Round 2 of the Northwest Interclub Tour was contested in a 40k race over the Armidale Long Swamp course today. With home advantage Armidale had the better numbers for the team points competition but Dan Wilks, current leader of the Adjusted General Classification ensured Inverell would improve on their points tally bringing four other riders with him. Tamworth however weren’t so well represented with only two club members in attendance.
The 21 riders were split into four groups with handicaps of 0, 4, 7 and 10 minutes which worked very well for the bulk of the race. The groups were well matched and stayed together with the time gaps being gradually eroded over the three laps. By the start of the last lap the Go group still had 30s on their chasers who in turn had 1m:20s advantage over Block with the scratch trio of Sam Jenner (Armidale), Dan Wilks (Inverell) and Mick Hoult (Armidale) a further 29s back. At the final turn with 7.5k to go there were just two bunches on the road, 50s apart.
The catch was made on the flat run in to Dump Hill and on the climb Sam Jenner stretched his legs to go clear, coming over the top with a comfortable gap on Dan Wilks with Mick Hoult fighting off Zac Sunderland (Inverell) for third place and Col Maciver (Armidale) demonstrating good staying power to hang in for fifth spot and the last of the team bonus points.
In the overall standings, Armidale now has what looks to be an almost unassailable lead with 53 points from Tamworth (24) and Inverell (19) in the Club Trophy contest. It is a different story in the two GC competitions however where Inverell are dominating. Colin Swansbrough is top of the Handicap GC with fellow Inverell rider Peter Baz only 23s back in second place, just two seconds ahead of David Smith (Tamworth). With only 14 riders remaining in contention for GC victory (having successfully completed both rounds so far) it is a close-run contest and all to play for in the final round next week.
The Adjusted GC looks to be more of a two-horse race with Dan Wilks (Inverell) remaining on top with a gap of just 7s from Mick Hoult (Armidale). Andrew Swan (Armidale) is still hanging in there in third place but over 5 minutes down on the leader. Houlty will need to go on the attack next week to overturn the deficit which will make for some exciting racing on the Inverell course.
Many thanks to Lachie McPhie, Pete Creagan and Deb McMillan for being on duty and running an excellent race. Thanks also to Col for another good batch of competitive handicapping and to Swanny for providing the refreshments and entertainment. Well done to all riders and particular thanks to those who travelled from Tamworth and Inverell to keep the contest alive as we head to Gilgai next Saturday at 2:00pm for a 2:30pm start.
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