Right path to elite success
CYCLING has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this week.
But for one Ipswich resident who started up his own cycling team, it was done for all the right reasons.
David Inglis is the manager of the Pensar-Hawk cycling team, which has just tasted success by taking out the women's national road series in the final race at Ballarat last weekend.
Team member Ruth Corset claimed the overall individual winner's title.
It is the sort of success Inglis, an Ipswich resident for 40 years, dreamed of when he embarked on his personal mission in 2007.
The team began with just a masters crew, followed by an open men's team and now includes a women's squad.
Inglis, 52, is no longer racing following a heart attack in 2007, but remains a member of the Ipswich Cycling Club, along with Pensar-Hawk elite rider Thomas Collier.
Collier has won the Ipswich Open road race for the past two years.
"We support all the local stuff," Inglis said. "We started with the masters (in 2009), then the elite men (in 2010).
"We recognised the need to support women's cycling, because they don't get the same sort of recognition the men do. So we started the women's project this year.
"I was introduced to Ruth, who was the national road champion in 2010."
The Pensar-Hawk team was made to work for its win.
"We led the series all year but a week before the teams lead was taken off us," Inglis said.
"We were still behind going into the third race, so we had a meeting the night before and were able to eliminate the other team.
"We rode really hard and just kept attacking."
While the riders push themselves to the limit, Inglis' toughest battle has been raising sponsorship dollars to support the team.
"The first thing we do at the end of each season is negotiate with our sponsors for next year," Inglis said.
"We're pushing a bit more for finances for our women."
It has been made tougher in light of the recent Lance Armstrong revelations, which demonstrated how widespread doping was in professional cycling's recent history.
"I think it has to (have affected us)," Inglis said.
"It's not good for the image of the sport.
"If you're a potential sponsor and you read the news you're going to ask, 'How clean is the sport?'
"But it's a good thing that in the national series the riders are dope tested.
"At our level we do it because we love it."
It was the same motivation that helped Inglis start his own team.
"It was just out of passion," he said. "I get a kick out of seeing them do well.
"It's just like a football team.
"It was great to see the girls last weekend spraying the champagne with big smiles on their faces."
Pensar-Hawk teams will contest the Noosa Criterium on November 3 and the Launceston Christmas Cycling Carnival.