It is with equal doses of pride and sadness we have to announce one of AMR Renault Racing’s foundation riders, Dylan Sunderland, will be leaving the squad in 2016 with one eye firmly fixed on Europe.
“Clearly we’re sad to see Dylan move on after three years, he’s been such a fantastic rider for us,” said Team Director Russell Menzies. “But having played a role in helping him develop from a talented U19 in 2012 to now be one of the most exciting prospects in the country is also very satisfying. It’s an affirmation we’re on the right path and in many ways is exactly why this team was established in the first place, to provide opportunities for guys just like Dylan.”
“Of course as one chapter ends, another begins, and Dylan’s departure will obviously provide some great opportunities for other guys to really shine in 2016,” adds Menzies. “We’re also bringing some exciting new riders and sponsors on board – as well as the continuation of our fantastic major sponsor from 2015, AMR Renault – so while some of the names may change we still expect to be right there when the whips are cracking next season!”
In his time with AMR Renault Racing (formerly Cellarbrations Racing Team) Sunderland secured several of the team’s highest profile results since it was formed in 2012. This included claiming multiple medals at NSW State U19 and U23 Championship level, winning the 2013 Keegan Downs Sundowner Handicap, and most recently finishing third on overall GC and first U23 at the Jayco Tour of Tasmania.
The team wishes Dylan, along with his father Peter who’s been a tremendous supporter of the team since 2012, the very best for the future. We’ll be following the continued progression of Dylan’s career with the keenest of interest. His final race for the team will be at the 2015 Tour of Bright from 4-6 December where it wouldn’t surprise us in the slightest if he was once again on the podium.
Dylan Sunderland has continued his awesome run of form in 2015, taking out the overall Young Rider Classification at the 2015 Jayco Tour of Tasmania and finishing an outstanding 3rd on overall GC, just 8 seconds behind winner Brad Evans. On the way he created an important piece of history for the team, winning our maiden NRS stage, on Stage 4 from Launceston to Grindelwald with an impressive late attack.
Huge thanks go to the entire squad for helping Dylan get this historic win. Ben Carman, Matt Slee, Aaron Watts and Tim Cameron busted their tails for the team all week – and Dylan returned the favour in spades by finishing things off beautifully when it mattered most. Tim also rode a wonderful tour, showing outstanding form to finish an impressive 15th overall, less than 40 seconds off Brad Evans.
Next stop is Warney on Saturday and the small matter of 279km….
In the road race at the 2015 Oceania Championships AMR Renault was represented by a team of six with Dylan Sunderland, Matt Slee, Laurie Groom (all U23), Josh Aldridge, Aaron Watts and Cam Fraser (Elite) taking the start line. This is how Josh Aldridge saw things on his way to finishing 24th…
Conditions were calm by Toowoomba standards but with 142km and the temperature topping 30 degrees it was going to be a tough day in the saddle. Early in the race the peloton was nervous and it was very difficult to hold a good position near the front of the bunch. The team was caught out of position when an early break of seven riders escaped. With Avanti, Drapac and Budget Forklifts all content with the situation they blocked the road and the gap quickly extended to the 3-minute mark.
Into the second lap Data#3, who like us were not represented, set a good tempo on the front of the peloton and the gap came down to about 2 minutes. This suited AMR Renault and we rode well as a unit towards the front of the bunch, looking to stay out of trouble and conserve energy.
Midway through the 3rd lap some serious attacks started as legs were starting to tire. Then Drapac took control of the race and forced the pace. Soon after the feed zone a nasty crash took down five riders and split the peloton. Dylan was the only AMR Renault rider in the front bunch, the others all getting delayed by the crash. After a hard chase I made it across with a small group by the beginning of the final lap and after an even harder chase Matt also dragged himself back on.
At this point we realised that the original break was not going to be caught. But with only one U23 rider in the break, we knew Dylan had a good shot at a high finish. Coming into the hilly 2nd half of the final lap, Matt paid the price for his hard chase and lost contact with the bunch while I helped Dylan get near the front.
In the closing kilometers Dylan rode strongly and followed several moves which all came back together for a reduced bunch sprint. Dylan sprinted to 6th placed U23 (19th overall) only narrowly missing out on a podium. I came across the line in the same bunch in 24th Elite (36th overall). Matt and Aaron came across the line in 47th and 62nd place respectively. The hard conditions got to Cam and Laurie who had to abandon the race. Taylor Gunman took the Oceania title for Avanti Racing.
The race summed up a good weekend in Toowoomba for the AMR Renault Racing Team, gaining valuable experience racing together ahead of the upcoming NRS season.
Thanks to all the parents who did a superb job keeping the boys hydrated throughout the race. Without them we would all be dead on the side of the road!
AMR Renault Racing Team heads north for this weekend’s 2015 Oceania Road Cycling Championships in Toowoomba brimming with confidence following a solid start to the 2015 road season. With the Elite and U23 road races being staged together it will be the first time the bulk of the NRS squad have raced as a unit in 2015, ensuring strength in numbers and the on-road opportunities those numbers can create.
Riders to watch include kiwi Josh Aldridge, fresh from securing 12th on overall GC at the five-stage New Zealand Cycling Classic, and the quality Under 23 trio of Laurie Groom, Matt Slee and Dylan Sunderland, all of whom raced at the 2015 Mars Australian Road National Championships in Ballarat.
“With the Bay Crits and Nationals, January was a great hit-out for most of the squad and an excellent chance for the younger guys to learn from, and race with, the best,” said AMR Renault Racing Team Director Russell Menzies. “After a freshen up back at home, the boys are fired up for Toowoomba, especially Josh Aldridge and Laurie Groom who had some bad luck with mechanicals in their respective National road races. Dylan (Sunderland) always go well up there too, it’s pretty much his backyard hailing from Inverell, he knows those roads as well as anyone.”
Without doubt the team’s busiest rider at the Oceanias will be Aaron Watts, who will compete on all three days. Friday and Saturday see Watts partnering with dual Paralympic medalist, Bryce Lindores, in the tandem time trial and road races. Then on Sunday it’s the Elite Men’s road race with the rest of his AMR Renault racing team-mates.
AMR Renault Racing Team – 2015 Oceania Road Championships: Joshua Aldridge, Laurie Groom, Dylan Sunderland, Matt Slee, Cameron Fraser, Toby Orchard, Aaron Watts.