While at least 3 Armidale riders were recovering from racing Grafton to Inverell, Dave Munday rode to victory in round 22 of the Road Racer of the Year competition which took place on a warm and windy afternoon with 2 laps of the hilly Long Swamp course tackled by a reduced group of 15 riders.
Ice Cold Billy Mara had everything under control as he assembled riders into 3 groups – Go, 3 mins and 6 mins meaning that Jo had some welcome company up front in the form of Wilf Keller and Richard Wilkinson as well as new club member Rhys Williams riding in his first road race. 3 minutes behind them was a bunch of 6 including Paul Williams and Brendon Cole and 3 minutes after them, a scratch group of 5.
The wind was just starting to ease as Go rolled off the line but it still made riders work hard on the outward leg and by the turn, Wilko and Williams had pulled out a gap of around 30s on the remaining pair in their group. The 3-minute bunch were going well and collected Wilf and Jo on the climb up Dump Hill at the end of lap 1 with Phil Thomas had dropped of the back slightly on the climb. The timing was perfect for scratch who collected him at the turn and until the next hill took advantage of those keglegs to make further inroads on Wilf and Jo and the rest of the 3-minute group. The main catch was made just before the three-quarter mark with Dave Munday hinting at what was to come with a quick move that strung out the two groups as they approached the turn although the turn itself was calm and relatively netural with everyone hooked on for the win-assisted final run-in.
By this point the Wilko-Williams lead pair still had around a minute on the chasers but were clearly tiring and by the foot of Imbota, they were in sight. A good tempo was being tapped out by the leaders at this point and the bunch went quiet as the pace was picked up over the top and the final leader swallowed up. The Imbota climb had fragmented the race and the lead group now contained just 5 riders who continued to make good progress but were already checking each other out to see who might make a move. Paul Williams was having a great race and continued to roll strong turns with the scratch riders on the final track across the flats. Half-way up Dump Hill the pace was slow and with riders bunching up Dave Munday made a move, Rob Hale went with him and a gap quickly formed but as Dave eased to check the impact it gave Kirky the chance to jump across and just make contact with the pair before they went again, gearing up for what briefly looked to be a well contested finish. The Munday legs were too good however and over the top he drove hard for the line to seal a well deserved and comfortable 2-second victory, plus fastest time at just over 37kph. Kirky edged out San Remo for third and Paul Williams rounded off a great afternoon in the saddle with the last RROTY bonus points.
At the top of the RROTY league, Big Luke still has a commanding lead and with just 3 rounds remaining it will take something special to unseat him from that spot although he is on sign duty for one of those races so anything is possible! The battle for the minor places is still very much on with just a victory separating 4th to 11th position.
Well done to all riders for a well contested afternoon of racing and thanks especially to Ice Cold Billy Mara for putting the signs out, doing the handicapping and timing and running the race single-handedly while maintaining a pulse of well under 40 throughout. Next week for Round 23 we head over to Dangarsleigh Road for a 30K handicap preceded by the combined Junior Racing and Armidale Come and Try Day out at the TEC – all welcome.
|MUNDAY Dave||1||6:00||16:17:33||16:42:06||17:07:18||0:24:33||0:25:12||0:49:45 FT||37.39|