It all started at a barbecue in in 1978 when Don Beavis envisaged a cycling club that was more than just racing. One that was fun and incorporated weekday rides, tours and socialising as well as various racing disciplines. Now we're one of the biggest clubs in Australia with almost 500 members.
Don Beavis was the President of Eastern Suburbs Amateur Cycling Club but was growing concerned about the ‘hard core’ racing attitude of that club. Don envisaged a club that looked upon cycling as more than just racing. He resigned his position and in good Australian tradition, hosted a barbecue with his riding friends to discuss the idea – and thus our club was born with a more holistic view of cycling, incorporating both sport and recreation.
With riders sometimes racing interstate and even overseas, it was decided that the name Sydney would be identifiable anywhere and so the new club had a name.
The founding members were Don Beavis; President/Secretary, Tom Wilhelm; Treasurer; and Bruno Sibilia; Race Secretary. The general members were Jack Browne, Alain Agullo, Gilbert Droz, John Manini, John Lovell-Jones, Michael Goulay, George Chalvin, Dave Stakes and Paul Montesin.
OUR FIRST KIT
Don Beavis also designed the club’s first jersey, which was produced by Mrs Christoff of Adelaide, and was 100% wool. However, unfortunately when it was wet, it would stretch out of shape and at times you would appear to be wearing a skirt. They would also shrink, unevenly of course, with the striped side shrinking more than the rest.
The chosen colours of red, white and blue were reflective of the club’s membership at that time (Australian, English and French).
Nowadays you might see some club members wearing a replica of the first jersey but made with modern materials that can cope better with wet weather. This new kit is reserved exclusively for our 'old boys' who owned the original wool version.
Club meetings were held at Sydney Bicycle & Motor Club, Wynyard Park. In 1979 the Bicycle & Motor Club was celebrating its centenary year, and SCC organised a criterium to coincide with that and the annual Festival of Sydney. The race circuit was along Hickson Road in The Rocks, and the race was called ‘Myer’s Cup Cycle Race’ with Kevin Nichols winning from Shane Sutton.
The event was such a success that Don decided to look for another course where they could hold more regular crit races without the need for road closures. With the help of some members from Randwick Botany CC they illegally pulled down a few fences at a disused migrant hostel centre in Maroubra. By doing this they opened up an outstanding criterium course but didn’t realise how successful it would become. Heffron Park is now a Sydney racing institution. As well as hosting local amateur racing, Heffron has also seen world-class cyclists such as Manfred Otto, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas, Caleb Ewan and many more.
THE FIRST TT
The club’s first Time Trial Championships were held at Heffron Park on September 16th 1979 with Alain Agullo taking best time on this ‘tight’ circuit and was presented with a trophy for the occasion.
THEY THINK IT'S ALL OVER
SCC struggled through 1980 and 1981 with only a handful of members. A meeting was held with the view of winding up the club. Don Beavis stated that his work commitments would not allow him enough time to preside over the club, although he remained President until 1983.
With dwindling numbers, all seemed lost until a rider cycled up alongside Alan Smith (Life member) in Centennial Park and asked to join the SCC. His name was John Beauchamp and due to his banking background was soon made Club Treasurer - a position he held for eight years. John also produced a monthly SCC newsletter, which he delivered by bike, of course! Thanks to John, membership began to increase and club meetings transferred from John's home to Woollahra Public School to accommodate more members.
Membership stood at 54. In a vote, members decided to restructure SCC into two distinct clubs: Sydney Cycling Club and Sydney Cyclists’ Club. Sydney Cycling Club catered for the racing membership of the Club (membership was $36), while Sydney Cyclists’ Club catered for all club members purely for touring and social events (membership was $6). Club monthly meetings were conducted at the Royal Hotel, Randwick (Don Beavis had just completed interior alterations to the pub).
SKID LIDS ARRIVE IN AUSTRALIA
Club Secretary, John Beauchamp, first brought a Skid Lid helmet back from the USA, having used one while participating in the Cycle Across America. The Skid Lid was the first of its kind in Australia; it was constructed from polymer plastic, and proved to be a huge success with club members.
Race officials had to sanction the use of these new skid lids. The skid lid was a far better design than the leather hairnet, because it was strong but still quite flexible.
KANGAROO VALLEY TOUR
In February 1982 the club held its first tour to Kangaroo Valley. The full circuit was 345km with accommodation at the Kangaroo Valley Caravan Park. The tour continues today and proves just as popular, although we don't cycle back and spend more time touring around the surrounding region.
A popular two day handicapped race starting in Coonabarabran and finishing in Gunnedah (107km), and then Gunnedah to Tamworth on the second day (75 km). Six SCC members – Alan Revell, Perc Carter, Alan Smith, Bruce Vote, John Burraston and Don Sigsby participated and the boys looked rather splendid in their red, white and blue jerseys. There was a major mouse plague in the region and members said it was not pleasant riding over large carpets of dead mice in several parts of the race.
THE OPERA HOUSE CRITS
SCC decide to host another criterium in an iconic area of Sydney and this time propose Mrs Macquarie’s Chair as an alternative venue to The Rocks for the Carnivale Criterium. The State Premier’s Department announces it is not happy with the route and wants the club to pursue the Hyde Park Circuit. The club is assured that the Police Department will take full responsibility for traffic and crowd control. Final approval is received from the Urban Transit Authority and the Police to host the Carnivale race at the Opera House circuit with Air New South Wales as the main sponsor. SCC was represented by Mark Bonwick, who started in C Grade with a strong field of more than 30 riders. Mark stayed at the front of the race and rode away from the field to win quite comfortably.
TOURING TAKES OFF
Club tours were already a popular part of club life but in 1983 SCC appoints Bruce Vote & Paul Montesin as the first Tour Secretary to organise tours to Bathurst, the Hunter Valley, Kangaroo Valley, the Bundanoon Weekend and several ‘day tours’.
Nine SCC riders set out from Centennial Park on a crisp Saturday morning to ride the 160km to Kangaroo Valley. Around Menangle John Burraston and Albert Guerreiro made a break from the bunch – don’t ask how you break away from a touring group! Needless to say, John and Albert lost their way and ended up covering a further distance of 60km before they finally arrived at Kangaroo Valley. The annual Kangaroo Valley ride continues to be a very popular event with members. The tour also showed the value of having a sag wagon available.
Bathurst Area Tour (B.A.T)
Seventeen members were hosted by club member Owen Lowe at his house in Evans Plains. Everyone drove up on Friday but Mark Kitteridge decided to leave a day early and cycle there, stopping overnight at Katoomba Youth Hostel. The team unexpectedly stumbled across a parade in Blayney and, not missing an opportunity, promptly joined in. The weather was hot and prompted lots of post-ride refreshments in the form of amber fluid.
Besieged by rain, the first day became a tour of the wineries by auto! The second day looked foreboding but they clocked 86km and made it back before it rained again. Quote of the weekend came from Perc Carter who said “I can't win – ride in the rain and puncture two $30 singles, or keep dry at the wineries but splurge $60 on plonk”.
FIRST ANNUAL LADIES TIME TRIAL
The first Annual Ladies Time Trial was held in Centennial Park with eight lady club members competing. The two lap race was won by Marjorie Lobban on silk tubes and a freshly installed 72 rear gear with a time of 13m 22s (34.1 km/h av). As well as the champagne for the winners Paul Montesin presented carnations and Russian chocolates to all competitors.
The mixed time trials were held down La Perouse. If you go on our Saturday Lapa ride you will ride along part of the 8km circuit. Cooper / Conceicao won with a time of 16:09 and John Sunde got the best individual lap time of 7:06.
The club also hosted a Time Trial in the Royal National Park starting at the Picnic Area and heading up Waterfall hill to the station and back again.
AUDAXES & DAY TOURS
Audax rides were popular within the club and several were planned for the year. Most notable was the Sydney to Moss Vale return, which was 300km. Day tours were also on the club calendar including the Penrith to Sublime Point Tour. While not as long as an Audax, they were longer than our regular rides and either required a train trip to get to the start or from the finish. Day Tours continued to be popular for most of the club's history.
GOULBURN TO LIVERPOOL
Paul Montesin finished 10th in the prestigious Goulburn to Liverpool Classic having previously finished 6th. This race which had been run on various courses was sadly cancelled in 2012 as police would not approve a rolling road closure of the Hume Highway that the teams insisted on.
SYDNEY CITY CRITERIUM
After a great amount of anguish, the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust finally allowed SCC to use Mrs Macquarie’s Road Circuit for a race on the morning of 30th June. Over 130 riders were registered, including some of the State’s top riders, including Kevin Nichols, Graham Seers and Geoff Skaines.
There were 2 races - the first was at 8am for veterans/women, consisting of 20 laps of the 2km circuit. The second race at 9:15am was the junior/senior event, which was a 100km race that was 'sure to offer some spectacular riding as the men are sorted from the boys'.
THE NEW KIT SAGA
A questionnaire circulated the previous year that showed members were far from happy with the lacklustre kit design, which had not changed much in seven years. As an individual club it was thought we should have a distinctive and specifically Sydney jersey. The executive searched far and wide for a dazzling design, which met the criterion necessary to please its members. Spencer White and Sarina Baker produced several designs for a more avant-garde garment and fashion designer Christine Sunde was also active in creating designs that were specifically Sydney based. Debate continued to rage with several ballots drawing no consensus, and no one willing to make an executive decision.
in 1986 the Sydney City Criterium was sponsored by the film American Flyer
SYDNEY CRITERIUM - OFF TO A FLYER
Our Sydney Criterium got a big sponsorship with Seven Keys PR in 1986. They renamed the race the American Flyer classic to promote a feature film based on bicycle racing in the USA. The film features both a very young Kevin Costner riding the Hell of the West road race in Colorado, and Eddie, an effective but unconventional sprint coach. There were three races on the Mrs Macquarie’s Chair Circuit; the junior event started at 7:45am closely followed by the veterans / women and then the senior event. Prize money was $3500, making it one of the richest events in Australian Amateur Cycling. The event was a huge financial success as well a brilliant racing event making the club a $1090 profit.
Billed as a special Christmas Anticlimax, Brute Vote instigated SCC’s inaugural coasting competition on Christmas Day. A competition where over consumption over the festive period pays off! Starting at Woollahra Gate, competitors coast down Loch Avenue and see how far along Grand Drive they can roll before coming to a complete stop. In order to prevent pedalling, competitors’ cranks were carefully taped to their chain stays while marshals inspected bidons and removed unnecessary pumps or Christmas decorations. The only rules were you had to use a standard bike, no additional weights. First prize was a bottle of champagne and a Christmas cake, which was won by Bob Greig.
Clubman Matt Marlow brings home 5 Silver medals at the Masters Games held in Launceston, Tasmania. Silver in the Road Race, the 500m TT, the 5k Scratch, 5k Point Score and the Criterium.
SCC HILL CLIMB CHAMPIONSHIP
The inaugural SCC Hill Climb Championship was held in the 'so salubrious' Bellevue Hill. It was just a short climb of 1.4km up Beresford Rd / Drumalbyn Road. Unfortunately the winner has been lost in the annals of time.
The SCC Women’s Race Team single-handedly puts SCC into the winning circle with placings in every event they entered, showing themselves as a force on the Sydney scene. Helen Marcus finished 3rd in the Illawarra Open (B-Grade), the Mattara Open (B-Grade), the Nowra Open (A-Grade) and won the Randwick Botany Open (B-Grade) the Nowra CC 2 Day Tour. Rosemarie Peerenboom was 4th in Sutherland Open, 1st in the Nowra Open (B-Grade), equal first with Helen at the Nowra 2 Day Tour, 5th at the SCC Sydney Criterium and 7th in the Canberra 2 Day Tour.
After a saga lasting over a year SCC finally decides on a design for their new kit.
After a saga lasting over a year SCC finally decides on a design for their new kit.
A NEW KIT AT LAST!
The ‘Great Jersey Design Exercise’ finally comes to an end and a decision is made. The result of numerous committee meetings, the design retains the club’s red, white and blue colours while creating a very dramatic and stylish jersey that was trendsetting for the time. Part of the design also includes a new logo, which incorporated the Sydney Opera House for the first time. The jersey was made from a cotton-backed lycra and cost $40. The club was so proud of the kit we introduced a club jersey ride every Sunday to show it off.
Frank Milner presented the club with a very precious memento, a pair of binoculars with an inscription “Won by R. Patrick, Sprint Race and Attendance, Sydney Bicycle Club 1896". The similar sounding named intrigued a few members and they set about researching it. They found no link between Sydney Cycling Club and Sydney Bicycle Club but they managed to track down and contact the granddaughter of the original recipient, R. Patrick. We offered to return the trophy but it was agreed that the binoculars should be used as a perpetual trophy and it became SCC’s trophy for Club Person of the Year.
Five club members were featured on the cover of Jan/Feb edition of Freewheeling magazine in their superheroes outfits on the ‘Gong Ride’ raising money for MS sufferers. Michaela Evatt tried to be incognito behind her goggles and Clay Kesting had a very revealing Spiderman outfit and attempted to hide his modesty behind Kerrie-Ann Eaton.
The shoulders on the Princes Highway between Heathcote and Waterfall get sealed, resulting in a better and safer ride for cyclists on the busy highway.
THE HILLTOP HANDICAP
The inaugural running of the 51km handicap club race on the Yanderra Circuit south of Sydney had 16 members turn up to race. The course rolls gently downhill for the first half to Tahmoor before rising through a series of climbs to the finish at Hill Top. There was unanimous approval of the event from all concerned and it was agreed that some fair dinkum club racing would be had twice a year!
Club member Frank Murray died on 6th November at the age of 21 years as a result of a bicycle accident while training at Watsons Bay. This was a very sad occasion for all club members as he was extremely well liked. Frank is remembered for his 100% effort in SCC events, especially the Time Trials and for this reason we named our annual Time Trial Trophy in his honour.
AUSTRALIAN VETERAN TRACK CHAMPIONSHPS
Matthew Marlow brought home three Bronze medals at the Australian Veteran Track Championships in Shepperton. Matthew podiumed in the 500m TT (49 seconds), the 3 Lap Derby and the 10 Lap Scratch Race. At the time this made Matthew the club’s most successful racer.
SCC SHORT COURSE RECORD
Marty Renwick breaks the SCC 2 lap (short course) ITT record with a time of 9:44:74 (45.63km/h) Although technically not a member of the club at the time it is still an impressive time.
A mountain bike ride is first introduced to the club calendar by Clay Kesting. Now Kesting’s bought a mountain bike, its fleece a stipple glow, And everywhere ‘El Presi’ rolls, His nobbie wheelies blow!
Evening and afternoon rides were introduced to the regular club rides. After all, not everyone's an early bird! On Wednesday evenings members could join for laps around the Park from 5pm to 7pm and also on Saturdays from 2pm for a couple of hours.
WOMEN’S ROAD RACE CHAMPION
Robyn Van Nooten wins the Women’s Road Race Championship (30-35) held in Forster and came second overall in points. The race was an exciting event. Tanya and Robyn worked together to stop any breakaways being effective. Consequently, the bunch stayed together throughout the entire race. There was a bunch sprint for the finish which saw Robyn crossing the line and Tanya Bosch coming in third.
OUR FIRST STATE TTT MEDAL
Pre-race jitters finally saw them away but it took the team 3-4km to get the basic paceline together, whereupon the pre-conditioned training techniques finally took charge. After 5km Victoria’s recent illness saw her drop off, with Fiona, Gaye and Ruthie finally settling into that perfect Sydney rhythm. At the quarter mark we were in 3rd position and 6 seconds down, not that we knew that at the time. At the first hill on the way out, gear problems clouded the flow… they turned like Olympians, Gaye having ridden to the pre-race strategy now hung on for life. Ruth riding like a state rep, held the team together, while Fiona utilising her ‘Schwarzenegger' leg muscles, rode gears a little too big and complemented Ruth. The last quarter being the most fluid and smooth, we came in fast to the finish – with a time of 35:48 it was just 7 seconds off first. The team behind the Club’s first State Silver medal was Victoria, Fiona O’Connor, Gaye and Ruthie - coached by Peter Montford.
Members at the 2002 Kilo event at Botany Bay
In more recent years we've held the Kilo at Tempe Velodrome.
Members at the 2002 Kilo event at Botany Bay
OUR FIRST KILO
The inaugural Kilo event was first introduced to our club racing calendar. The standing start 1km time trial was held along the breakwater at Botany Bay. It has been a fixture in club racing ever since moving to a number of different courses including Tempe Velodrome. The Kilo Trophy is so big it's been likened to a boogie board.
AUSTRALIAN CRITERIUM CHAMPION
Tanya Bosch, with clever tactics, won the women's Australian Criterium Championship (30-39 age group) holding off a field of 13 other riders. Tanya in a breakaway of five, jumped the last corner to sprint the final 250 metres for gold and the Australian Champion title. Tanya also finished 4th in the Road Race on a 28km circuit.
LONG COURSE RECORD
Peter Montford sets the Club TT Long Course (10km) record with a time of 13:41.65 (43.79kph). The long course started at the Woollahra gates and did two ‘cat ear’ laps.