It was noticeably cooler than of late when the 19 riders set out into a brisk 30kph headwind on the extended 40 kilometre Dangarsleigh Road handicap race yesterday afternoon. The 6-strong four minute group looked like it would be influencing the outcome as they chased down the Go trio of Jo, Haydo and new boy John ‘Ziggy’ Hiscox. The four-minute group were splintering a bit early on with Wilf ‘The Whippet’ Keller straining at the leash but some hard work from PC saw him and Ayllie regroup by the monument. Meanwhile at the back, Scratch were working hard enough to bring the 8-minute group into sight on the climb up to Dangarsleigh Hall and then catch them by the 12.5k mark. Now with the extra firepower of Johnny and Col, the combined bunch of 7 riders started to make good inroads into the Bourkey group ahead. With the wind continuing to cause problems for all riders, echelons were formed on the tough slog up from Salisbury Waters and by the time the 20k turn came into view, the main bunches were only split by a handful of seconds. Up ahead Billy and Wilf had managed to get away and were chasing down Ziggy who was now leading on the road by a good margin.
With the turn safely navigated thanks to Lachie’s excellent traffic management skills, the 3k climb north out of Salisbury Waters stretched the elastic and by the top only Tom Simmonds remained in contact with the Scratch pair of Kirky and Rob who then set about reeling in the 3 leaders. Billy was picked up shortly afterwards but it took until Blacks Lane before Wilf was collected and then finally Ziggy was caught on the run down to the monument. With 6 riders now at the head of the race inside the final 5k, the pace stayed high all the way up the monument before Kirky launched a brutal attack on the steepest section with Rob just hanging onto his wheel.
Over the top the Scratch pair went clear and extended their lead on the run towards Peterson’s although a hard-charging Wilf meant they couldn’t afford to back off the pace. Wilf was giving it everything and actually seemed to reduce the gap at one point but ultimately was no match for the in-form Kirky who would surely have caught the eye of the handicapper as he demonstrated great form ahead of the Yarrowyck race next weekend. It was all Rob could do to hang on as he powered home to a well-deserved victory, clearly the strongest rider on the day and winner of 10 RROTY points and Fastest Time. Whippet grabbed third spot just over 30 seconds later, with Billy and Ziggy claiming the last of the bonus points in 4th and 5th place. Tom Simmonds held off the remnants of the bunch to finish in 6th place, an impressive ride for the 15 year old.
Many thanks to Lachie for his sign duty and for running the extended race so smoothly and great to see Swanny out there back on two wheels in support.
Despite finishing outside the bonus points, Tom maintains his lead at the top of the RROTY league but Whippet Wilf is now just 2 points in arrears. We leave the Road Racer series for a few weeks now with the Mount Yarrowyck, Grafton to Inverell and Nemingha-Nundle races coming up.