John Scott-Hamilton powered home to a well deserved victory and 10 RROTY points on a windy Boorolong course today. On a grey day with depleted numbers, the handicapper wisely chose to put groups of 4 riders together and The Cannibal found himself in block with a 2 minute advantage over scratch.
Earlier, evergreen Jo Wauch set off on a solo time trial with what seemed like a possible victory advantage of 6 minutes and she almost pulled it off with a gutsy ride in tough conditions. As the block and scratch groups were still on their way towards the twisties, Jo passed them looking smooth and comfortable on the downhill run home but the energy-sapping easterly on the stretches of open country was still to come. The Cannibal group went full gas from the off and with Johnny driving hard, the 2-minute gap over the 8-minute team of Bourkey, Billy and PD was closed down by the railway bridge. They had shed Phil ‘Keg Legs’ Thomas earlier in the piece on the climbs and the pace remained high up the twisties to the turn.
Scratch also shed a rider with Kirky still on the come-back trail but they’d pulled a good minute back and things looked to be well positioned for a potential coming-together given the head wind that was about to hit. With Billy gamely hanging in and rolling the odd turn, the now growing block bunch soon caught the 6-minute group who instantly upped their pace but some strong climbing up the long drag to Dumaresq Dam saw them drop a few more wheels and over the crest only Wilko and Billy remained in contact. With Jo’s potential victory run-in extinguished by the hard-charging bunch the risk to victory was now that scratch would make the catch. Turns at the front were growing longer and volunteers were few and far between as the conditions took their toll but Johnny looked ominously strong and was doing more than his share without looking overly troubled. He had a little dig on the last crest to see if anyone was interested in coming along on a break but there was little response.
At this point things faltered slightly and with the expectation that scratch was about to sweep them up, those with something left in their legs took up the challenge and the group strung out for the final 3K. With 100M to go Johnny found himself on the front and San Remo seemed perfectly positioned to drive it round the outside but Johnny backed off just enough to force his hand early. San Remo took up the challenge but faded with 30M to go giving The Cannibal a half-chance which of course he grabbed, powering home to win by a couple of bike lengths. Col managed to come around the tiring Luke to take second place with Billy and Wilko finishing off great rides to take 4th and 5th.
Scratch came over the line a minute and a half later indicating they’d actually lost a bit of time on the home leg with just 3 riders but they’d looked ominously good and with Swanny taking fastest time he certainly doesn’t appear to be too affected by his self-enforced lay-off – or his time-trial and racing at the track earlier in the day.
At the top of the RROTY league, San Remo now has a massive 97 points and his lead over 2nd place Jo Wauch has grown to 20 points. Billy and Clint climbed one place to 5th and 10th respectively although Wilko and Dene lost a couple of places with Wilf losing four spots to 8th position. The big RROTY story however is Col Maciver who has jumped six places to 4th overall.
Thanks to Ben Harris for running the race, doing the signs and the photos and keeping everything under control. Next week is Round 3 of the Tri Series Interclub with Inverell and Tamworth and with home leg advantage we need Armidale riders out in numbers on the Long Swamp course. So dust off your winter wheels and come out and support the club – just rolling over the start line gets you 1 valuable point and with strong results from the visiting teams next week it could all come down to just a point on the day. See you then!
|Place||Handicap||Start Time||Finish Time||Race Time||Avg|
|SWAN Andrew||7||12:00||2:49:17||3:37:58||0:48:41||37.47 FT|