It went the Scratchies way on Boorolong yesterday with Mick Harris proving to be the strongest rider, coming home with 10 road racer points and fastest time on the day over the 40km hilly course. Mick and Dave Munday chased hard to pull back the one-minute deficit they had on the 4-strong Block group ahead and having made the early catch, never looked back.
When the handicaps were announced it had seemed a different outcome was quite possible. Jacqui King enjoyed a 10 minute buffer on the interesting trio of PC, Carl and Chis Belson and all four of them might have combined well on the homeward leg if they could get to the turn with a decent gap on the chasers.
The big threat was a nine-strong mid-race bunch which included an in-form Phil and Bill now reaping longer-term rewards from the G2I. By the railway line the nine was down to six with the Bourke Sisters and marked man Chris Stace no longer in contention.
Following them was the hill-loving Block group of Houlty, Spartacus, Flappy-Shorts and Hammy. This quartet had now been joined by the Scratch pair and the pace was on. The combined group was only 1m:10s behind the group ahead and made contact before driving through them on the Tom’s Gully climb just before the 20km turn-around.
Clint and Hammy were clearly enjoying the afternoon ride but confused the timekeepers for a while having decided to turn early rather than take on the climbs ahead. PC had been dumped by his mates on the hilly outward leg but started to reel Carl and Chris Belson in towards the turn. On the final climb after a 10km chase, the big diesel slotted into gear, pulled Chris back and drove over the top, providing an amusing spectacle for race officials in the cars behind.
Everything had seemed to come together right at the half-way mark with cars and trucks also arriving just at the wrong moment. Fortunately High-Vis Col had things well under control and the turn was safely negotiated by all. On the last climb, Pete Harris had just slipped off the back of the main bunch which was now being controlled by Scratch and Block. Lachie, Bill, Wilf, Tinny and Phil were still hanging in there but were burned off on the charge back uphill from Tom’s Gully. They regrouped and were joined after a hard chase by Spartacus on the drag up to Claremont Rd but were now a full minute behind the four leaders, Houlty, Dave Munday, Mick and Dave Harris.
Mick had made an audacious long-range attack over the top of the Tom’s Gully climb and pulled out a sizable lead in the process. He did well to hold onto this until just after Warrane Rd when Houlty and Dave Munday reeled him in with Dave Harris holding on impressively in spite of the shorts, and of course with team orders not to assist with the chase!
The four then slowed notably towards the finish as Mick regained some energy knowing what was still to come. Behind them, the chasers were closing the gap but the leaders had it well in hand. Mick unleashed a solid sprint at the end to cross in first place with fastest time, despite his earlier efforts. Dave Harris found enough reserve fuel to come around a spent Houlty and Dave Munday for second place and a family one-two. Just 15s back down the road, Spartacus wound things up to edge out Keglegs and Billy for the last RROTY bonus points.
At the top of the Road Racer League things are getting interesting. Chris Stace jumps back into first place courtesy of his 4 points for sign duty* but Spartacus and Dave Munday are now within striking distance in third and fourth place.
Many thanks to Chris for putting out and collecting the signs and to Col for running the race. Next week we’re scheduled to be back on Boorolong for Round 9 although this one is just 30km.
|HARRIS Mick||01||0:18:00||0:54:17||0:02:52||1:23:39||1:05:39 FT||36.83|
* Chris Stace was rostered on sign-duty, he set out and collected signs but Col volunteered to run the race, therefore Chris qualifies for 4 points (see rules at foot of RROTY table page).