Feature Ride

The Flèche Opperman 24h Trial (The Oppy)

Audax Theme

Fleche Opperman All Day Trial

The Fleche Opperman All Day Trial (or “The Oppy”) is a 24-hour team trial held annually by Audax Australia. Teams must ride together and finish at a designated location in each state. If you’re not up for 24 hours of riding, try the Traces Nationale or Petit Oppy.

Teams get to choose their own routes to the designated finishing place.

How does it work?

The Oppy is a unique all-day trial in which teams ride a route of their own choosing to a common finishing point.
The only restriction on route selection is that teams should ride a tour, not repeat circuits.

Having formed a team:

  1. The Team Captain should register the route first, completing the team details in the online entry system
  2. The Ride Organiser will then review and approve the proposed route and controls
  3. Each Team Member (including the Captain) must then enter online, through the Event Register.

Ride Options

Audax Australia is now offering three ride options.

Along with The Oppy and Petit Oppy, the Traces Nationale has been added. The Traces Nationale is the French equivalent of the Petit Oppy, with some differences.

Fleche (The Oppy)Traces NationaleFleche-14 (Petit Oppy)
minimum 360kms
(suitable for the YRR award)
minimum 200kms to a maximum 360kms
(suitable for the YRR award)
minimum 180kms
(not suitable for the YRR award)
3-5 machines2-6 machines3-5 machines
complete within 24 hourscomplete within 24 hours with no rest limitations12 hours + 10 hours rest + 2 hours
homologated by ACPhomologated by ACPhomologated by Audax Australia

N.B. The riders who completed the course must be present at the finish location to present their cards.

How Do I Ride A Successful Oppy?

Follow this suggested seven-step plan:

  1. Gather your best riding buddies and sell them on the idea of riding the Oppy this year.
  2. Work out a route. You can’t cover the same road twice in the same direction and you must ride at least the minimum distance to reach one of the designated finish locations within 24 hours.
  3. The Team Captain should enter your team online, including your route map.
  4. Upon approval by the Ride Organiser, all team members should register.
  5. If you’re bringing a support crew, work out where you’ll meet them for food, water and support.
  6. Ride it. Take breaks, eat meals, and even sleep if you have spare time.
  7. Keep riding. For the Fleche and Petit Oppy, you must ride a minimum distance of 25 km in the last two hours of the event.
  8. Finish. Eat breakfast, and tell everyone who’ll listen how good you are.
Date & Finishing Locations

All states have the same start date: Saturday, 23rd March 2024.

In 2024, the official finishing locations will be:

RegionFinish LocationRide Organiser
Australia Capital TerritoryCanberraPeter Heal 
New South WalesSydney Olympic ParkHugh Spear
Queensland (4 May)SEQ: St Lucia
FNQ: Port Douglas
John McMullan
Gayle Sticher
South AustraliaAdelaideDavid Fairweather
TasmaniaCornelian Bay, HobartPaul Jager
VictoriaEchucaSimon Dempsey
Western AustraliaPerth Bell TowerNick Mandoki

For more details, contact the local Ride Organisers listed above via the registration pages.
(Ideally you should aim to start upwind from these finishing points.)

Ride Rules

Please familiarise yourself with the Audax Australia Ride Rules, (especially sections 5.3: Fleche, 5.4: Traces and 5.5: Petit Fleche which all relate to the Oppy) and the Safety Rules.

To summarise Fleche Ride Rules:

  • Oppy Teams consist of 3 to 5 “machines”.
  • A minimum of 3 “machines” must finish.
  • A minimum of 360 km in 24 hours, with 25 km to be completed in the last 2 hours.
  • You can do 80% of the nominated distance as long as its >=360 km.
  • You can do an extra 15% over your nominated distance if you finish early.

Easy to state, but there are a huge number of wacky possibilities:

Three riders finishing on a triplet? NO – must finish on three machines
Ten riders finishing on tandems YES – five machines finished
Six riders finishing on single bikes NO – only a maximum of 5 machines in a team
A team finishes only 480 km of their nominated 600 km course YES – 80% and >360 km
A team finishes 500 km of their nominated 630 km course NO – < 80% of the nominated distance.

You get the idea… If in doubt ask your Regional Oppy RO. Don’t get hung up by the 20%/15% rule, it rarely applies. The important thing to remember is, that besides the Oppy specific rules above, normal Audax rules apply:

  • Obey the Road Rules.
  • No support outside of the controls (yes, of course, you can still do the usual self-supporting stuff, buying a pie from a shop, etc). This means that if you have a support crew, they should only be meeting you at the controls. Hint: think carefully where you put the controls.
  • No riding same route same direction twice (RO will check your route beforehand in any case).
Safety & Lighting

The Rules were reviewed and amended significantly in 2018 and among the changes the previous lighting rules have been integrated into the section “Bicycles and Equipment”. The bottom line is that it is your own responsibility to ensure that your bicycle complies with the relevant road rules. Obviously, on a ride like the Oppy which involves a significant amount of night riding, you would be well advised to consider the Safety Recommendations as a minimum standard, plan to see and be seen under all likely conditions. If your one light fails you must stop. Riding without lights at night will lead to disqualification.

As well as lighting requirements, you are required to wear reflective clothing. See Audax Australia Safety Rules for details.


Sir Hubert Ferdinand Opperman was Australia’s most famous endurance cyclist. He was the Patron of Audax Australia until his death at 91 in 1996, while happily riding his exercise bike. The Flèche Opperman All Day Trial (F.O.A.D.T. or “The Oppy”) is named after him.

Flèche Vélocio

Flèche means “arrow” in French and Flèche Vélocio is a classification of riding where teams start in different places and converge on the one spot at a certain time (like arrows). The Flèche Vélocio was created in 1947. After the Brevets and Paris-Brest-Paris, it is the oldest type of event organized by the Audax Club Parisien. More info: here. The Australian flèche (see below) dates from 1985, and was the first non-French flèche.

Flèches are now held all over the world at Easter. In the UK it is called “The Easter Arrow”, in Australia it is simply called “The Oppy”. And since Easter is a sacred time in Australia (because of the long weekend holidays, not religion) Audax Australia is the only country that doesn’t run their Flèche on Easter. Last year’s world-wide results can be found here. For example, in 2019 the UK had 17 teams, South Korea 52 and Kyrgyzstan 2. Australia had 28 teams in 2019 and the longest distance ridden was 620 km. This wasn’t the longest distance world-wide though, the longest Flèche in 2019 was ridden by a French team: 680 km.

And so, yes, the Oppy is a big deal. It is not so much a bike ride, but more of a sacred duty within the worldwide fraternity of Randonneurs. It is a time when Audax links arms across the sea when ranndonneur-ness crackles in the air; when the bakeries and breweries around the world put on extra staff to cope with the onslaught.

It is great to ride as part of a team, but remember your team is also part of an even bigger team!


Australia’s contribution or equivalent to the Flêche Velocio has been named the “Opperman All Day Trial”, naturally enough to commemorate and to pay tribute to the wonderful example of courage and dedication shown to us by Oppy.


I don’t know how others feel but I think that the Club could manage two teams, one to do about 400 km and another for about 500 km; one reasonable place to start might be Mt. Gambier, but if anyone has got any ideas, let us have them.

Yours in Cycling

Terry Gross

The Journal, Issue 2, volume 3, 1985

In the event, there were not 2 but 12 teams(!) in the inaugural Oppy in 1985. 11 teams finished and a record of 570 km was set. The rest, as they say, is history.

Adulation from your peers

Even if you are not in the habit of collecting Audax medals, you’ll want to sign up for an Oppy medal at registration. They are simply awesome.

Not a BRM, LRM, BA, BG or BP: a Flèche! A different beast altogether

Blasts from the past

From the Opperman Collection in The National Library (here)

The round badge (top left) was the first Australian Oppy badge. It is my understanding that the then Audax Secretary, Terry Gross, based the design of the medal on the French medal for the Fleche Velocio. The Australian medal features arrows, or fleches, radiating from Australia. An oval shaped disc at the top allowed the year to be engraved onto the Australian medal. The inaugural Opperman All Day Trail was held on the 19th October 1985 and this medal design was used from 1985 to 1992.

The second Oppy medallion (top right) was designed by Diana Verlinden. The design incorporated a day and night time landscape, with a central disc comprising 3 cyclists signifying the team element of the event. A rectangular disc allowed the year to be engraved onto the front of the medal. This design was used from 1993 to 2000.

The third Oppy medallion (bottom left) was a copper / bronze medal with 5 riders signifying the team element of the event. I don’t know who designed this medal. For the first time, the event name, the year, the participant’s name and the distance completed was engraved onto the back of the medal. This medal was used for the 2001 event but it is not known if it was used after that.

The fourth and current Oppy medallion (bottom right) features a portrait of Sir Hubert Opperman wearing a beret. A rectangular disc allowed the year to be engraved onto the front of the medal. The team name, the participant’s name and the distance completed was engraved onto the reverse side of the medal. I am uncertain as to which we year we started using this design. I have a blank medal with 2002 engraved on it but this may have been a trial run so it may not be enough evidence to say definitively that we started using this design in 2002.

photo and history provided by Tim Laugher


Oppy himself was no stranger to records. In one of his most famous wins, the 1928 Bol d’Or, he completed 950 km in 24 hr (!!) (albeit in a velodrome, paced by a tandem). This was well before The Oppy (1985) or Flèche Vélocio (1947) had been invented.

The Endorphins: 770 km 1993

The record distance of 770 km for an Oppy was set over 25 years ago in 1993 by “The Endorphins” – read about their amazing ride here. Team members: Mark Hastie, Guy Green, Nicholas Skewes, Ken Mayberry (~760k), Derek McKean.

After you finish watching “A Sunday in Hell”, stick this on:

Attitude is Everything: 551 km 1996

The record for an all-female Oppy Team was set at 551 km in 1996. Team members: Debra Eason, Carolyn Jarome, Alison Chambers, Sue Carey, Sue Donaghue

Notable Record Attempts

It won’t have escaped your notice that the above are old long-standing records. Not for want of trying.

2014: “Pane e Acqua” 730k Chris Munro, Craig Fry, Trevor Junge (VIC)

If you want inspiration wrapped in a cautionary tale, look no further than the 2016 record attempts at the male & female Oppy records. Both “Team Brevet” (800 km) and “Four Abreast” (619 km) beat the records, but both teams were disqualified by breaking the Oppy rules. (Received organised outside assistance between checkpoints).
2016 “Four Abreast” 619 km (DQ)
2016 “Team Brevet” 800 km (DQ)

The Mythical Oppy Shield
DatekmTeam MembersState
March, 2021485SUVelo
Alex Simpson(c), Andrew Matthews, Mike Ford, Nick Fisk, Shun Sugimura
March, 2020603Team NCC
Paul Breguet(c), Ant Callan, Simon Daw, Phil Dobie
May, 2019¹620Cirque de sore legs
Paul Brown, Lincoln Carolan, Darren Cousins(c), Ken Dyson, Graham Jensen
March, 2018560Koiled Crazies
Rachel Edwards, Matthew Locker(c), Michael Newell
March, 2017528Flat Out Oppytunists
Nick Booth, Nick Burnett, Mark Riley, Rod Staines
March, 2016515Postie Run
Jem Richards, Mark Rigby, Blair Calvert, Terry Harris, Martin Grannas
March, 2015701Team Brevet
Glen O’Rouke, Glenn Landers, Drew Ginn
March, 2014730Pane e Acqua
Chris Munro, Craig Fry, Trevor Junge
March, 2013573Mawson
Kevin Piercy, Rob Zwierlein, Malcolm Mayer
March, 2012671Gold Rush
Guido Gadomsky, Perry Raison, Daniel Rock
March, 2011587Gold Diggers
Nick Dale, Colin Law, Daniel Rock, Perry Raison
March, 2010601Muchea Do About Nothing
Nick Dale, Colin Law, Diva Gangashan, Perry Raison
March, 2009605Opperman 1
Nick Dale, Colin Law, Andrew Bragg
March, 2008 ²622Opperman 1
Nick Dale, Ross Stevens, Colin Law, Eamonn McCloskey
April, 2007439We Are Gonna Get About
Ray Stenhouse, Glenn Ross, Alex Ross, Peter Butler, Heather Pearce
No Oppy conducted in 2006 due to the change in timing from Spring to Autumn
Nov, 2005415Don’t Know Why
Kevin Ware, Ian de Bruyne, Wayne Ward, Chris Rogers, Mal Shaw
Nov, 2004550Numbnuts After Dark
Darryl Edwards, Gary Coombes, Rex Habel, Chris West, Phillip O’Toole, Graeme Burchell
Nov, 2003530Team SA
O Portway, M Rawnsley, H Johnstone
Nov, 2002405Barney’s Bananas
G Barnes, P O’Dwyer, M Cook, B Magee
Nov, 2001536Ex Murray to Moyne Now Worry to Groin
G Burchell, D Edwards, R Tredennick, A Northey
Nov, 2000420No Easy Challenge
D Dawkins, A Jones, A Boulton, A Korab
Nov, 1999461We Break for No One
M Sullivan, E Paech, G Horne, D Schillabeer, D Sommerville
Nov, 1998622Team Mongreal Dogs
T Anderson, H Boardman, D Cunynghame, T Ring, A Vella
Nov, 1997553Sil-E-Ol-Fules
D Lemke, R Kenna, K Dacomb, P O’Toole, D Edwards
Oct, 1996551 (tie)No ‘Opers
N Armstrong, B Hawes, B Rutherford
Attitude Is Everything
D Eason, C Jarome, A Chambers, S Carey, S Donaghue
Oct, 1995500North By South East
M Rogers, M Burgess, J Page, I Spence, G Leahey
Oct, 1994617The Famous Five
P Cole, R Brown, M Scriven
Oct, 1993770The Endorphins
M Hastie, G Green, N Skewes, D McKean
Oct, 1992655The Untouchables
M Hastie, S Hardy, N Skewes, G Green
Oct, 1991536Electric Prunes
M Hastie, S Hardy, R Schenfelder
Oct, 1990510Audax Sydney
A Stubkey, R Moore, N Irvine
Oct, 1989636Australian Time Trial Association
B Hawes, T Allen, E Evens
Oct, 1988532WA Vets
B Hawes, P Meyer, J Mathews, T Allen, F Cottier
Oct, 1987545Audax Australia Team
N Payne, B Chorley, K Hyndes, N Irvine
Oct, 1986587South Australian Team
S Malbut, S Brooker, J Bassett, J Dam, I Cook
Oct, 1985570Port Fairy Cycling Club
G Woodrup, N Hyland, S Malbut, S Brooker, I Hay, B Jackson
  1. Far North Queensland held their Oppy in May, 2019; the rest of the country March, 2019.
  2. Victoria held their Oppy in April, 2008; the rest of the country March, 2008.