Race Directors Report SDBC 2013
Race Director’s Report by Dr Mal
After an eventful trip to Dalhousie (lost wallet) I was looking forward to a relaxing soak in the hot springs. It was looking like a hot year with temperatures in the high 30s and strong winds. What was immediately evident when talking to officials was that our Race Director, Greg Roger hadn’t show up….last seen at Coober Pedy!
Registrations completed, still no Race Director then Ben Hew(medic) showed up with the Race Director ‘stuff’ and said ‘you’re it’ (or something like that). Greg had vehicle problems and would try to join us later.
Some quick discussions were held between Murray (Committee member), Chris (Sweep) and myself. (Editor’s note – meanwhile back at Base Camp in Adelaide, Plan B was being dusted off. Happily for us, the mob in Desert came to the same conclusion.) As Murray was riding, Chris and I worked together to get the show on the road. We now had some direction and with some improvisation, registrations, distribution of jerseys, polo shirts, photos and race meeting were done. There were 22 riders with 19 fat bikes, 2 MTB’s and a transvestite bike that could run both. Alan Keenleside was on a single speed….hmmmm.
After a windy night, riders, crew and officials were up at 4:30am. First convoy was off with Wayne and Kyria course marking and Keith timekeeping. After weigh in the first day’s racing was on. Conditions were cool with max temps at 30 but with a cool southerly wind making it feel more like mid 20’s. Ronn Slusser established an early lead on other contenders such as Lynton, Alan, the two Chris’s and Murray. A couple of riders were having some difficulties with nausea and associated difficulty eating but no other major health problems.
Meanwhile Greg contacted us by satellite phone and confirmed difficulties getting tyres for his car and wouldn’t be able to join us in time….so on with the race.
The meeting that night was upbeat with all but one rider getting 100%. Snowy the new Fines Master quickly lobbed Goose of the Day onto Greg Roger “in absentia”.
Good weather for what is traditionally the most difficult day. Riders did well leaving the sweep without much work. The day livened up at Lone Gum when Snowy the ‘Pink Fairy’ was spotted doing a koala act. He quickly collected $10 in the tin from each vehicle.
By lunch time a couple of riders were feeling the pinch with excessive fluid loss but the afternoon session saw riders performing fantastically.
The weather continued with similar conditions of about 30 degrees and a cooling southerly. After the first water stop a strong southerly hit riders and nearly stopped them in their tracks as they skirted a large salt lake. Then they ploughed straight into about 10 of the largest sand dunes on the Rig Road. Turning north onto the K1 line saw them running parallel to the dunes with a tailwind pushing them into lunch.
At lunch a few of us ‘non-riders’ enjoyed an impromtu ride on Wayne’s fatbike without helmets. This resulted in a vigorous fines session at the evening meeting.
Afternoon session was far too easy and riders did well. Boy it was tougher in my day!
A cool start skirting the edge of Poeppels Lake. Mandatory stop for sunrise photos then onwards as riders enjoyed a strengthening tailwind and scored some quick times. Nothing lasts forever and soon riders were tackling the large difficult Queensland sand dunes. This was particularly tiring and would take its toll in the afternoon session.
After lunch riders tackled more of the large dunes and had to dig deep. This produced some of the best riding of the race, the highlight being Chris Turnbull and Melanie Thorley scraping in barely minutes ahead of Sweep.
Coming over the last dune, the satphone rang and it was the ABC Queensland Drive Time show and we were live on air. We stalled them for 40 seconds and then we were over the dune and in the campsite and Alan Keenleside did the interview.
Bigger dunes today but long distances between them with a chance for riders to recover and make some distance. We were in the floodplain of Eyre creek and cattle country. It was a short session and ended on the other side of Little Red. The riders then rode the last 35 km together into Birdsville creating an impressive site with their matching tops and bulbous tyred bikes. Elation followed as riders enjoyed that huge sense of achievement along with a few drinks, photo ops, food and then to the showers before getting into the evening session for more of the same.
Congratulations to Ron Slusser on a magnificent ride. He won every competed session and was the under 50 and overall winner. Also congratulations to Chris Turnbull on winning the Bean Award. The dinner and auction went well and I would like to thank all of the officials, riders and support teams for a fantastic SDBC 2013.
See you next year from the rider’s saddle.
Stories from the gallery
Ron Slusser (#04) Outright Winner
For me the challenge of riding the Simpson started with a thought early last year. I decided last year in March to train for the Ingkerreke Mountain bike enduro at home in Alice Springs and use that as a guideline or template if I should enter the Simpson. As it was I did reasonably well in the Ingkerreke so I went about entering the Simpson and continued training. I ended up doing rather well in 2012’s Simpson, although I was riding with a chest infection. But this and skinny wheels on my mountain bike were not going to stop this OCD boy from getting a 100% 6th place finish……Read More