Despite the absence of the 2008 winner and Armidale secret weapon Billy O’Mara, a strong contingent of Armidale riders contested Nemingha – Nundle on Sunday 24 May.
The best result went to Sam Jenner who was 3rd in the 10km race, just ahead of Kirk Burton who toughed it out to the finish after crashing. Cody Burton won fastest time in the 40km race, also contested by Ben Castle and Rogan McPhie.
In the main 100km event, Geoff Straub blitzed the field to take fastest time and 4th overall, with Peter Wilkinson 6th, Andrew Swan 9th, and Phil Hess 10th rounding out the places.
This year the Tamworth club reverted to the original course, heading straight to Dungowan from Neminga and on to the turn around on the edge of Nundle. A strong easterly wind made conditions tough for riders on the trip out.
The first Armidale riders started at about 15 minutes, with Phil Thomas, Wilfried Keller and Big Dave Jenner starting with this group. Shortly after followed Ross Burgess, Lachie McPhie and Andrew Swan in a group of eight riders, and behind them, Pat Ainsworth, Phil Hess, Rob Tindale, and Peter Wilkinson in a similar sized group. Andrew Kirk and John Scott-Hamilton rode off Block, and Straub off Scratch.
The Phil Thomas group rode steadily, gradually picking up the front markers, although it wasn’t Wilfried’s day. In the next group, the three Armidale riders had lost all but one of their starting group well before the Chaffey Dam wall on the trip out, and were finding the going fairly heavy.
Meanwhile, Wilko’s bunch was riding strongly and working their way towards the front. They picked up the remnants of the Burgess group just before Woolomin on the return journey, and now reinforced started to make good progress.
They caught the Phil Thomas group just before Dungowan, but got a shock when they were told at the round about that there was still a group of three riders with a five minute lead and only 15km to go! Nevertheless, they continued to drive the pace, with Phil Hess, Rob Tindale, and Wilko all working hard, with help mainly from Tamworth riders including Mitch Carrington, Mal Ellicot and Ty Tucker.
About 10km from the finish Geoff Straub came flying past, riding away before anyone could react and jump on his wheel. He had broken from the rest of the Scratch and Block riders just before the turn, and showed his class by soloing the trip home to record fastest time and undoubtedly the ride of the day.
In the end the three leaders held on to the finish, closely followed by Straub in 4th place. Wilko stretched his legs over the last hill before the finish and dropped most of the other riders in the group to finish 6th. Andrew Swan and Phil Hess rounded out the places in 9th and 10th, but Rob Tindale and Phil Thomas also rode well in this group.
In an excellent effort the race was won by Pat Corcoran from Inverell, with former Olympic javelin competitors Louise and Andrew Curry from Moree second and third.
Matt Carrington of Tamworth won the 10km race, while Alex Murray of Inverell won the 40km.
Nemingha – Nundle is one of the favourite races for many riders and this year was no exception. Our thanks to Tamworth for hosting such a well run race.
Some pictures are available here.