Armidale rider Sam Jenner’s Subaru NSWIS and MS Development team formally kicked off their 2015 season with a launch gathering in Sydney last week. Following a great opening season in 2014, this year Sam rides again with Ayden Toovey, Jordan Payne, Harrison Carter and Nathan Bradshaw and they are also now joined by NSWIS scholarship track specialists Tirian McManus and Jackson Law along with new riders Chris Bryan and Nick Yallouris. Judging by the event photos, they’re a pretty relaxed bunch who race hard but know how to relax when they’re off the bike.
A slight name change this year reflects the inclusion of MS as a charity partner that is sure to help raise the profile of Multiple Sclerosis – our most common domestic neurological disease. Subaru NSWIS & MS begins its 2015 campaign at the Blayney to Bathurst next month with all riders scheduled to take part, before going on to compete in nine of the Cycling Australia Subaru National Road Series. All up the team will compete in 25 races throughout the state and nation this year.
Last month Sam raced in the Aus/NZ Oceania Championships at Toowoomba. It was great to see not one but two riders from Armidale Cycling Club in the Junior Men’s road race. Sam finished 6th and fellow Armidale rider Sam Munday also came home in a very credible 26th place in his first major event from 49 starters. The 106.5K race was ridden in hot conditions with cross-winds that made quite a tactical event at times. Sam rode the same race for NSWIS last year so this time round he was more confident and familiar with how events across the lumpy course would unfold. After a set of great results at the track nationals in January he knew he had power in his legs but was unsure about his endurance at this early stage of the season. Indications there also seem encouraging as Sam placed 4th in the ITT the day prior to the road race – the second Aussie home, placing 4th overall on the 24K course.
The Junior Men’s Road Race was a 3-lap event which saw a lot of breaks go and get brought back over the first couple of circuits in an edgy start. Sam had some fun in the first (non-neutral) crazy feed zone having thrown a half-bottle just before with the aim of collecting a fresh one. With no team helper in sight he missed out and ended up having to race the last 2 laps on half a bottle of water!
On the last lap there was a decisive break off the front with 5 riders managing to get away, followed by Sam and NZ rider Josh Smith ahead of the main bunch. They were just 50 metres off the back of the leaders, fighting hard to make contact but the guys up the road were working hard together and slowly pulled away to ultimately finish with a lead of 45s on the chasing pair. Sam still finished 30s ahead of the main field which by now was fragmented to pieces courtesy of the hot cross-winds.
All up it was a great weekend of racing for Sam who will sadly miss out on Armidale Cycling Club’s New England Mutual Autumn Festival Criterium this year while he attends an early season training camp. He’s already excited about the year ahead however and is targeting events such as the National Hill Climb up Mount Buffalo, the Mersey Valley 3-Day and of course as many NRS races as he can get into. If the season goes well, there’s even the possibility of overseas racing and consideration for the Worlds at the end of the season so plenty to strive for. Reading all this, it’s hard to believe that Sam is still at school, so this year will be a big one – not only in terms of racing but in terms of balancing a long season with the demands of Year 12 back at home in Armidale. Good luck and all the best from Armidale Cycling Club – let’s hope it’s a cracking year for you Sam, both on and off the bike.