SCOTT Sunderland reckons he has the easiest job at today’s 53rd Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic.
The former cycling star is race director for the 53rd edition of the iconic 228km race and, while that means he’s the boss, he also believes he might be able to sit back and watch another dramatic single stage race develop into the grand piece of cycling entertainment and effort that it is.
“It’s not a difficult job,” Sunderland said.
“I just need to make people be at the right place at the right time.
“I know the race well and just need everyone to be on the same page.
“We need all the volunteers to do and do it right.
“I’m just a massive trouble shooter really. But I think the race should roll out well. I don’t expect any problems.”
He’s already talked with police who will escort the riders, around 280 of them, from sea level, up the Gibraltar Range to around 1060m and then to Inverell at some 590m above sea level.
Sunderland has also ridden the course, albeit as an 18-year-old who had just won the Australian Road racing championship a week before.
That was back in 1986 when he was beaten in a photo finish by Andrew Logan and Ian McKenzie.
He looks back on that third placing with no regrets apart from the timing of the race and ruing the fact it has a tougher run in these days with a couple more hills added to the final 20km.
The Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic is one of six major races he has been employed to act as race director.
Next year the repositioning of events on the racing calendar might make the Grafton to Inverell even more “juicy” for riders from across the nation.
At the moment it is the final NRS race and, as such, a few of the teams have opted out.
Enhancing the race and attracting even bigger and better fields is something Sunderland would love to happen.
In fact, when The Leader calls he’s on his bike, out training.
“I’ve neglected it for a while,” he said.
“It’s my first week back on it. I’m trying to get fit again.”
And fitness is a key word in his life now after some 25 years of professional riding and managing teams.
He’s into corporate training, both on and off the bike.
It presents a busy schedule for him too.
While he and wife Sabine and their children are based back in Inverell, he’s travelling all over directing NRS races as well as conducting corporate sessions or providing private coaching for riders.
“Put simply: They pay me to kick their backsides,” Sunderland said.
He’s never been one to beat around the bush.
His training programs help coach people to ride and coach riders to perform better.
The corporate training might be something like a 5.30am ride for an hour and then a breakfast from 7am where he can recount his many experiences riding as a professional and winning some of the biggest races.
“Yeah , we have a few talks, do a bit of networking, all that with some big companies.
‘I’ve also been doing a bit of consultancy work with teams and a bit of TV stuff too. It’s pretty busy.”
Which makes today’s Grafton to Inverell something of a “walk in the park” for a favourite Inverell son ready to troubleshoot any problem down and make the classic another success.