Mitch Bullen won the opening stage of the Tamworth Two Day Tour on Saturday August 8. Riding in Division 2, the finish came down to a bunch sprint, which will clearly favour Mitch more often than not.
John Scott-Hamilton making his State racing debut was in Division 2 as well, and rode exceptionally well to also finish with the main bunch.
The second stage had a different outcome with a small group of riders leading the bunch home by a couple of minutes. Unfortunately neither Mitch or John made the break and finished with the main bunch.
In the final stage on Sunday, despite several attacking moves the finish was close, with three riders getting the jump on the main field in the last five kilometers, crossing the line five seconds or so in the lead. Mitch won the sprint for fourth place, with John also finishing with this bunch.
In the final standings Mitch was 13th and John 19th. For John it was a great effort to compete consistently at this high level.
A number of other Armidale riders also rode well throughout the weekend. Geoff Straub rode in Division 1, using the event mainly as a warm up for the Tour of Geelong later this week. He managed a third place in the second stage and was in a long break in the final stage, and eventually finished seventh overall.
Pat Ainsworth rode strongly in Division 3, and was in eight place overall at the end of the second stage. Unfortunately a successful break in stage three pushed him back to 18th in the final standings but it was still a very impressive effort from Pat.
Peter Wilkinson and Phil Hess were in Division 4 and did well enough on the first day to find themselves in tenth and eleventh positions going into the final stage. Phil had more pressing matters to attend to on Sunday morning and decided to stay in Armidale.
Wilko fronted up again though and did his best to move up in the standings. In the 100km final stage, he launched a number of attacks between Woolomin and Dungowan in the second half of the race. Several times he managed to build a handy lead, and was consistently putting on the pressure on the short climbs leading into Dungowan.
But then disaster struck. Just after the roundabout at Dungowan he had gone to the back of the pack for a feed and got caught in a crash that brought down ten riders. Fortunately he and the precious Colnago suffered no serious damage and were able to continue to the finish, albeit well behind the main bunch.
Peter Creagan and Phil Thomas rode in Division 5, with Phil in 7th place overall after two stages and Pete not far behind. Although they rode well on the Sunday they eventually in 9th and 20th places respectively.
All up it was a strong performance from our small club. We were often prominent at the front end of the races, in very large and often quite scary fields. And as usual, the Tamworth club hosted a very well run event.