Rangi Rockets Head Kiwi Invasion
10 July 2018
We already have the Chappell–Hadlee Trophy, the Bledisloe and Constellation Cups but now the Trans-Tasman rivalry has crossed over to road cycling, with the Rangi Rockets leading the Kiwi invasion of Velothon Sunshine Coast (20-22 July).
Unofficial team leader Paul Cropp said Rangi Rockets is a cycling group that was originally started by a group of doctors who wanted to be “healthier”. More than twenty years later the informal group of riders is still going strong and is a permanent feature of the local Auckland cycling scene.
“Rangi is short for Rangitoto which is a volcanic island in the Auckland Harbour,” Paul said. “Traditionally there were two rides (a slow to medium and medium to fast group) leaving from Rangitoto College – our local – at 6.45am and 7am on a Saturday morning.”
“The ride of approximately 65 km and 1300 metres of climbing would always finish at a café about two hours later. Where the partners and dogs venture to the café by car to join the riders and friends.”
The Rangi Rockets venture to Velothon Sunshine Coast is being headed up by an expeditionary force and support crew of twelve, all keen to escape the Kiwi winter and have a crack at the three day stage race in the stunning Sunshine Coast hinterland.
“Our team of four New Zealand weekend lycra warriors consists of Jenny Smith 49, Paul Cropp 55, Greg Kemp 53 and Geoff Chilcott 57, our ages add up to 214, hence the name Rangi Rockets 214.”
“We all work in different industries from employees to business owners. We all met and became firm friends through Rangi Rockets which provided us with a similar interest.”
Paul said the Rangi Rockets’ decision to debut at Velothon Sunshine Coast was to have a goal to keep going the riders motivated through the cold North Island winter, with the final bonus of three days away, exploring unfamiliar roads and making new friends.
“Only recently we had our coldest day training yet where we hit minus three degrees at one point, so our resolve has been severely tested. All going well this year we will be back with even more participants next year,” he said.