It must have seemed like a good idea at the time when President Tindale decided to mix it up a bit and put a hilly 45k handicap race on the Saturday race program in the middle of winter. Most people did seem to quite enjoy the extra distance and change of format but there were quite a few pairs of legs that weren’t quite up to the job on the day.
After setting off solo at the front of the race, Jo Wauch was riding well and with the extra distance being raced, soon pulled out a good lead on the road. She was over Imbota on the homeward leg before Scratch passed in the opposite direction. New club rider Derek Shirlaw had a baptism of fire in the seven minute group but was in safe hands with Captain Creagan and they successfully crested Imbota before the nine minute group came alongside. Phil Hess was in that bunch, returning to club racing and scoring a good spot along with an in-form Phil Thomas.
At the end of Lap 1 (of 3) Jo still had 5m:17s on the 5-strong chasing group which was now just a shade over a minute ahead of the original 11-minute group (sans Wilf) who in turn had 35s on the 12-minute starters (now including Wilf). Scratch had gone off like a rocket and a 39+kph first lap saw them pull back over 3m:30s on the bunch ahead thanks to some powerful riding from Dave Munday but paid the price with Ben and then Rob unable to hold that pace, though Kirky seemed to have no trouble hanging on. Note, that some confusion over the precise location of the turn might have also helped Kirky here…
When the riders turned at the end of Lap 2, Jo still had a lead but it was now down to 2m:04s and the chasing pack was now 12-strong, including the Scratch pair of Dave and Kirky. The 7 casualties provided a long tail over the next six minutes and Lachie, Billy and Wilf electing to call it a day at this point.
The pace lifted again on the final outward climb of Imbota and the big bunch split again. Josh Denham, Col and Dr John stayed with it and then dug deep and held onto the Scratch-driven pace at the front up and over the Imobta return. By the time they hit the headwind on the long flat straight before Dump Hill the two Phils, Swanny and still-hanging-in-there-Jo were 30s down on the group ahead who were starting to jostle for position on the final climb.
Dave Munday lit it up on the second half of the climb and danced away to win by a comfortable margin of 13s and also record fastest time. Kirky briefly followed his attack but then settled in to take second place from Col, with Josh not far behind and then Johnny claiming the last of the RROTY bonus points in 5th spot.
There are some ominous signs at the top of the RROTY league with Kirky up to 5th place after only 8 of a possible 15 races, level on 50 points with Dave Munday. Col also moves from 18th to 11th and Josh enters the Top Ten in 8th position with just 8 rounds to go.
Many thanks to Haydo for putting the signs out and running the race, great to see Phil Hess back in the fold and also to welcome Derek Shirlaw to the dark side – it only gets faster from here on in Derek! Well done to Dave Munday and everyone else for another great club race weekend.
Next week we’re switching to Borrolong but back to the usual 30k race at the usual winter start time of 2:30pm.