Riders were back handicap racing on the hilly Long Swamp course yesterday for the first time since October last year. Conditions were again near perfect and also again Wilf stepped up to produce the handicaps in Col’s absence. He did a better job than last week although PC and the Scratch pairing of visiting rider Ethan Kelly and Mick Harris may have a different view! The duo battled gamely throughout the race but weren’t able to make inroads on the one-minute gap up to the four-strong Block group ahead despite some hard-hitting on the hills.
Jo Wauch looked to have things sewn up even as early as the first lap, she was already over the top of Imbota and heading home when Block and then Scratch passed her for the first time. At the half-way mark she still had three minutes on the chasing pair of Haydo and Alex Thomas who had done well to hold off their own chasers one minute back. Things had definitely tightened up at the turn though with fourteen riders turning within three minutes of each other.
Block were working really well together and as a result, were reeling in the groups ahead but Jo looked like she should be able to hold everyone off, still enjoying around a minute and a half with 7.5km remaining. Hugh Munday charged alongside and collected the nine minute group at the final turn and this group then set about catching the last bunch between them and Jo. Wilf had a rush of blood at the base of Imbota, deciding he would see what Houlty had in him on the climb, but that lasted about 50 metres before Wilf imploded, signalling the end of his race in dramatic style.
At this point it was down to the Block riders to do the chasing and they did well to finally bring the leaders into sight along the long straight run in to the final climb. Jo was snaffled up by the bunch at the foot of Dump Hill with just 1km to go and within seconds this bunch was hit by Block with too much pace to respond. Houlty went hard on the final ramp with Tom, Rob and Hugh following. In the end it was the older heads that got away but it took a fair bit of effort and it looks to be only a matter of time before the roles will be reversed! Congratulations to Houlty on a fine victory and fastest time on the day and well done to everyone else on a very competitive and close race. Thanks to Chris Jones for doing the signs and running the race, and well done also to Wilf on some pretty successful handicapping – this time sixteen out of eighteen riders finished in the first two minutes.
Despite finishing third, Tom’s recent consistent high placing puts him on the top of the Road Racer League, with Houlty and Rob snapping at his heels just three points behind. Oh, and we’ve finally improved the ranking algorithm for the league table so that when riders are level on points, something more sophisticated than surname alphabetical sequence is used to separate them – full details at the foot of the table.
Next week we stay with the Road Racer league but switch back to Dangarsleigh.
|Rider||Place||Handicap||L1 Clock||L1 Adj||L2 Clock||L2 Adj||Total Time||Avg|
|HOULT Mick||01||0:12:00||0:34:57||0:22:57||0:57:52||0:22:55||0:45:52 FT||39.51|