Ride Start Date: 2020-03-21
The Fleche Opperman All Day Trial (or “The Oppy”) is a 24-hour team time trial held annually by Audax Australia. Teams of three to five riders must ride together at least 360km and finish at a designated location in each state… and if you’re not up for 24 hours of riding, try the Petit Oppy (180 km in 14 hours). Uniquely teams choose their own routes to the designated finishing place.
The Oppy is a unique time 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 your captain should register first, completing the team details in the online entry system. Each individual member must then also enter online, through the Audax Portal. Registration will open close to the event start.
Not up for a whole 24 hours of riding?
The Oppy’s ‘little brother’, the Petit Oppy, is available in most regions and runs on the same date as the Oppy. The Petit Oppy requires participants to cover a minimum of 180km in 14 hours of riding.
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 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 GrossThe 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.
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.
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 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:
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
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)
|May, 2019¹||620||Cirque de sore legs|
Paul Brown, Lincoln Carolan, Darren Cousins(c), Ken Dyson, Graham Jensen
|March, 2018||560||Koiled Crazies|
Rachel Edwards, Matthew Locker(c), Michael Newell
|March, 2017||528||Flat Out Oppytunists|
Nick Booth, Nick Burnett, Mark Riley, Rod Staines
|March, 2016||515||Postie Run|
Jem Richards, Mark Rigby, Blair Calvert, Terry Harris, Martin Grannas
|March, 2015||701||Team Brevet|
Glen O’Rouke, Glenn Landers, Drew Ginn
|March, 2014||730||Pane e Acqua|
Chris Munro, Craig Fry, Trevor Junge
Kevin Piercy, Rob Zwierlein, Malcolm Mayer
|March, 2012||671||Gold Rush|
Guido Gadomsky, Perry Raison, Daniel Rock
|March, 2011||587||Gold Diggers|
Nick Dale, Colin Law, Daniel Rock, Perry Raison
|March, 2010||601||Muchea Do About Nothing|
Nick Dale, Colin Law, Diva Gangashan, Perry Raison
|March, 2009||605||Opperman 1|
Nick Dale, Colin Law, Andrew Bragg
|March, 2008 ²||622||Opperman 1|
Nick Dale, Ross Stevens, Colin Law, Eamonn McCloskey
|April, 2007||439||We 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, 2005||415||Don’t Know Why|
Kevin Ware, Ian de Bruyne, Wayne Ward, Chris Rogers, Mal Shaw
|Nov, 2004||550||Numbnuts After Dark|
Darryl Edwards, Gary Coombes, Rex Habel, Chris West, Phillip O’Toole, Graeme Burchell
|Nov, 2003||530||Team SA|
O Portway, M Rawnsley, H Johnstone
|Nov, 2002||405||Barney’s Bananas|
G Barnes, P O’Dwyer, M Cook, B Magee
|Nov, 2001||536||Ex Murray to Moyne Now Worry to Groin|
G Burchell, D Edwards, R Tredennick, A Northey
|Nov, 2000||420||No Easy Challenge|
D Dawkins, A Jones, A Boulton, A Korab
|Nov, 1999||461||We Break for No One|
M Sullivan, E Paech, G Horne, D Schillabeer, D Sommerville
|Nov, 1998||622||Team Mongreal Dogs|
T Anderson, H Boardman, D Cunynghame, T Ring, A Vella
D Lemke, R Kenna, K Dacomb, P O’Toole, D Edwards
|Oct, 1996||551 (tie)||No ‘Opers|
N Armstrong, B Hawes, B Rutherford
Attitude Is Everything
D Eason, C Jarome, A Chambers, S Carey, S Donaghue
|Oct, 1995||500||North By South East|
M Rogers, M Burgess, J Page, I Spence, G Leahey
|Oct, 1994||617||The Famous Five|
P Cole, R Brown, M Scriven
|Oct, 1993||770||The Endorphins|
M Hastie, G Green, N Skewes, D McKean
|Oct, 1992||655||The Untouchables|
M Hastie, S Hardy, N Skewes, G Green
|Oct, 1991||536||Electric Prunes|
M Hastie, S Hardy, R Schenfelder
|Oct, 1990||510||Audax Sydney|
A Stubkey, R Moore, N Irvine
|Oct, 1989||636||Australian Time Trial Association|
B Hawes, T Allen, E Evens
|Oct, 1988||532||WA Vets|
B Hawes, P Meyer, J Mathews, T Allen, F Cottier
|Oct, 1987||545||Audax Australia Team|
N Payne, B Chorley, K Hyndes, N Irvine
|Oct, 1986||587||South Australian Team|
S Malbut, S Brooker, J Bassett, J Dam, I Cook
|Oct, 1985||570||Port Fairy Cycling Club|
G Woodrup, N Hyland, S Malbut, S Brooker, I Hay, B Jackson