ACC had a big contingent of riders line up for Tamworth CC’s Nemingha Nundle handicap on Sunday 18 May, which turned out to be a really good race. Conditions were much better than our Mt Yarrowyck race and that made for a much more enjoyable outing.
Best results for Armidale were John Scott-Hamilton with really gutsy 4th place in the main event, and Jo Wauch winning the 40k race (Jo got a special mention at the presentation complimenting her on how well she rode), and Dave Munday getting fastest time in the same race. Sam Munday and Sam King also rode in the 40k race.
Proceedings started off with the 100k race, with Ayllie Allen flying the flag for us in the limit bunch of 3 riders. Off 10 minutes were Lachie McPhie, Fast Phil Thomas and Timberwolf King in a group of around 6 or so, also featuring the eventual winner Jeremy Bartlett from Tamworth. Then we had Mick Hoult (who thanked the handicapping gods for a second race in a row!), Kirkie, Rob Tindale, Greg Manttan and Luke Milan San Remo in an ominously strong looking group of around 10 riders, at 16 minutes. My group was 2.30 after that, and included Ben Harris and Johnny, Ray Griffin, Darren Traill and Scott Thompson from Tamworth, Rod Latimer from Murbah, and a really strong guy named Joel Burke from Mudgee who ended up placing third.
Behind us were a couple of riders off block (Mick Sherwood and Phil Kelaher I think), and a four man scratch group including Fraser Ashford.
When we set off I have to admit I had no great expectations of catching the next group. But we rode really strongly with everyone contributing well, and much to my surprise we caught them just before Wolomin. From there it broke down a little bit in the confusion of the bunches joining together, but we were still moving along with good pace.
We caught Lachie’s group just as we reached the Chaffey Dam wall, and if a couple of riders might have tried to put the pressure on to thin out the bunch at this point, it didn’t have much effect. So from there the winning group was established with a lot of firepower that the small scratch/block group was always going to struggle against.
We battled our way through the tough rolling section between the dam and the Nundle turnaround, and about all I remember of that is Kirkie riding up from the back of the pack to politely tell me that I should sit down, and quite a few riders making the usual dash from the back to the front at the turnaround.
Once back over the hill into Nundle we set sail for home, with a number of Armidale riders getting stuck into the pace making, including who else but Mick Hoult, but also Greg Manttan, San Remo, and Ben Harris, all of whom had strong rides.
We picked up Ayllie just as we crested the dam wall, still with 30km to go, and from there she put in a great ride to finish with the bunch. Really impressive work!
By the time we got back to Dungowan a few tired legs had started to appear, and at this point El Presidente Tindale appeared at the front and started to make a solid contribution to the pace making. (I’d have to say that my “best on ground” award went to Ray Griffin who was on or near the front of the bunch driving the pace for pretty much the whole race before eventually finishing in 5th place)
Then with about 3km to go, Kirkie decided it was time for his usual cameo attack, which is now known as the ‘Kirkiekazie’, undertaking on the left hand side and almost running out of road. Quite a few riders were left wishing they were riding for AG2R (you know, the ones with the brown knicks?).
As usual, the final moves were made over the top of the last hill before the finish, and in the end Darren Traill and Ray Griffin led Jeremy Bartlett out for the win, with Scott Thompson (who also had a really strong race) second, and the aforementioned Joel Burke third. Houlty led Johnny out for fourth, and if I haven’t said much about Johnny, it’s because he had to really grit his teeth in the hills just to hang on after our fast start. Just behind the main place getters we also had Lachie McPhie and Ben Harris who also put up a good fight at the end.
Scratch came in a few minutes later and for a while there was some conjecture that Scott Thompson had also won fastest time. In the end though it turned out that Fraser Ashford was around 30s faster, consolation for what looked like a tough day at the office.
And apart from a very pleasant lunch and post mortem at the Calala Inn over a few beers with the Murbah guys, that’s the story.
SwannyThanks Swanny for giving us a great review of what was a cracker of a race and please feel free to send in your own race stories at any time – we’ll publish most things here, including complete works of fiction.