SG50 Handicap Race

Donald MacDonald

SG50 is a trial of a new type of event for Cycosports. It’s a 50 lap race of the Pasir Gudang circuit in Johor – giving approximately 200 km of racing for the day. Where it gets interesting is that you ride in relay teams of ¾ with each team being handicapped by the self declared ranking of each riders ability.

This system led to some colossal sandbagging and so our team of 3 (Will, Dave Cox and myself) found ourselves starting 50 minutes behind the first teams. Some seriously good teams had 30+ minutes advantage over us & we knew from the start that catching them was almost an impossibility. But a race is a race, and anything that gets us out of Singapore for a ride needs to be encouraged.

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We rode over with the other Cat 1 team in the race – The Mavs who were debuting their decent new kit. With the relay format, we’d only be getting 60km racing each so the ride there and back ensured some decent mileage of 160km+ for the trip. We collectively got lost for an hour on the last trip so I was well chuffed when we managed to get to the track with no issues this time.

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Tactically we agreed that we’d work with the Mavs from the start to try and close the gap TTT style. We also cunningly agreed to partner up so that our strongest riders went with theirs. Unfortunately this idea went out the window when we almost missed the start, forcing me to do the 1st 2 laps with Bastian and Andreas. This put me on the limit immediately and I was thankful when Will appeared for lap 3.

Collectively we were catching the best teams by 10 seconds on each lap but that meant that we’d need 150 laps to overhaul some of the strongest Cat 2 teams – just not realistic. After getting dropped by the Mavs combined 2 man TTT, we moved to our Plan B which was to help the Franza team win. We aligned our lap changeovers with Franza and worked together for 20 laps to help them drop The Cranks team and extend their lead. Franza eventually ended up winning the event by a decent margin. (hopefully a race report being imminent).

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The race itself was great. With only 25 teams, it felt like the track was deserted most of the time and you were usually just alone or working in groups of max 2-3. We focussed on each rider doing 2 laps which meant a 12 minute hard effort followed by 24 minutes off. Great interval training! Innovative approaches were trialled for the changeover between riders and we found the illegal rolling handover the most efficient. This brought a formal complaint from the Cannasia boys and so was sadly rapidly discontinued – lest we eat into their 20 minutes head start.

An interesting day out and a solid workout. With an 11 hour door to door experience, I managed to pick up a quality Scottish Suntan during the day and was hurting by the time I got back. Pizza and a whisky soon put it right!

Nice to do something different and it’d be interesting to do again with more teams and realistic handicaps.

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