Winery Tour Australia

Winery Tour, Australia

In 1993 I was appointed Commissaire at the Australian Winery Tour in South Australia. The event, which was promoted and organised by John Craven, was held in the wine area east of Adelaide the area where The Tour Down Under is now held each year. What a nice way to spend a week! Each evening we tasted the huge variety of quality wines produced in this area.

When I learned of my appointment I contacted John Craven and asked if it would be OK to bring my wife (at my expense) as we proposed to have a holiday in Australia after the race. I proposed to leave my wife with friends in Melbourne while I attended the race. John was happy with this but with a couple of weeks to go he phoned to say that as he had a room for me every night of the race he would not object to my wife coming on the race.

The race was due to start in Coonawarra on 1st November and as this was a few hundred miles from Melbourne where John Craven and his team were based we had to gather together the day before for the journey to Coonawarra, which took most of the day. This was when we met our driver for the race Geoff Drummond, aka ‘Drummo’.  He was to be an excellent colleague for the duration of the race and we have remained in contact since.

Now to the race itself.

The format was 8 stages over seven days with two stages on the final day. There were 11 teams each of four riders – fairly small field by today’s standards. Approximately 50% of the field were Australian and the rest were from Europe riding as guests in many of the teams. Star attraction, and a major ‘scoop’ for John Craven, was world number one Tony Rominger (Swiss) who attended the race with his wife and family. In addition we had Marcel Wurst, Christian Henn and Udo Bolts (German), Jan Bogaert and Danny van Looy (Belgium), Jocelyn and Jacques Jolidon (Swiss) Dick Dekker, Marcel Arntz and Theo Ackermans (Holland), Andrea Chiurato and Oscar Pelliccioli (Italy) and Dave Mann and Hilton McMurdo (GBR) (although my memory says McMurdo was a New Zealander racing in Britain).  So, reader, you can see we were in for a good event.

The South Australian police did an excellent job and were happy to co-operate with me during the race.

I regret to say I cannot locate any results sheet for this event – perhaps someone from ‘down under’ who reads this will have them and send them to me to include at a later date.

All in all John Craven did a great job of organising the event laying down a foundation for The Tour Down Under.

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