van Niekerk wins rescheduled race

November 30, 2022 BY

Rising star wins Allan Bailey Memorial Race from experienced campaigner

After being postponed from the original September date due to forecast severe weather, the Allan Bailey Memorial race was held in windy, but surprisingly dry, weather on Sunday, November 20. The usual distance of 50km was also shortened and the course changed to allow for four laps around a Kongorong loop with the start and finish line in front of the Kongorong Primary School, a total of 34km.

Allan Bailey was a promising rider in the late 1920s who unfortunately passed away during a race to Port MacDonnell in 1930. A trophy was created in his honour in 1932, making this race the 90th anniversary of the Bailey Memorial. Despite the forecast severe weather in the afternoon, 13 riders signed on to participate in the morning race. At the beginning of the race, the wind was already holding steady at 35km/h, gusting over 50km/h from the West. Fortunately changing the race format to loops around Kongorong would allow the riders a respite from the wind at various parts of the lap.

First riders away were Spek Peake, with Jen and Jason Buckland, given a 13 minute gap before the next group of riders consisting of Elmer Buckland, Phil Stasiw, John Cranwell and Dean Zeven could depart. They in turn began with a three minute advantage over Malcolm Tirabassi and Patrick Langsmith, followed a further three minutes later by the final group consisting of Jami Buckley, Niel van Niekerk, SPORT DOWNLOAD THE APP AT MT GAMBIER Craig Andrae and Matthew Opperman. There was some consternation in the final group when the first group had actually completed their first lap before they were allowed to depart on their race. It only took 500m of riding into the wind for parity to be restored and all riders were on the leading lap.

Speeds varied depending on the wind direction, with riders reaching up to 60km/h with the wind at their backs, but as low as 20km/h with the wind in their faces. For the first three laps the groups generally kept together; the penalty for losing the wheel of the rider ahead being too great to consider.

As the leading riders neared the school for their final lap, Jen Buckland slowly increased her pace to pull away from her erstwhile companions in a bid to stay away from the chasers. As the riders began their final laps, Elmer, Phil and John were caught by the fastest group, with Phil and Elmer catching on as they passed.

They also quickly rounded up Jason, then Spek and set out after Jen, completing the catch as they turned into the tailwind. With Elmer and Phil unable to keep up with the leading bunch it became a race in four as the riders turned onto the school road and the final reach of cross winds with a headwind finish.

At the line Niel van Niekerk was in front and took out fastest time, followed by Matthew Opperman, Jami Buckley and Craig Andrae, then Elmer Buckland, Phil Stasiw, Jen Buckland, John Cranwell, Spek Peake, Malcolm Tirabassi, and Patrick Langsmith, with Jason Buckland the last finisher.

The riders returned to the clubrooms early in the afternoon for presentations, where life member Allan Dowdell shared stories of Allan Bailey’s cycling exploits – he finished second in the 1930 Melbourne to Warrnambool race after being over-run in the final metres – before handing over the Memorial Trophy to Niel van Niekerk.


Winner Niel van Niekerk with club president Dean Zeven & life member Allan Dowdell.


Third placed Jami Buckley, winner Niel van Niekerk & runner up Matthew Opperman