Solo riders win out at first Hunter Valley Chrono

Solo riders win out at first Hunter Valley Chrono


Words and photos by Ryan Miu

Emily Watts and Matthew Dinham will be the first to etch their names on the Hunter Valley Chrono trophy after they recorded the fastest times on the 30km course in Singleton, beating all other individuals, pairs and Super Teams.

It showed the class of the two riders to defeat teams of up to four riders despite the disadvantage of riding alone.

The inaugural Chrono event completed an enormous weekend of time trialling in the Hunter, which had begun with the Singleton Challenge and NSW Club TTT Championships.

In the Chrono, riders could choose to compete as individuals, pairs or “Super Teams” of four, with non-UCI-legal bikes permitted. Some audacious riders – such as Jon Leighton, Greigory Cochrane and Lois Cochrane, and the juniors from Team Rauland – chose to compete in more than one category, truly testing the limits of their fitness.

The day began with a shorter 17km individual time trial, which included tricyclists, hand-cyclists, juniors and Masters riders. NSW Institute of Sport coaches were in attendance, assessing the performances of some up-and-coming cyclists for their potential future programs.

Bathurst under-19 Luke Tuckwell was quickest over the short course, recording a time of 25:03 at just over 41km/h. Sarah Cliff (Illawarra CC) was the fastest woman over the distance, clocking 29:22 and winning her under-19 category.

On the longer course, individual riders were up first. Peter Milostic (Penrith CC) set a strong benchmark by winning the 40-59 Men category with a time of just under 42 minutes.

Milostic’s time would be surpassed by young gun Dylan George (Manly Warringah CC, Team Rauland), who stopped the clock at 41 minutes flat.

George had been part of the four-rider Manly team that won the Elite Men’s state championship the day before with a time of 39:37. Another rider on that team had been Matthew Dinham (Team Bridgelane), and the 20-year-old northern beaches rider backed up to surpass all expectations in the Chrono.

Riding as an individual, Dinham obliterated the course with a time of 39:31.15, single-handedly bettering the time of his full Manly team. Dinham noted that his team had dropped a rider in the state championship and he had been beset by mechanical difficulties, but still, his feat was no less impressive.

In the women’s ITTs, Emily Watts (Subaru-Giant, SUVelo) – who, like Dinham, had been part of an Elite Championship-winning team – was quickest with a time of 47:10.

This left Watts and Dinham in the figurative hot seats as they waited to see whether any of the pairs or Super Teams could dethrone their times.

Pairs time trialling is a traditional discipline that seems to have fallen out of favour in the past few decades. Despite theoretically allowing for fasters times than a lone rider, it takes practice and teamwork to maximise a pair’s results compared to each individual racing at their own pace.

The Hunter Valley Chrono saw the return of the two-up event in NSW, and Dulwich Hill duo Chris Ling and John Caley took top honours with a time of 43:55. Karen Webb and Georgia Marjoribanks (Newcastle CC) won the women’s pair event, while Harlequin’s Jon Leighton and Katie Banerjee won the mixed category to cap off an excellent weekend for their club.

However – crucially – none of those times came close to Dinham’s and Watt’s benchmarks.

This left just the four-rider Super Teams to complete the course, with Team Rauland (men), Central Coast CC (women) and the Cockshutt family from Port Macquarie (mixed) taking out their respective categories – but again, falling short of the fastest times of the day.

As a result, Watts and Dinham were presented with the Hunter Valley Chrono cup. They will be the first to have their names engraved on the trophy as the fastest male and female combinations in the 2020 inaugural edition.

Perhaps by 2021, some more pairs and Super Teams will have refined their teamwork and will challenge the new course records set in beautiful Singleton.

Prizes for the Hunter Valley Chrono were provided by Peter Drayton Wines, IronBark Hill Brewhouse, Catherine Vale Wines, Shimano Australia and Lazer Helmets.

The Singleton time trial weekend was brought to you by Singleton Council, Hunter Valley Operations and Cycling NSW.


Full results:

Fastest male (individual, pair or team): Matthew Dinham (Manly Warringah CC, Team Bridgelane) – 39:31.15

Fastest female time (individual, pair or team): Emily Watts (SUVelo, Subaru-Giant) – 47:19.06