Race Report – North Dandalup Handicap – 12 August 2017

Each year the Peel District Cycling Club races from North Dandulap to Dwellingup and return along Del Park Road. The race starts with a five kilometre climb, followed by twenty undulating kilometres to Dwellingup, before turning round and getting reacquainted with all those little climbs and descents for 20 kilometres before the final five kilometre descent into North Dandulap.

The race is a handicap, which means every rider is racing in the same race, the just have different starting time. If the handicapper gets it right, everybody finishes at the same time.

In a regular handicap, it is important for the riders to work together to catch the riders in front and stay away from the riders behind. However, with the climb coming at the start, good climbers can easily leave their group and to bridge to the group in front or the group in front of that. Almost all group break apart on the initial climb. So it is not unusual to see groups form from different start groups and add and drop riders along the way.

Pete Mills on the climb

Pete Mills faces says it all – photo by Gary Mason

The roaring North Westerly was going to make the race interesting, it was going to be a tailwind all the way to Dwellingup, and a headwind all the way back.

There were eight groups of riders, it was from the third group on the road that National Under 15 Mountain Climb Champion Matthew Connan attacked in the first kilometre and rode away from the group, Eddie Wojick gave chase. Connan passed all the other riders on his way to Dwellingup. He turned with a minute on Wojick and well over two minutes on a big group of riders from the third, fourth and fifth start groups.

Matthew Connan cuts a lonely figure leading the race

Matthew Connan cuts a lonely figure leading the race – photo by Gary Mason

Connan should of struggled riding into the headwind, he didn’t. Wojick did and slowly lost ground. Connan had already finished the winner, when Wojick got overhauled by the pursuing group with a kilometre to go. In the sprint for minor placings, it was Michael White second and Lee Jordan third.

A minute behind that group, came the iders from the seventh and eighth start groups. With recently crowned under 19 State Road Race Champion Aron Barclay taking that sprint for the honours of fastest time on the day.