An incredibly rambunctious afternoon was witnessed on Saturday at Imber Court Sports Ground, where our Annual Awards presentation was coupled with our inaugural Rollapaluza competition.
Rollapaluza's Rob & Anna took care of the 28 competitors, the majority of whom had led such sheltered up-upringings, they had never been exposed to such an activity before......well they certainly have now!
The action was fast and furious from the very outset, and the spectators instantly took to this spectacle as John Warnock pipped Matt Dykiert by a hair's breadth 1/100th of a second in the very first round, setting times of 24:11 and 24:12 respectively for the 500m test.
Resplendent in his Stars & Stripes Motorola strip, "Big Dazza P" soon blew those times away, taking a full second off this in his qualifying ride and establishing himself as the man to beat. Others tried, some came close, but Darren was in awesome form.
The Ladies competition also had the crowd baying, as Dorchie Cockerell shaped up well, pursued by Eleanor Resheph, Wiesia Kuczaj, & Natalie Creswick. Again some incredibly close matches - all this in just the qualifying stages.
The excitement grew as the 'knockout' stages began, and tactics were discussed, and as is common with cyclists, choice of equipment was a serious topic of conversation - who said "It's not about the bike" ?? I bet he knows nothing about Rollapaluza!!!!!
In the ladies competition, the 4 fastest qualifiers duly progressed to the semis, and on the way, Natalie & Dorchie both improved their marks. Semi-Final 1 saw Natalie & Dorchie fight it out, with Natalie making her way to the final by a miserly 3/100ths of a second - 25:59 to 25:62 - the 2 fastest Ladies times of the day, whilst remaining spot in the Final was claimed by Eleanor over "V".
The Mens conflict continued, and the stage was, well, how can you describe it - A blur of legs? A flurry of knees? A commotion of calfs?.....however you summarise it, it was a riveting spectacle.
There were gasps from the audience as Steve Home's efforts were overhauled in the final metres by Dave Peck - again 1/100th of a second separated these two! Tom Sutherland only just nudged out a spirited Scherrit Knoesen, Stewart Ward just edged past Clayton Edge, but the man in form was Darren, who improved with each round.
Men's Semis - a quite awesome display from the scintillating Darren saw him post a time of 22:34 in beating Stewart, even finding the time to pull his foot out of the toe-clips at the end, yet still managing an amazing average of 203rpm!. Dave was narrowly extrapolated by Tom in the second Semi as the crowd was split in their vociferous support.
to the Ladies event, and the Minor Final saw Dorchie overcome 'V'.
The Final was a match between Natalie and Eleanor, and what a final it was with both riders gave it their all.
Natalie finally saw off Eleanor who waited for the final to post her fastest time of the day.
Stewart & Dave battled it out in the Men's Minor Final, with Dave just unable to match Stewart, 23:93 vs 23:83 - another close one.......
Rollapaluza's Rob effortlessly turned from Hero to Villain as he suggested that the crowd should vote upon whether the Final should be maintained at 500m , or doubled in length to 1000m - the infamous "Kilo". The vote was unanimous, as the crowd cruelly subjected the gladiators to a further 500m - on top of the existing 500m naturally!
So Tom & Darren it was - one final effort.
The tension in the room was, well, tense.
Rob Counted down, and off they went - a little too hastily in Darren's case as it turned out - a warning was issued, and the clocks reset.
Rob Counted down, and off they went - only this time, Darren's Seatpost - obviously feeling neglected amongst the excitement - contrived to slip back into his frame. Another restart.
Rob Counted down, and they were off - Darren as ever, quick off the mark. Tom pushed hard - very hard. However, Darren kept his nerve and claimed victory in 50.77 over Tom's 51.30.
A fitting finale from the man who had consistently posted the fastest times throughout the day.
The full Rollapaluza Results can be found here.
And so to the Awards......
|Senior Road Race||Steve Home|
|Vets Road Race||Vince Leon|
|Ladies Road Race||Natalie Creswick|
|Junior Road Race - Male||Alexander (Sandy) King|
|Youth Road Race - Male||Declan Higgins|
|Track Champion - Male||David Jack|
|Junior Track Champion - Male||Gavin Mitchell|
|TT Champion||John Warnock|
|24 Hour TT||John Warnock 497.12 miles (Club Record)|
|Short Course & Junior Champion||Alexander (Sandy) King|
|Club Lady of the Year||Wiesia (Ve) Kuczaj|
|Clubman Of The Year||Darren Paice|
All in all, an afternoon of Camaraderie, Competition, and Champions.
A special mention of Thanks must go to Denise Quinlan for organising this extravaganza, alongside Ann Cater and Barbara Vance and the many others that made this day out a very special one that will be very hard to improve upon.