The OCBC Cycle excitement started on Friday evening this year and didn’t involve a bike. After a long briefing on the new Ocbc Speedway event, we proceeded to a live draw for the qualifying heats on the Saturday. Controversially, the 2 Mavs teams and 2 Joyriders teams both ended up in the same heats racing themselves. There was some serious chuckling on the Anza chat boards that night…!
Speedway was a knockout contest on the 500m stretch of road at National Stadium – basically a hotdog course of 10 laps from 1 roundabout to the other. Each team had 4 riders – with the 1st 2 riders doing the initial 5 laps before handing over relay style to the last 2 riders. Winning time is taken on the 4th rider.
The speedway started in earnest at 12.30 with our first heat against Geylang, Ascenders, Arrivo Prima and T3. Our plan was to avoid any snarl ups in a transition by coming in ahead of the pack – which we achieved through a Will/Pierre combined attack. That left Raoul and myself to simply not mess up and just maintain the gap and extend if we could. I was worried ahead of the race as I’m a dodgy cornerer but struck cornering gold during the race & was even able to pass people on the roundabout! We ended up being beaten by the young Geylang guys in the sprint but we’re still easily half a lap up on everyone else.
The other heats didn’t go so well for the Anza teams – both of whom had some tough opposition to overcome. Anza One (Hoops, Victor, Chris von Elling, Frank) were neck and neck for 2nd place in heat 2 at the lap 5 changeover point. However both teams inexplicably didn’t come in for the changeover and did an extra lap. Anza ended up disqualified later for not doing the right total number of laps.
Anza Eruption (Kahu, Hish, Colin Ives, Pete Macca) were against the combined might of Mavs A and B and it just sadly was too much for them.
In the lengthy gaps between heats, we retired to the excellent pit set up in the sports stadium carpark. It had a great atmosphere but eventually the 3 hour gap without coffee led us to the local mall – with cleats and bikes in tow on the escalator!
Our semi final had Allied World CCN against Mavs A and Joyriders A and I was concerned about our chances. PA came screaming into the pits first cyclocross style and Raoul took off with a 5 second lead. Yusoff was next and then me. After a hard chase, I got back to the front 2 and Nick Swallow joined about ½ a lap later. Nick set a blistering pace and we simply couldn’t hold it. Brian and Strooper Joyriders were 100m behind and gaining fast.
Joyriders caught us by lap 3 and immediately started trying to dump us. We held on and even tried our own little dig on lap 4 but it was clearly going to be a sprint. Some smart placing on the last roundabout and they took us. One thing the event highlighted is our lack of sprint ability and the need to practice.
Joyriders went on to win the day – with the Geylang boys taking 2nd. An interesting fun event overall!
Stupid o’clock Sunday saw the more traditional Ocbc Cycle event take place – requiring a 3.30am alarm!
Due to our result in the Speedway, we were given tickets for the champions wave – along with the local pros down from the other asian countries. This gave about 50 of us a head start over the rest of the peleton – meaning clear roads the whole way. The atmosphere at the start was great with 8000+ riders lining up for the event, podium cameras and drones all present. One of the local ministers also came down to shake some hands prompting a bit of confusion amongst the expat cyclists…
The start was a bit confused with a car neutralizing us for a while before things heated up down by Marina Bay Sands. Speeds rapidly hit 50km/hr and people started popping out the back before we hit Keppel Viaduct.
With a wide open, empty Sheares Bridge and ECP! It was like a fantasy dream edition of the Crazies ride. The foreign pros were mostly quiet and the usual suspects made the pace. Pierre forced a breakaway at the midway point with Noel Mav and Lippy Joyrider. With the main teams represented, it was always going to stay away. Unbelievably Pierre even won the sprint into the national stadium! Will Pratt also did a fine job and led the bunch home in 4th place.
The new course was excellent and the only dodgy bit being the last 300m into the stadium itself. The feeling of coming down the tunnel and into the light of the stadium was spectacular – even though it was completely empty.
Some Anza group pictures with podium girls and a hunt for coffee rounded the event off nicely. Great job OCBC!