With Swanny, Col, Lachie and Jo contesting the NSW Hill Climb championships and Sam Jenner and Harrison Munday racing in the B2B, it looked like we might have an easier time of it for the first scratch race on Boorolong since anyone can remember. 21 riders showed up (well 20 initially before Blanchy arrived a little late and belted out to do the ‘short course’) and were split into two grades. The weather was pretty good with a bit of a head wind out and although there was a threat of rain throughout, nothing much happened there. After a short unveiling ceremony of the enormous new operable ‘Cyclists Ahead’ sign carried out by President Tindale (thanks Armidale Council), we were off.
A-Grade went first and a bit of last minute peer pressure saw Luke, Billy, and Captain Creagan jammed into the bunch to make it a decent size of 10. The pace out was pretty steady and the group stayed together until the long climb away from Dumaresq Dam. Dave Rugendyke decided things were too pedestrian and picked the pace up to the point where Billy and PD lost touch but the remainder of the group stayed together until Ruges jumped about half-way out just before the railway bridge. The two Robs went with him in the observation carriage but couldn’t hold his pace over the inclines and away he went. The remaining 7 stayed together (just) to, and round the turn with Dave Munday testing their strength with some quick charges up the hills covered by Kirky and Rob T which served to keep Ruges in sight and keep everyone else grumbling along nicely.
The return leg was a good opportunity to survey the B-Grade chaos and coupled with mid-race photos from Geoff Straub and Houlty it was clear that Jeff Flatt and Paul Williams had attacked the bunch and caused it to string out longer than Swanny’s fascicles. By Claremont Road they had 15 seconds on Wilf who had a few bike lengths on Phil ‘Keg Legs’ Thomas and Dene Bourke. Darren Schaefer was hanging on grimly a further 15 seconds behind them and a minute behind him were Brendon Cole, Mark Haydon and Clint Burke.
Rugendyke was settled in for the return leg and maintained a lead of about 400M for most of it. The A-Grade bunch worked well to hold him in sight but showing no signs of tiring in the last 2KM the chase ramped up. The sacrificial lambs came to the front in the interests of making the catch and inside the last kilometre the gap was down to about 100M. With riders being shed all around, Dave Munday launched a well-timed attack and actually hit Ruges just too soon giving him time to react and come back at him before the line, winning it by 5 seconds at an average speed of over 37kph – an impressive time on the hilly course. Actually the winning margin was 4.68 seconds – yes we had timing to the 100th of a second courtesy of Dave Harris and his amazing Swiss Android app. Luke Milan rode a terrific race and far from hanging in as a passenger, put in throughout and fully deserved his 3rd spot and no doubt of course the subsequent rise up the rankings ahead of handicapping next week! Jason Blanch grabbed fourth spot having ridden two thirds of the outward leg on his own after a late start and turned to combine with the bunch for the run home. Johnny grabbed 5th spot in an unexpectedly quiet race for him and despite the precision Swiss timing equipment, it was impossible to separate the next 3 riders, or the pair that followed them.
The B-Grade finish came down to a sprint between Jeff Flatt and Paul Williams who’d stayed out front for the bulk of the race. Jeff just edged it by half a wheel on the line in a great ride for both of them. Keg Legs drove home to beat Bourkey in the final sprint for third and Wilf came home strongly in a solo effort for fifth spot.
Thanks Dave and Lisa Harris for running the race, putting the signs out and providing the precision Swiss timing plus photos rapidly after the finish (uploaded to our Gallery Pages by the end of the weekend). Next week we’ve got a 40K handicap on Dangarsleigh Road and of course the not-to-be-missed Thunderbolt Roubaix the following day to leave you with burning legs by Sunday evening.