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From the President...

  • ASCC Annual General Meeting and Awards Presentation Night  
The ASCC Annual General Meeting (AGM) and awards presentations will be held at the ASCC clubrooms at 5.30pm Saturday 23 October.  I encourage all members, relations, friends and potential members to come along to help celebrate riders’ achievements for the year, as well as hear all about what the club has done in 2021, together with plans for next year.  Speaking of 2022, a couple of the committee members are leaving interstate at the end of the year, so there will be some vacancies on the committee.  In addition, our Public Officer Steve O’Burtill, is relinquishing his role after 10 sterling years due to relocating interstate, so that position is up for grabs too.  At the AGM, people will have the opportunity to nominate themselves (or someone else – as often happens!) to be part of the committee and have a role in the running of this great sporting club. Please consider nominating.
One of the annual awards is for the club member of the year.  This is the only award that club members get to vote on (most are decided by points accumulated by riders during races, while others are by the committee).  In the past few years, the president has set up a survey that gets sent to members prior to the AGM whereby they can vote for this award.  I will shortly be sending this out.  In addition, members who attend the AGM/Awards Presentation night will be able to vote at the time (if they have not voted previously).
  • In Memoriam – Walter (Wally) Henry Spears  (04 April 1928 – 01 September 2021)
The Alice Springs Cycling Club extends its deepest sympathies to the Spears family on the sad passing of Wally on 01 September.  Aged 93, Wally passed away peacefully in the Alice Springs Hospital.  He was married to wife Alvena for 70 years with whom he had six children including Dallas and Jack, both of whom were keen cyclists with the club.

Wally Spears (left) being interviewed by TV personality Mark “Fletch” Fletcher on the classic cars show, Classic Restos, 15 June 2016 (then aged 88).

The Spears family have been associated with the ASCC since its inception and have supported the club throughout the years.  Dallas Spears was the inaugural president of the ASCC in 1966.  Wally and Alvena were part of the group that lobbied and fundraised to build the velodrome facility in the 1980s.  The Spears family still have the sheetmetal works on Sargent Street (just around the corner from the clubrooms) and built the grandstands and bike hanging racks inside the containers. If it’s made of metal on the ASCC premises, chances are that the Spears family built it!

Spears Sheetmetal works on the corner of Sargent Street and Cameron Street, Braitling. 

The Spears family still operate Spears Sheetmetal factory in Braitling.  This site, which the family have owned for over 70 years was originally where Wally had his trucking business, before establishing the sheetmetal works.  Riders who race the criterium circuit from the clubrooms in February each year fly past this site every time, probably without noticing or being aware of its history or connections with the club. 
Walter Henry Spears was born on 4th April 1928 at Narrandera, NSW. Later his family moved to Gippsland, Victoria. Wally left school at age 13, starting work wheeling sawdust for Maurie Dyer and growing potatoes. Later Wally graduated to driving an International KBR 11 truck for Mrs Hugg after her husband died, carting logs from Tanjil Bren the 100 miles to Melbourne.
Wally first travelled to Alice Springs at age 21 to work for Jim Bullen on Derwent Station doing station work. Wally stayed there 12 months before returning to Victoria. In 1951, Wally married Alvena.
Just prior to Christmas 1956, Wally packed Alvena and children Ian, Dallas and Gwenda into a 1956 Austin with semi-trailer and headed back to Derwent arriving in January 1957. He again worked for Jim Bullen until the drought drove them out two years later. The Austin had remained in Wally's possession and he has recently restored it to its original condition.
Wally moved to Alice Springs, setting up his own business, Mt Nancy Transport, carting cattle using the Austin, making his own single deck crate. The roads weren't good enough for a Roadtrain at that time. Purchases of Commer, AEC, Diamond T and Mercedes trucks followed.
The AEC was first used in front of a Roadtrain towing two 36' trailers to suit the rail carriages which took most of the stock south to markets in Adelaide (Gepps Cross).  Not long after starting up the carting business, Wally started transporting stock of Micky Brown on Marqua Station. Wally carted everything -  oil rigs, steel, subcontracting for Co-Ord and paramount transport company.
Three more children arrived in the Northern Territory, Robert (deceased), Barry and Graeme.  Wally had trucks for 21 years in the Alice Springs area transporting livestock, goods and machinery.  After retiring from driving trucks, Wally maintained his involvement in the local trucking industry through his engineering business in the Mount Nancy area until 2010.
In 2016, then aged 88, Wally was interviewed by TV personality Mark 'Fletch' Fletcher for the Classic Restos program, due to his large collection of classic vehicles that he immaculately restored himself, including a 1936 Ford Truck, a EH Holden Special Sedan, a 1939 Straight 8 Buick sedan and Model T Ford. Classic Restos showcases vehicles from the past and Fletch travels around Australia to reveal classic cars and their owners' stories.  The episode provides a great insight into Wally, his cars and trucks, as well as giving the town of Alice Springs a bit of a plug. 

Readers can view the episode at It’s well worth a look.

Max Yffer
ASCC President   
Alice Springs Cycling Club Come and Try series
The Club is putting together a come and try series on the track with our amazing volunteers and coaches.

One last session to be held.... 

When: 28 October
Where: ASCC Velodrome, Cameron street, Alice Springs
Time: Arrive 1630 Start 1700-1815
Cost: Free

Title: Come and Try Track
Category: Come and Try
Country: Australia
Feature: Track, Beginner
Description: Do you love watching Velodrome events at the Olympics? Have you ever wondered what it is like to ride on a Velodrome track? This is your chance! You will have access to a highly experienced, accredited cycling coach to show you how to 'ride track' safely and have fun. 
Terms & Conditions: You must register with Ride Nation (this covers you for insurance). Please bring an Australian Standard helmet, and if you have cleats (mountain bike or road bike), bring those as well. Wear comfortable clothes with sleeves, and bring gloves if you have some. We will provide you with a track bike…

Keep an eye out for more details via Facebook
The Simpson Dessert Bike Challenge - by Nicola Jelinek

The Simpson Desert Bike Challenge is an annual five-day race across Australia’s most iconic desert. The 500km race route traverses over 1000 sand dunes from Purni Bore in the west to Birdsville in the east following a scenic selection of tracks – the French Line, Rig Road, Knolls Track, WAA Line and QAA Line. Many ASCC members have competed in this race over the years - including Andrew Koop, Ron Slusser, Steve Brady and Kathy Moylan.  I had initially planned to enter last year however the COVID pandemic put an end to that.  The 2021 race was all set to go, but again it was cancelled just one month before the starting gun.  With so much preparation already underway - including meals frozen, tyres bought (from Steve) and knobs trimmed (thanks Ron), extra jerry cans (thanks Mark), EPIRB (thanks Laurie), car awning, desert flag, and time off work we decided to ‘just do it anyway’.  After a couple of interested teams from South Australia and my daughter pulled out, it was just Jason (support crew extraordinaire) and I.

After a dawn swim at Dalhousie Hot Springs we drove to the start point at Purni Bore.  Even with a head wind and starting late on the first day I made good time, enjoying the amazing scenery and getting a feel for riding up and down the sand dunes.   It felt great to be on the fat-bike again, with a great sense of excitement embarking on something new and potentially risky. Even though conditions were pretty good, we saw the Mt Dare recovery vehicle retrieving two cars in the first couple of days. This didn’t leave us with complete confidence, but we finished each day without issue and I was averaging over 15km/hour.  In the race there is a sweep vehicle at 12km/hour and I wanted to be well within this time frame.

We found spectacular camps each night mostly in the swales protected by the sand dunes, and one night on the edge of a vast salt lake.  In the middle of the desert the sand dunes were closer together and more irregular which made for super fun riding, curving around and up and over and down again.  The dunes and swales got bigger and bigger the further east we travelled, until we reached the biggest dune, ‘Big Red’ (40m high)…which I almost rode up.  Jason was pleased to drive up on the first attempt. 

Our Pajero handled the sand easily, with low pressures. I got down to 2/3psi on the fat bike which made a huge difference riding up the dunes. The dunes become harder to ride in the heat of the day as the sand gets softer and I needed to let the air out as the temperatures rose.  I had to get off and walk a number of times.  My legs burned riding up, and then continued to burn coming down the other side as I needed to brace in attack position.  Although the swales were often quite compact, they were often corrugated, making sure I couldn’t get any rest. Can you imagine repeating this 1000 times?! I haven’t been able to face riding up Anzac Hill since returning to Alice. 

It was beautiful to ride in the morning after the wind had swept all the tyre tracks away, leaving only the rippling sand and animal tracks - evidence of the night time activity - beetles, lizards, hopping mice, camels and unfortunately much evidence of feral cat.
The weather was mostly kind, around 33 degrees with average wind, both with and against me, however one day reached 39C with a super-strong northerly headwind whipping the sand up - boy was I glad to be wearing mum’s glamourous hat, preventing the sand from filling up my ears.  The sand is very fine and I was covered in it by the end of each day. We had wet wipes to wash, however after realising that we would have more than enough water, I enjoyed the luxury of a proper bush shower.

Finishing in Birdsville without fanfare was rather underwhelming after completing what felt like such a major achievement.  Jason was there, along with a couple of tourists who cheered me.  I felt extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to ride the entire length of the Simpson Desert in 4 1/2 days with wonderful support and laughs all the way.  And very pleased knowing that my average times were well under the race cut-off.  Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to compete in the ‘real SDBC’…or perhaps it’s time to try a different race?!

Nicola Jelinek
Bond Springs King of the Hills 2021
ASCC with the support of the the Bond Springs Heaslip family conducted the King of the Hills from the MVR to the high point marker along the Stuart Highway.
A number of riders attended with a lovely BBQ at Bond Springs Station for Lunch. Results to be announced at the AGM.

Thankyou Bond Springs for the continued support and hospitality to the Alice Springs Cycling Club over the past 5 decades .

Track Racing....Come and have a go!

Feel the need for an extra adrenaline hit during your week? There is always room for more rides to ramp you up for the upcoming ASCC track season or to just improve your road/MTB fitness. Track Racing happens every  Thursday at 6 30pm in October and November.  ASCC has excellent track bikes for club member use. Come out and we'll set you up! For more info contact the club via Facebook...
Details here on Facebook...

Alice Springs Cycling Club results update
Ross River Grand Fondo, Standley Chasm ASCC Road race championships, ASCC Time trail Championships, and King of the hills 2021 have been raced over the last few weeks. Come to the AGM on Saturday the 23 October 2021 to find out the results....but a few pics to keep you guessing! 


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