The future looks bright…

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Racing
Tags: ,

Just perusing the entries for the upcoming Wagga Wagga Junior Tour and I’m amazed at the number.  209 entries so far!  Without doing the research, I’m betting that is the biggest junior tour field we have had anywhere in this country possibly ever!  As an example, there were some 159 entries at last year’s Canberra Junior Tour – the JT many consider to be the strongest in the country.

When analysing the entries one of the terrific things is the spread: there are 19 under-9s – unheard of!  There are 31, yes 31 under-11s!!  This rise in the younger categories seems to be linked to the growth in Masters cycling… where if mum or dad is riding, it inspires the kids / or the parents encourage the kids.  Maybe this is also the first wave of the ‘Cadel Effect’?  Whatever the reason, what a great outcome.

Is this the best event for the younger categories?  With almost 50 under-9 and under-11s I think so!

Is this the best event for the younger categories? With 50 under-9 and under-11s I think so!

The boys and girls under-13 categories sees 17 and 11 riders respectively.  Again terrific numbers for this category and what we’ll find is that this level of competition keeps it interesting for the young riders who all to frequently find themselves racing the same half-a-dozen riders over-and-over again.

I can understand the large numbers in the under-15 (JM15 = 32 / JW15 = 11) and under-17 (JM17 = 62 / JW17 = 25) categories with Wagga hosting the Junior National Road Champs later in the year and the third stage of the junior tour is to be held over the nationals course.  But still, we see kids coming over from WA, Tassie, QLD as well as those making the drive from SA, Victoria, NSW and the ACT.  Yep, seven states will be represented in Wagga making for an almost Nationals strength field in the under-15 and under-17 categories.

In my experience it is generally a pretty well run tour.  Wagga Wagga CC provides a good number of volunteers and officials to ensure smooth sailing.  There is a top notch canteen with a wide variety of food on offer.  Cars have access to a large paddock opposite the start/finish line where they can set up, but be sure to bring chairs, rugs and cover if its sunny.

Welcome to Wantabadgery - big fields guaranteed!

Welcome to Wantabadgery – big fields guaranteed!

The best place to stay is Junee, a lovely old railway town about 15-minutes from Wantabadgery.  Be sure to allow some time to visit the local chocolate factory… delicious!  There is also some great riding for parents if they manage to bring their bikes.

I’m not sure about the courses.  From memory, the TT is pretty flat out-and-back.  I don’t think there have been course maps or profiles ever produced. This will obviously be rectified in time for the Nationals, but its a shame there is nothing available now.  I think the older grades do have some bumps in their courses… not big hills, but with aggression, enough to make a selection.

The other important consideration for the organisers, with this number of entries, is to get the results right.  I remember leaving on the Saturday night in the past and still not knowing the GC standings.  Hopefully, with the additional revenue this many entrants provides (209 =  over $4000) the organisers might look to bring in electronic timing.  Not that this is full proof, but with an experienced operator, it should offer fast and accurate results.

Main road Wantabadgery - see the tent city in the background on the paddock on the side.

Main road Wantabadgery – see the tent city in the background on the paddock on the side.

While on the same course as Nationals, I doubt the results will necessarily be the same.  Many leading riders who came off track nationals have had a break so are really only getting back into the swing of things.  It’ll be interesting to see who is on form and who is building.  In my experience, it is hard to hold form all season long and if you include Nationals, it is quite a long season.

Good luck to all competing, and here’s hoping the numbers of Wagga are replicated at many other junior tours throughout the season.

  1. Chris says:

    Great post CycligDad, should be a great event!

    Your comments suggesting the organisers should bring in electronic timing is an interesting one. I am continually amazed at the reluctance of this sport to embrace technology. Even at the Santos Junior Tour last weekend ( it was a great event and well run) they used electronic timing, but it was manually transposed and mistakes were made.The recent Junior Track Nationals didn’t have live results and many state level events see it take up to a week to post results.

    The example set at say events like “Alpe de Buffalo” where one can watch live results should be the standard set by CA at all state and national level events.

    • cycdad says:

      Couldn’t agree more Chris. The good news is, I’ve heard Cycling Victoria has just invested in 300 transponders for electronic timing with live result facilities. I understand that all Victorian Junior Tours will utilise these.

      Victorian Junior Tours are more expense to enter as a rule, but as CV is the only state to pay commissaires and officials more than just a token amount and now they will feature electronic timing, I for one am happy to pay a little more.

      I wonder if Wagga put their entry up $5 per entrant but provided electronic timing would anyone baulk at this? I doubt it. I think we’re heading in the right direction… lets all just keep pushing little by little and we’ll drag the sports forward bit by bit. Thanks for the comment.

  2. onaneedtoknowbasis says:

    The 2013 Goulburn Junior Tour has just hit 203 entries (there were 206 in 2011). 23 U9s, 43 U11s, 28 U13s, 45 U15s and 63 U17s. The vast majority being NSW and ACT with a sprinkle of Vic and Qld. Just on the timing thing – Goulburn has typically used electronic timing courtesy of the ACT, the Canberra Junior Tour also uses electronic timing. This was the first time Wagga has used electronic timing and were quite successful for their first go.

    • cycdad says:

      Those numbers are indeed great news! I haven’t had the chance to get to the Goulburn JT ut hear good things about the course. Of course it conflicts with Ararat Junior Tour where entries sit at around 97 from VIC and SA. Combine the two tours and there are some BIG numbers across all age-categories. Feel free to send me a report on how it goes if you like.

      • onaneedtoknowbasis says:

        I’ll flick over the link to the Canberra CC report when it goes up in the next few weeks. Final numbers have settled at 211 riders. There are now 45 U11s…. I’ve been told that there’ll be Boy/Girl divisions and an A and B grade within each of those divisions, which will be determined by the stage 1 prologue… (Who has ever seen grading in an U11 division before?!?) The Goulburn JT is very “Netherlands” – pretty flat, very fast, always cold, big winds and rain/hail/sleet/snow every few years (conditions are forecast to be clear this year however).

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