Twenty riders, the bulk of them in 3 bunches, contested a rapid race on Dangarsleigh yesterday in good racing conditions that resulted in a win for Scratch rider Dave Munday and a hard-fought bunch sprint for second.
It was certainly a lot warmer than the previous Saturday when Andy Robb destroyed the field in a 20km ITT. As a reward for his efforts he found himself in the company of Scratch chasing a five-strong Block group with a two minute advantage. In turn Block were chasing nine riders who’d left only 90 seconds before them, and seven minutes after Go rider Jacqui King.
Scratch went pretty hard from the start and quickly closed in on the five riders ahead of them. Andy Robb was going well and pulling solid turns until 7.5km when he slipped off the back and slotted into his native TT mode. Scratch caught the group ahead just after the 10km mark and intelligently tagged onto the back of the convoy as it continued to punch through the undulating terrain with a noticeable head wind that certainly wasn’t helping anyone.
Up ahead Jo had been caught by the nine riders in the 7-minute bunch who picked up their pace at the turn, still 35s on the chasing pack which was now starting to motor. It was down to the 3 remaining Scratch riders to do the bulk of the chasing with Hugh Munday throwing in a turn when he could.
Despite good steady riding and a bit of a tail-wind, the group ahead was steadily reeled-in and the catch was made at the junction with Elliots Road with around 9km remaining. This wasn’t the best point tactically for Scratch and it resulted in a much bigger train strung-out behind, clearly enjoying the ride and starting to pose a threat for a potential bunch finish.
On the climb up from the Monument things thinned out a little although RROTY leaders Chris Stace and Alex Thomas hung on grimly at the sharp end of the action. Dave Munday gapped everyone over the top of the climb but then backed off and most regrouped onto the rolling section before Peterson’s. He went again on the kick at the winery and was joined by Rob. The pair quickly pulled out a gap of around 10s by Simmons Rd while the pack got themselves organised. With 1km remaining, Rob faded and was caught by the bunch with Dave now going 100m clear and within sight of the finish.
Phil Hess chose this moment to launch a spectacular effort, which surely would have had Matthew Keenan jumping from his chair in excitement. He took the bunch to the top of the final rise and then equally spectacularly, imploded and was rushed by those chasing RROTY bonus points. It was a close finish with Hugh just edging out Canny Col for second place and Chris Stace grabbing that all-important 5th spot.
The rapid homeward leg resulted in an average of over 40kph for Scratch and some quick times for most riders. Despite riding three-quarters of the race solo, Andy Robb still held an impressive pace, averaging just under 38kph. A whole raft of PBs were also smashed, bringing tired smiles to the faces of Chris Stace, Alex Thomas, Haydo and relative newcomers Chris Belson and Greg Flynn.
At the top of the RROTY league, the last bonus points Chris grabbed meant he swapped top spot with Alex. Dave Munday slots into third, just 3 points behind. With just five rounds to go the race to be crowned Road Racer of the Year 2017 is still wide open – technically anyone in the top 30 could still win it.
Many thanks to Dene Bourke for putting the signs out and running the race despite only having the full use of one hand. Congratulations to Dave Munday on a fine victory and fastest time on the day which slots into the top-10 in the infamous Munday Bragging Rights league of fastest times. Still some way to go to reel in Harrison or Sam however Dave…
Next week we’re heading West again to Boorolong for a 40km monster that will surely test the resolve of Alex and Chris as they continue to fight to hold on to the highly-prized RROTY League leader status.
|MUNDAY Dave||01||0:10:30||0:55:15||0:44:45||0:00:00||40.22 FT|