In 2013 the club celebrated 20 years. Below is a brief history of the club.


Prologue

The genesis of the ACT Veterans Cycling Club dates back to the late 70’s when Eric Aldin put an advertisement in the paper for cyclists to form the Canberra Old Boys Cycling Club. Technically the “Old Boys” was for men only however there one female member, Leslie Dan.

20th Anniversary - Club proposed
Canberra Times articale proposing a new club for vet riders

One of the members of the Old Boys was Milos ‘Mike’ Paral who died as a result of an accident at the Goulburn Velodrome.  The ‘Iron Mike’ race, from Uriarra Rd through to the end of the bitumen, was named in his honour and we still race it today.

By 1982/83 the Old Boys had in the order of 100 members.

In 1983, there was an amalgamation of the Canberra Old Boys and the Canberra Wests Amateur Cycling Club (which was struggling) to form the Canberra Cycling Club (which is still in existence today).

Over the next ten years, there was an increasing feeling among the older members of the club that the club was focussed on the racing for the junior members and that the older members were being relegated to support roles. Some Veterans felt there was a need for a Veterans only club.

1993

In June/July a Club Championship event was organised for juniors only.  It was suggested the older members could “go on a training ride”.  A group went out to the Old Federal Highway and ran the first unofficial race on the Old Federal Highway from the Tulip Farm, along Shingle Hill Way (to the then end of the bitumen) and back.

Around that time, Keith Davis approached Henry and Marilyn Beaverstock and Barry Cole with an idea to form a new club for Veterans. After a number of meetings at Barry Cole’s house, the plans were in place and a set of flyers were produced.

21 Aug – First Race

The first “official” race for the club was run at Point Hut. The result sheet shows a sprightly Graham Hendrie winning the event.

Handwritten race results including rider's names and times
Results of the first Vets race.

Point Hut (36km) – 20 Competitors

  • G Hendrie
  • S Hillyard
  • C Toohey
  • B Jones
  • J Sweetapple
  • B Seevink
  • R Norris
  • M Cashmore
  • D Maher
  • F Tonelli
  • J I’ons
  • N Simper
  • K Davis
  • D Gould
  • G O’Neill
  • R Paten
  • J Weiss
  • A I’ons
  • J Davis
  • J Udvardi

At some point after the Club had started racing, it was suggested that getting some Insurance might be a good idea.  In order to obtain insurance, the Club needed to be Incorporated, so the Club legally came into existence.


The Inaugural General Meeting of the ACTVCC was held on the 4th December 1993 at the Picnic Ground at Uriarra Crossing.The First President was Keith Davis, Vice President Henry Beaverstock and Marilyn Beaverstock as Secretary and Treasurer.:

1994

1994 Kicked off with a 33 Race Program.  Racing was only on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings except for Thursday Track meetings.  There would be no mid-week racing until the Stromlo Forest Park facility was built in 2006.

One of the races on the program was the Sweepstake Handicap.  Riders paid $2 (or $5) into a pool and the money was divided up and paid to up to the first 10 place getters depending on the size of the field. This event was discontinued in later years as it decided that it made the racing too competitive.

In 1994, the ACTVCC affiliated with the Australian Veterans Cycling Council (AVCC) enabling Canberra Vets to participate in Interstate events as well as access to national Insurance arrangements.

The ACT Veterans Cycling Club Newsletter “Spoke Torque” was being produced every month (or every second/third month) by Henry Beaverstock and Graham Hendrie and posted out to members.

1995

The club had only 9 female members and they were made very welcome, even receiving flowers at the race one Mother’s Day weekend.

Word of mouth and advertising of club races in the Canberra Times saw membership increase rapidly over the next few years (both male and female).

Boiling water for after-race tea and coffee was provided from approximately 10 ‘Airpots’ which were painstakingly filled and brought along to the races each week by Graeme O’Neill. This clearly wasn’t sustainable with growing membership numbers and part of the brief for the new trailer design was a gas fired urn.

1996

Tony Carylon was elected Club President

An interesting fact;

  • In 1996, there were ~200 club members. The average number of riders in Road Races was 63.
  • In 2013, with over 450 members, the average number of riders in Road races is 64!

A competition was held amongst the club members for a new club jersey and the winning design was by Peter Southgate. The outfit is being modelled by Bobby Dungca.

20th Anniversary - First Vets kit
ACTVets first club jersey – designed by Peter Southgate and modelled by Bobby Dungca

All race results were results calculated manually, including aged standard time trials.  Henry Beaverstock subtracted and sorted results for 60 riders using mental arithmetic, paper and pencil.

1997

Looks like back in 1997, according to “Spoke Torque”, we were having trouble getting sufficient volunteers to help run the races. Seems not much has changed in 15 years.

20th Anniversary - 1997 messageTrack Racing was up and running by 1997/98. Ann Scown and Jan Koehler were regulars out at the Queanbeyan track, as were Mark Harris and Terry Moore, Bill Frost, Bobby Dungca and several more.

1998

The ACTVCC gets its first World Champion. Mark Harris won the inaugural World Sprint Title Championship help in Maryborough. The sprint was over 300 metres from a ramp start.

The ACTVCC finally joined the Internet age with its own Website and an actual Email address.

Around this time, the club had a memorable weekend away at Cabramurra, holding a Criterium on Saturday afternoon and road race on Sunday. It was a very successful weekend with a great turnout of members.

1999

This year marked the inauguration of the Gunning Two Day event.

Bill Frost took over from Jan Koehler as editor of Spoke Torque.

Tony McDonald was elected President and Ann Scown as Vice-President

The club set a new membership record of 225.

2000

The GST was introduced with the interesting effect that;

  • The cost of a Bike goes down: 22% Sales Tax -> 10% GST
  • The cost of Bike Helmets goes up: 0% Sales Tax (safety equipment) -> 10% GST

Parkes Way vanishes as a Race Venue

2001

Club President – Bill Frost, Vice president – Jim Thompson

In that year, there were a number of Club Awards including;

The ‘Iron Pot’ (as in ‘Talk the leg off an …’) Award went to Peter Klein.

Haven’t seen this award handed out recently, maybe it needs to be re-instated.

There was a competition for a new uniform. The winning design is shown in this photo being worn by Robert Langridge.

20th Anniversary - 2001 kit20th Anniversary - John ScarlettOur much loved Club Secretary, John Scarlett, died during a race at Lookout Hill.  Almost the entire club forms an honour guard at the service and lead the hearse out to honour John’s memory.

2002

Spoke Torque Editor was now Gabrielle Wright

The Club decided to investigate computerised results after manual results sheet were left outside Graham Hendrie’s place for publication, only to be eaten by snails!

An Initial Proposal for a permanent Crit Track was being developed off Lady Denman Drive.  The following diagram shows the location of the proposed facility.

Location of proposed crit track off Lady Denman dirve

In the event, the Canberra Bushfires of 2003 cleared the Pine Forests around Stromlo opening the way for the construction of the current multi-use facility.

2003

Judy Scott took over the editing of the revived Spoke Torque which was in A4 format for easier reading.

Bill Frost was elected to the position of President with John Thorn as Vice-President.

Devastating bushfires in Canberra destroyed many houses, including that of member Peter Prammer.  Peter approached the club pointing out that many young children were cut-off from their circle of friends due to the loss of their only means of transport.  Club members chipped in to purchase around 15 to 20 low cost bicycles that Ian Downing fanatically built into dependable machines.  When they were handed over to the grateful recipients, just listening to the parents’ stories was sobering and sufficient thanks in itself.  One young girl of around 12 rode around and around, overjoyed to have a bicycle again.  Caroline Buchanan was later to become a BMX World Champion and Olympic Games representative.

2004

One of our original members entered club legend by riding off the bridge and ending up in the Murrumbidgee River during a race.  He climbed back onto Uriarra Crossing a bit dazed, looking for his bike.  Phil Lesjek who was marshalling, spotted the bike and pointed it out under the water and he, without a thought, dived in, retrieved it, turned it upside down and once the water had drained out, remounted and made his way back to the finish.

Ed: Club legend has it that he rejoined the bunch and continued racing but I have it on good authority that this wasn’t the case (sorry to spoil a good story).

2006

The Club’s 500th Event was held on the 29th January 2006 at the Old Federal Highway;

There was a $500 prize for each grade.  There were 107 starters on the day.

2007

The newsletter sent out by Email was started by John Coleman and he named it ‘The Bleat’.

20th Anniversary  - Vets milestone
Canberra Times articale from 2007

2008

Foundation member Bruce Jones became the first club member to participate in 500 club events.

Edward King was the editor of the Bleat which was now a weekly update by Email updating members before race day.

2009

Current President Rob Diamond was elected to the Position with Graham Hendrie as Vice President replacing Glenn Allen.

Richard Gorrell took over as the editor of the Bleat.

Peter McLennan

20th Anniversary - Peter McLennan
Enthusiastic club memeber Peter McLennan

There have been many memorable people in the club over the years. One of the most enthusiastic, committed members was Peter McLennan who was tragically killed in a boating accident in 2009.

Peter joined the ACT Vets in 1998. He cut a distinctive figure, racing with an original red 1980s stack hat and an Allen carbon frame that was 3 sizes too large and he had paid a small fortune for, stuck in a bidding war at the police stolen property auctions. He quickly became interested in pursuing a criterium facility and to further this, formed a group composed of ACT Vets, Canberra Cycles, Triathletes, CORC, Pedal Power and speed skaters and wrote a submission that quickly grew to 15 pages. He organised lobbying meetings with every relevant state or federal politician and pressed them for a suitable venue. After one of these meetings, with Wilson Tuckey, who thought we could perhaps use a bike path somewhere, some of us questioned whether we really had a chance. Completely undeterred, Peter decided to enhance the submission with a bit more marketing. He borrowed the club’s video camera, hired a light plane and with the window open, flew around filming suitable venues. In those post 9/11 times, it wasn’t long before the AFP asked the control tower to radio the pilot and demand that he stop flying slow circles around Government House!

Eventually, the Stromlo facility was built and if you drive by and see thousands of mountain bikers, hundreds of road cyclists or parents cycling with their young children, then this is as Peter McLennan envisaged it.

Peter also developed and maintained a software package that holds details of riders and races and automates a lot of the event management tasks. This is used by three Canberra clubs. Results are generated from a web site called “raceforever.com” and I think this phrase typifies Peter McLennan’s approach to life.

2010

The Race Management System (RMS) went online so that members could access race results and standing via the Internet.

2012

The big news for 2012 was that club member Sue Powell took Gold on the Track at the London Paralympic Games.

Ian Morton takes over editing the Weekly Bleat.

2013

This year we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Club with an impressive 450 members and a season schedule of 81 events encompassing Road, Track and Criterium racing.

The trailer

The original club trailer was Frank Tonelli’s Flatbed Truck with a canvas tent over a frame for the signon desk to keep the officials dry and out of the wind. Here’s a picture of Frank’s Truck at the starting line at Uriarra Homestead.

20th Anniversary - Frank Tonelli’s flatbed

The next version was the trusty trailer which was purchased in around 1998. Tony Carlyon towed the trailer for a number of years prior to his move to Queensland. The trailer was then towed by John McMaster for approx. 3 years until he took up golf in 2003. A towing roster was established but the roster fell into disuse so Bill Frost towed it from around 2003 for about ten years.20th Anniversary -  Trusty club trailer

In October 2011, the Club purchased a brand new van. Here’s a photo of Graham Hendrie in the van showing off the setup.

20th Anniversary - The club van

Courses

In addition to the current set of courses that we use for racing, there have been a number of other courses that have been used over the years.

Time trials – Parkes Way

In “the Good Old Days” before there was anything in the way of control, races could be run without any forms of official approval.One popular course was Parkes Way where cyclists would assemble at the parking area below the roundabout where Anzac Avenue meets. Cyclists would head out along Parkes Way for 10km then return to the finish.

Eventually it was suggested by Police that this “might be a bit dangerous” and the course was discontinued.

Other road courses

Other courses that we used over the years were;

Randwick Road Course – which included Flemington Rd, Sandford Rd and Belenden Rd.

Lanyon Gates – Apollo Rd

Lanyon Gates – Point Hut – Tharwa Loop

Nanima Road to Sutton Rd

Cooma

Gundaroo Rd

Bungendore to Tarago

Criterium racing

Prior to the construction of the Stromlo Forest Park circuit, there were a number of locations around Canberra where we used to run Criterium racing;

  • The Parking Lot behind Bruce Stadium – AIS land.
  • Back of Campbell Park
  • Australian Geological Sciences Organisation (AGSO) Car Park at Symonston.
  • Mundaring Drive, Kingston – There were some complaints from local residents and issues with the road surface and camber.
  • Sutton Driver Training centre

Racing stats

The following table shows the total number of events for the top 19 club participants;

Member

Events

Bruce Jones

698

Graham Hendrie

612

Bob Kent

609

Jeff Culnane

583

Bill Frost

576

Nick Boylan

559

Allan Bontjer

493

Mike Hayes

490

Alex Sommariva

486

Don De Smet

473

John Thorn

450

Peter Harding

415

Kevin Hennessy

399

Patrick McNamara

389

Barbara Bayliss

387

James Meredith

381

Simon Milnes

376

Jan Koehler

372

Richard Bourne

370

Life Members

The following are life members of the ACT Veterans Cycling in recognition of their long service and contribution to the club;

  • Graham Hendrie – still racing and a member of the committee
  • Bill Frost – still racing
  • Barry Cole – still riding
  • Roy Bloomfield – Goulburn – still riding
  • Henry Beaverstock – still riding and Club Officiating

Vale Veterans

The following members of the club have passed away;

  • Ann Gardner
  • Arthur Jones
  • Bob Chorley
  • David Gould
  • Dieter Lange
  • Frank Tonelli
  • Giuseppe Tine
  • Gunter Ackermann
  • Harry Worthington
  • John Scarlett
  • John Warth
  • Keith Knight
  • Mike Cashmore
  • Milton Valentine
  • Peter McLennan
  • Peter Tesseyman
  • Richard Gregson
  • Richard Norris
  • Robert Woodrow
  • Steve Hilyard
  • Terry Teague

To these members, and any we’ve missed, we say Race Forever