Northern Sydney Cycling Club has been racing at Beaumont Road for 30 years. Here are the key features of the race they call “Beauie Worlds”.
- Flat hot dog course
- The two corners are key
- Watch out for traffic
As its name indicates, racing takes place entirely along Beaumont Road in the Mount Kuring-Gai Industrial Estate north of Sydney.
It’s an out-and-back or “hot dog” course: riders start at the southern end near Hamley Rad, head north for 1.5 kilometres, do a U-turn at the far end and come back the way they came. Upon returning to the southern end, they do another U-turn before heading back out for another lap. Riders must therefore keep to the left-hand side of the road at all times.
A full circuit is around 3 kilometres in length.
The course is mostly flat. There is a slight rise near the bus depot in both directions, but the elevation difference between the highest and lowest points on course is barely 10 metres – basically negligible. Races here are certainly not determined by climbing ability.
In terms of technical cornering, the two U-turns present the only challenges. The sections in between are straightforward.
While the road surface is mostly smooth and safe, this is an industrial zone. Potholes and cracks dot the course, caused by wear and tear from heavy vehicles. Parked cars and trucks line the side of Beaumont Road, so don’t ride too close to the left-hand kerb.
While Northern Sydney CC do a good job of controlling traffic, Beaumont Road is a public road. Cars, trucks and even buses from the bus depot may travel back and forth during the race – an important reason to keep left at all times.
The finishing line is on the southbound side of the road, just before Hamley Street. The run-in is far from being a finish “straight” – it takes in a series of fast curves, so good line choice can save you a few handy metres in a sprint.
The southern turnaround point used to be much closer to Pacific Highway. However, increased industrial activity in that section of Beaumont Road (the Boral plant provides concrete for the NorthConnex project) has forced the club to shorten the course.
We spoke to Jack Renshaw, a young Northern Sydney CC rider and member of the club’s development team, the “Dog Squad”. Renshaw says mastering the turnarounds is the key to success at Beaumont Road.
“It’s not a particularly difficult course,” says Renshaw, “but when you get the strong guys in A Grade, a break tends to go because if you have four or five guys that can work really well, it’s just straight and flat.”
“Where it tends to split up is the U-turns. You’ve got to really stay on the person in front of you… if you leave a gap or anything like that you can get distanced. Then it’s just a bit of attrition after every U-turn. Your legs get a bit more tired, you can’t put out as much power. You’ve got to pick your gear right, as well.”
“I reckon if you stay up the front, you’ve got a massive advantage because you can take your own line through the corner. You’re more likely to be in the right gear as well because you haven’t got that unknown quantity of the person in front of you cornering.”
Northern Sydney Cycling Club runs criterium races at Beaumont Road on Sunday mornings, usually the third Sunday of the month. Races may also take place on some public holidays, such as Easter Monday. The club’s biggest regular race is their annual Rob Hodgson Memorial Race.
Races are separated into grades A-D, plus a juniors race if numbers permit.
Mount Kuring-Gai has a train station, but most racers drive or ride to Beaumont Road. The venue is 35 kilometres from the Sydney CBD.
If driving, there is plenty of on-road parking along (a very steep) Hamley Road, and on Beaumont Road itself.
Unfortunately, on-site facilities are rather bare. There are no toilets within easy reach. Shade and shelter are hard to come by, so be prepared if poor weather is expected.