Despite the forecast of rain for the entire weekend, a break in the weather on Saturday afternoon provided reasonable conditions for the two-lap, 30k handicap race on Long Swamp. 18 riders rolled up to the start despite the cold and damp although a lot of winter jackets and arm and leg warmers were again in evidence.
Jacqui King got things under way, followed at 3 minutes by Jo Wauch and then four bunches at 8, 10, 12 and 14 minutes. At the end of the first lap, Jacqui had preserved most of the gap to Jo but she in turn now had the efficient 8-minute group breathing down her neck just 40s behind. Wilf and David Cook had pulled out a minute on the other pair they started with but were marooned, still 90s off the 8-minute group and just a minute ahead of the 12-minute group with Scratch charging along behind just 30s off the back.
The outward leg had a strong tail/crosswind for much of it and the pace was high with Scratch touching 70kph heading down the other side of Imbota. By Harvey’s Road on the second lap they had caught the bunch ahead and a rapid turn saw them drop all but Josh Denham. Then into the wind again they picked up David and Wilf and set about reeling in the 8-minute group who were still some way off. A few stragglers were passed on the final homeward leg but it wasn’t until Dump Hill that the leaders were potentially within reach.
With a tiring Scratch group continuing to do the work on the front the gap was coming down but not fast enough. Kirky then sacrificed his chances with a long hard pull through the mid-section of the climb, releasing everyone with around 500m to go. Up ahead the trio of Sam King, Richard Wilko and Alex Thomas seemed to be heading for victory. Despite having given his all for the last lap Houlty somehow still had enough to take up the charge and he managed to get the group tantalisingly close but couldn’t quite make the catch with Sam pulling clear in the last hundred metres to win by 7s from Wilko and Alex. Just one second later, Josh and David came over the line to grab the last RROTY bonus points, Houlty unable to hold off their fresher legs a moment longer but with the consolation of fastest time on the day.
Congratulations to Sam for a well deserved first club race victory with many more to come we hope. Great also to see such strong rides from two other young club riders David Cook and Hugh Munday and also from the slightly less young but equally impressive Josh Denham. Thanks also to Dave and Jacqui Munday for putting the signs out and running the race.
At the top of the RROTY League we have a change of leader. Richard Wilkinson has swapped spots with Dave Jenner and pulled out a 4-point lead over him. Alex Thomas has climbed from 19th to 10th and Sam King from 22nd to 12th courtesy of his win. Next week we’re back on Dangarsleigh Road for Round 9.
|Rider||Place||Handicap||L1 Time||L2 Time||Elapsed||Adjusted||Avg Kph|
|HOULT Mick||06||0:14:00||0:23:36||0:23:31||1:01:07||0:47:07 FT||38.59|