 200 metre, flying start time trial. This is a popular event as it is quite technical and almost like enjoying the final sprint in a road race without suffering through 40 kilometres to get there. There is usually a bit of uncertainty about the optimum launch distance and line down the banking to start. However, most riders followed a similar line crossing the start line around 1.5 metres from the duckboard with variations on the launch distance. The A grade times were very close with the first 8 riders having times within a one second differential. Steve Jones set the best time at 13.20 seconds, closely followed by John Paul De Sousa (13.67 seconds) and Hamish Anderson (13.78 seconds).

B grade times were also quite competitive with 7 riders within a 1 second differential. Ian Drayton set the standout time at 14.55 seconds. Ken Birch (15.16 seconds) and James Newhouse (15.17 seconds) set second and third best times, respectively. The margin between them was only 1/100 th of a second.

The track session closed with the usual, all-in, Italian pursuit. The teams were large at 11 riders each, requiring a big effort from the later riders. This was a super competitive pursuit up until the final lap, with the teams swapping the lead several times and the margin staying within 1 – 2 metres. On the last lap Team 2’s anchor rider Michael Langdon started with about a half metre advantage, so an exciting finish was expected. However, by this stage Steve Jones, the anchor for Team 1, was feeling the pressure of a long relentless pursuit with all riders circulating at maximum effort. Michael had too much in reserve for Steve and gave Team 2 a comfortable win. However, the teamwork for both teams was first class.

Major place getters were as follows:
8-Lap Scratch: (A Grade) Michael Langdon, Martin Graham, John Paul De Sousa. (B Grade) Ian Drayton, Phil Anderson, Ken Birch.
200m Fly: (A Grade) Steve Jones (13.20s), John Paul De Sousa (13.67s), Hamish Anderson (13.78s). (B Grade) Ian Drayton (14.56s) Ken Birch (15.16s) James Newhouse (15.17s).
Combined Italian Pursuit: Winner Team 2 (Michael Langdon, John Paul De Sousa, Wayne Benham, Ben Davis, Dave Mullins, Ben Robey, Ken Birch, James Newhouse, Ian Drayton, Bruce Griffin, Graeme O’Neill).

Season Point Score Update:
John Paul De Sousa (87), Phil Anderson (80), Phil Coulton (79), Ken Birch (75), Ian Drayton (73), Steve Jones (71), Bruce Griffin (63), Ben Robey (61), James Newhouse (61). Dougal Torrance (58), Hamish Anderson (51).

Graeme O’Neill