Wessels powers to win

Peel rider David Wessels wins the 90th Collie to Donnybrook. Picture: Toby Brown
Wessels powers to win
Peel rider David Wessels wins the 90th Collie to Donnybrook. Picture: Toby Brown

One of Australia�s oldest and longest-running road races, the handicap race gives everybody a chance to race riders like Drapac Professional Cycling�s Graeme Brown and Travis Meyer.

They also had an opportunity to ride with Peel rider Theo Yates, who is training for the Tour of China.

There were 200 entrants in the prestigious race.

The race runs 104km from Collie to Donnybrook and return. The course is undulating for the first 85km before 6km Heartbreak Hill followed by 13km of short climbs and descents, finally finishing in the main street of Collie.

The riders started in groups of 10, a minute or two apart, the slowest riders first and the 10 fastest riders made the scratch group, starting 30 minutes behind the first riders.

Peel riders David Wessels, Daniel Gray and Jono Bates were members of the group 16 minutes ahead of scratch. This group worked well together and quickly caught the 17 and 18 minute groups before the descent of Heartbreak Hill.

The now swollen group raced to Donnybrook averaging 45km/h, before turning for home and picking up the remaining riders, to be at the front of the race.

Behind, the scratch group was chasing hard and collected most riders that started less than 10 minutes ahead of them by Donnybrook and then proceeded to chase more riders down.

At the front of the race, the pace had slowed as the cohesion was lost. Riders realised they would be caught by the scratch group and started attacking. Nobody got away, but the result was the speed picked up and a big group arrived at the base of Heartbreak Hill and scratch was still behind them.

The climb thinned down the front bunch, not knowing the scratch group was closing fast. About 500 metres from the finish, just before they turned on to the main street, Wessels attacked. A little hesitation resulted in Wessels gaining a small gap, which he maintained to the line to take the win. Bates, in his second season of racing, was eighth. Sixteen seconds behind Wessels, the scratch group crossed the line, with Brown taking the prize for fastest time and setting a new race record. Yates recording the second fastest time and first under 23 rider.

Another young rider from Peel, Jordan Dawson, performed well in the under 15 handicap finishing third and recording the fastest time.

Road racing returns to the Casuarina circuit next Saturday. For more information visit pdcc.asn.au.