Racing was back on Dangarsleigh Road yesterday with riders split into 3 grades to compete in a rare 30km Scratch Race. Bourkey saw them off with B and C combined to give newcomer Andy Robb some bunch experience under the watchful eye of Jacqui King.
A-Grade was jammed full of strong younger riders and it showed in the style of racing with constant attacks throughout, never really settling down. Mick Harris and Hugh Munday regularly created small gaps off the front, none of which would stick but they did cause some fracturing of the group and one by one, riders lost touch at the back. Just before half-distance, Johnny failed to hold on as yet another attack happened on the sharp uphill section but, putting in a monster effort, he managed to regain contact at the turn. That moment had taken its toll however and he was resigned to a tough solo chase home shortly after. At this point Hugh was now off the front on his own once more and quickly established a healthy 100m gap. It seemed like a good idea at the time when Sam Munday suggested Rob should “just jump across and I’ll block for you” but he barely got half-way before running out of steam, returning to the bunch in time to watch Houlty show him how it should be done. He made it across (just) but Cookie and Mick Harris chased well and by Dangarsleigh Hall they were all back together.
Meanwhile B and C-Grade should have been behaving in a much more civilised manner but with professional retiree Wilf in their ranks, that was never going to happen. They’d collected Tom Simmons at about the 10km mark and were starting to pick up the pace on the homeward leg when a touch of wheels resulted in Pat coming down with around 12km to go. Back pointing in the right direction they were tracking well again going up Monument when Pat’s derailleur decided to head into the spokes and that was the end of his race.
Up ahead the A-Graders were still punching each other all the way home and when Sam drove the pace hard from the railway, those who could hang on didn’t have too much left for a strong finish. Hugh wound things up impressively with David Cook giving him a good chase to the line followed by Josh.
The B-Grade finish saw Keglegs outsprint Wilko on the line with Lachie showing good form to wheel over in third place a few seconds later. Newcomer Andy showed his ability to hang with the B-Graders, taking out the C-Grade victory, just ahead of Jacqui who posted a good time for what turned out to be a tough solo effort.
Thanks to Bourkey for stepping in at the last minute to put the signs out and run the race, well done to Hugh, Keglegs and Andy on their wins and good luck to all club riders competing in L’Étape Australia next weekend.