Without a Munday in sight, Mick Harris cut a lonely figure in Scratch this week having been given a tough 60s handicap on a 5-strong Block group, who were just a minute behind the useful looking H-bunch of Hess, Holly, Hammy, Harris, and Hamilton (Dr John variety). A strong outward headwind favoured bigger groups and 3 of these ultimately formed towards the end of the first leg.
Front-runners Dave Jenner and Jo were going well and negotiated the turn, comfortably ahead of their 5-minute chasers who in the main, held off, waiting for the H-bunch cavalry. The exception to that came in the form of the Roberts & Morrow Marauders. Clint, Jason and Tom Simmonds belted their group early on, making a break for it before the climb of Blacks Hill. At this point Jason unceremoniously dropped Tom and then despatched Clint as he drove on solo for glory.
Meanwhile, the H-bunch picked through the remnants of the 7-minute group, effectively moving on and collecting Clint on the Claremont climb. By the turn they’d swept up Jason and their gap on Block was 35s, with the leaders still 90s to the good. Solo Scratchie, Mick Harris had done a stellar job on his 60s deficit and turned 31s in arrears on Block but the rapid wind-assisted return meant his odds of reducing the gap further were going to be slim.
Now with two large bunches formed on the road ahead, the pace was high and while stragglers were picked off fairly easily, it took until just after the Dumaresq Dam turnoff for the Block bunch to catch the mob ahead. Although a few efforts were made off the front, riders began to settle down for a bunch sprint. A couple of speculative attempts were made in the closing 2km, but ultimately it was Pete Harris who led the charge in the final few hundred metres. Houlty then returned to the front, delivering a knockout effort that saw him cross the line comfortably 2 seconds ahead of Johnny as he wound the big gear up. Clint and Jason’s emergence from the remnants of the bunch impressed David Copperfield fans everywhere. Last seen at the front 15km NW of the finish line, they somehow reappeared in a prime position just behind the leaders, taking out 3rd and 4th place respectively – impressive!
Big thanks to Dene Bourke for putting the signs out and to Col for running the race and manning the turn and congratulations to Houlty on a well-deserved win and Fastest Time on the day.
|HOULT Mick||01||0:09:00||0:55:42||0:46:42||0:00:00||39.06 FT|