It was literally blowing a gale on Dangarsleigh this afternoon and with temperatures only just nudging double figures the turn-out of 16 riders for the 30K handicap was something of a surprise. It was Josh Denham’s inaugural race duty day and he coped well with natures challenges, presumably concreting-in most of the signs in order to get them to stay put, he’s probably still out there now trying to get them all home.
When Peter Hosking went off Go with daughter Katherine, a few eyebrows were raised but Peter had taken an oath that he was ‘just riding with Kaks’ and wouldn’t be competing if it came down to a sprint. Col had pairs and trios of riders heading off into the cross-winds until the 12-minute point when a 5-strong bunch set about the chase, although it soon became apparent that this was really just a bunch of 4.
The conditions were certainly challenging and when Wilf was collected by Scratch at the top of the Monument hill, it looked like the race might be over before the turn but it seemed to be a one-off with no other riders in sight ahead. Just as well really, Houlty had been managing to keep control of his four-oh-fours until that point when suddenly it looked like a poltergeist had seized control of his handlebars and few were game to ride anywhere near him until the road leveled out and he charged back to the front once more.
Shortly after this your author managed to lose contact with Scratch as Dangarsleigh Hall came into view, proving that a month of very tasty English pub food and drink really can have quite an impressive impact on performance, despite claims from Kirky to the contrary. As they disappeared out of sight, Dave Munday and Houlty certainly looked like they were up for the chase with Hugh and Kirky more than holding their own.
At the turn, the Hoskings were still out front on the road followed by Ben Livings and PC around 45s further back with Ben starting to stretch his legs and pull away. Col and Johnny were going very well having picked up Bourkey on the way out, these three riders having a good 45s on Scratch who had lost Hugh by now and were further reduced to two when Dave punctured in the culvert just after Black Lane. At that point around 15 seconds earlier Johnny’s trio had collected PC but by the time they crossed the bridge with the long drag up Monument hill ahead, they had company. Kirky went to the front and picked up the pace which caused PC and Bourkey to drop off and after a hard charge from Houlty near the summit, Johnny and Col followed suit. The Scratch pair then picked off the Hoskings and Ben Livings who must have made an earlier solo attack which very nearly worked.
In the end Houlty whistled over the line as winner with Kirky just a second behind, the pair with over 40s on third-placed Ben in turn just holding off a hard-charging Col and Johnny who wrapped up the RROTY bonus points. Well done to Houlty who, despite contending with paranormal activity through the race, climbed into second place at the top of the Road Racer League, still 15 points adrift of Richard Wilkinson who didn’t race today. Thanks Josh Denham for doing a great job with the signs in difficult conditions – hopefully you made it home safely, and we’ll no doubt see everyone back on Long Swamp next weekend for Round 14.
|HOULT Mick||01||0:12:00||1:00:24||0:48:24 FT||37.31|