Results are still proving hard to come by but Swanny-On-The-Spot provided this great write up for us – thanks Swanny.
B and C grade started together and that had a big impact on the outcome. Our boys were doing well in the first section to the foot of Gibraltar, but with 170 odd riders it was a big challenge to stay up front for this critical point. As usual, the race split up on Gibraltar, and a group of 20 or so leaders formed at the top of the climb. They were mainly B graders but a few C graders were able to go with them, which basically determined the result of C. Blanchy was in a large group which was not far behind, with Johnny in the next group back after a good ride up the mountain in the 58×11 (haha).
Both were doing well riding into Glen, with Blanchy not far behind the leaders, and Johnny about five minutes behind that. Also in Blanchy’s group was Mick Sherwood.
From Glen however the leaders really put the hammer down, and a break of four went up the road, featuring Paul Wilkes (ex Inverell, now Mudgee). On the final climb out of Elsmore, Wilkes’ brother Dan made it across to the break to give them the upper hand. With around 2km to go, Paul was able to slip away and solo in to take a great win, while Dan was able to control the other riders and win the sprint for second – very impressive.
The winners of C grade (Matt White and Howard Avery of Grafton I think) were in the next bunch home, mixed in with some of the top 10 B grade riders.
Meanwhile, Blanchy was riding really well, on or near the front and driving it for much of the final 70km. Being Blanchy, he attacked over the climb out of Elsmore with 5km to go, and held the lead for a couple of km into Inverell. The bunch then came together, and not wanting to die wondering, after a brief rest he went again! This time he held on to the lead until the last roundabout 500m from the finish, and ended up at the back of the pack (which also featured Mick Sherwood who was first U19 in B grade I think).
The full results are not out yet, but Blanchy would have been around 20th, we think with a time of 7h27m, and Johnny around 30th with a time of 7h41m (according to their computers anyway).
Congratulations on a great effort to both the boys and their crews (Mick Hoult and Damien Schmude for Johnny and Harrison Munday for Blanchy). Great racing!
In an interesting sideline, many will no doubt enjoy watch the coverage of the main race on SBS next weekend. Our very own Dave Boundy was the motorbike pilot for the camera operator, an interesting experience to say the least. He noticed the front end of the bike getting a bit spongy in the last 20km, just when things were hotting up. Luckily for cycling fans across Australia, it wasn’t until he stopped for petrol at Gilgai on the way home that the front tire went completely flat!