With the start of daylight savings and just two round remaining in the Road Racer of the Year competition, there was plenty of interest in the handicap race on Long Swamp this weekend.
Following her impressive ride last week, Emily Wooster had caught the handicapper’s eye, once again off Go but this time solo and with just a seven minute advantage over The Accountants – Clint Bourke pairing up with a welcome new member, Jason Simmonds. Thirteen riders were then spread over the next four minutes before a Scratch half-dozen wrapped things up with a fourteen minute handicap. After another good performance last week, Josh Denham moved backwards along with an in-form Holly and Hammy Williams, now starting to regain some of last seasons strength.
With Dave Munday not racing this weekend, Wilko was making the most of the opportunity to extend his 5pt lead at the top of the RROTY League and while Emily charged ahead out of sight, with the help of Bourkey he had managed to catch The Accountants half-way home on the first lap, holding a good advantage at the turn but still 5 minutes behind Emily who was having no difficulty pacing herself across the hilly terrain. Swanny and Tom had already made contact with Phil Thomas and were going well, holding off the larger chasing pack of Josh, Holly and Hammy. Scratch meanwhile had lost two of their number, Sam Munday was always down as a spectator as he nursed a calf injury and Dave Cook had lost his edge courtesy of a morning with his MTB team in the Piney. Consequently, they weren’t making big inroads and turned still 30s down on what looked like becoming a much larger pack ahead.
If the groups ahead had formed earlier it might have produced a different outcome but Houlty put in a huge effort on the long drag up to the final turn and just made contact onto the back of what had now become a sizable bunch. Up ahead Emily was out of sight and looking good for the win but Wilko and the Bourke Brothers were sitting in-between, a tricky 45s to the good and faced with the decision of putting in an all-out effort, or waiting for the bunch behind. It seems they chose the latter although tired legs might have played a role, and shortly later on the climb of Imobta they were overcome by the pack. Wilko made it over the top with the chasers and then it was a case of those who could hang on playing tactics to the end while Scratch continued to drive the pace supported by Josh and Swanny.
Shortly later Emily charged over the line for her second successive win, 27s ahead of the bunch which was shaping up for an exciting finish. Josh led an early attack at the foot of Dump Hill which Kirky pulled back, then Houlty and Holly went hard on the second part of the climb only to be overcome by a late charge from Rob who was then clinically dispatched by the stronger legs of Hugh Munday (also grabbing Fastest Time) and Tom Simmonds on the line before Houlty justly hung on for the last of the RROTY bonus points 6s later in a tussle with Josh and Paul.
Many thanks to PC for doing the signs and running the race and to Bullo for helping with the start and driving the following vehicle. At the top of the RROTY League Wilko has extended his lead to 8 points with two rounds remaining, Houlty is still in third place but Hugh Munday is now snapping at his heels just 5 points behind in fourth spot. In case it comes down to it, a reminder that where two or more riders have the same number of points, the higher rank is given to the rider with the highest points per race figure. Where this figure is the same, the rider with the best finishing place is used. At the moment, Dave Munday has a points per race figure of 5.47 and Wilko has 5.29 which is effectively about 3 points for those riders – so it is looking like we’re going to get an exciting finish with just two round remaining.
|Rider||Place||Handicap||Lap 2||Lap 2||Finish||Adjusted||Avg|
|MUNDAY Hugh||02||0:14:00||0:23:18||0:23:32||1:00:50||0:46:50 FT||38.69|