Luke Milan rolled back the years this weekend on Dangarsleigh, powering home to his first victory in almost three years. On that day in November 2014 he averaged over 38kph to seal the 2014 RROTY Championship, with a monster 137 points. This time he averaged a shade over 30kph and has acquired 28 points, but none of that mattered today as he crossed the line punching the warm spring air. San Remo is back!
Georgie Harwood also made a welcome return to the starting lineup on a day when the heat and headwinds meant most people were glad to shelter in the bunch.
Mick Harris was given a tough handicap but that didn’t stop him going hard from the gun and despite racing the entire 30km solo, he still edged out Mick Ironman Hoult for fastest time on the day. Houlty was in a Block group 1m:30s ahead of young Harris but didn’t seem to need or want any help from them. Just as well as Kirky seemed to be suffering just a little from an unusually late night, although as Dr Tindale has been heard to say “he does his best work in those conditions”.
Ahead of Block was an impressive trio of Col, Phil Hess and Spartacus who didn’t shy away from rolling turns with Block when they were caught at one third distance. Things changed a little on the homeward leg as the bunch swelled and the groups ahead were collected by the Ironman Express. Phil Hess was having a blinder and didn’t show any signs of fading on the ascent of Monument when a few casualties started to drop off the back.
The big question was could Chris Stace and Alex Thomas capitalise on the absence of Dave Munday and pull out a lead at the top of the RROTY championship? They were both in the bunch over the crest of Peterson’s, hanging on gamely despite some testing digs from the front-runners.
With a couple of kilometres to go, Houlty was driving hard on the front and inevitably wouldn’t be able to do a bunch sprint justice so his Scratch mates backed off the pace behind and let the gap go. Interestingly no one was keen to show their hand and attempt to jump across. Eventually Col went, with the plan of helping Houlty, but he was instantly chased down and eased up. Houlty was under the Flamme Rouge when Alex Thomas made the boldest of efforts to jump away off the front in a final roll of the dice for RROTY points. Chris Stace must have a mind of steel and didn’t react, maybe he couldn’t but in any event Alex was reeled back in before the final rise. Kirky then made a final charge over the hill which needed a rapid response from Chris and Alex if they were to get any bonus points.
As it was, Chris just missed out on 5th spot to Col which means Alex now tops the table by two points with Dave Munday just one point further back but with a notably superior points/race figure. Alex has done his last race for the season and with Dave Munday seemingly too busy winning national races at the moment, things are opening up for a Steven Bradbury moment for Chris. Watch out for Mick Harris, Captain Creagan and Jacqui King however, they’re still in with a shout if the next two rounds go their way.
Many thanks to Vice-President Livings for putting the signs out and running the race with relatively few mishaps. Some interesting start times for Swanny and Keglegs and there was a lost phone which turned up later after most of the New England police force swarmed around the Wicklow examining video evidence of VP Livings squirting petrol all over Billy’s ute… It’s a long story.
Well done all. Don’t forget the AGM on Wednesday – 6pm at the Bowling Club – and then we’re back on Long Swamp next Saturday for the penultimate RROTY round.
|HARRIS Mick||13||0:15:00||1:01:20||0:46:20||38.85 FT|