With just 12 riders rolling up to the start line on Boorolong Road today the handicapper put most riders in a seven-strong main bunch and a scratch trio. Ahead of them were two lone riders, Simon Smith on Go, and Jo Wauch on 5 minutes. With a 12-minute handicap to contend with, the main bunch hadn’t made contact with either of the leaders at the turn although Jo had ridden strongly to the point where she was just 45s down on the Simon at the half-way mark. The main bunch had lost two riders at this point and had closed the gap but Jo still had 4m:27s on them. Wilf was a further 30s back and the three Scratch riders another 30s behind him. The race looked perfectly poised at this point for the predominantly downhill run home although an unusual ESE light breeze would make it slightly tougher than normal and play into the hands of the stronger riders.
On the return leg, Scratch quickly snaffled up Wilf, picked up Lachie McPhie and set about catching the 5-strong bunch in front. Mick Hoult, Andrew Swan and Paul Williams were taking a measured but determined approach and they caught sight of their prey on the long Dumaresq Road drag. Up ahead, Col, Keglegs, Dene and Billy looked very tidy and committed to staying ahead. The rapid outward leg must have sapped Jo’s reserves a little and she was starting to lose ground to Simon.
Simon had enough ground to ensure he would hang on for a well-earned first place but not far behind on the long straight with 2K to go it became apparent it was all going to come together in the fight for 2nd place. Now was the moment for a lone attack from the remnants of the 12-minute group but no one was game and with 1km to go, scratch were onto them and a pack of nine riders loomed into view at the finish line. With 200m to go Houlty hit the gas and rapidly pulled out a lead that allowed him to freewheel comfortably over the line for second place, followed 3 seconds later by Col who managed to find something left in the tank to give him a 3s margin on Dene who impressively managed to outsprint Keglegs for 4th spot.
Congratulations to Simon on a great victory and 10 RROTY points and well done to all riders for a very good tight race, reflecting some excellent handicapping – all but 2 riders finished within a minute of each other and 9 of them within 20s. Thanks also of course to Jeff Flatt for putting the signs out and running the race.
At the top of the RROTY league we have a new leader – Dene Bourke is level on points with Wilf but gets top courtesy of some alphabetical surname sorting. If this continues we might need a slightly more scientific ranking algorithm! Next week we are off to Tamworth for Round 1 of the Interclub Series so put that one in your diary and let’s get a good representation from Armidale. More news on that later in the week.
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