Bright sunshine and clear blue skies looked inviting to 22 riders on Saturday afternoon but the gusty Westerly made the 13 degrees feel a lot lower with arm warmers very much in evidence, even for RROTY table-topping Kirky who, having received another favourable handicap, was looking to make it two in a row on the Long Swamp course. Paired with the barn-storming Jeff Flatt the omens were once again in his favour although this time they only had a minute advantage on scratch.
The four-strong Go group also looked pretty useful when Chris Stace, Jo Wauch, Haydo and Bobby rolled off the line, keen to take advantage of their 4-minute gap on solo artiste Wilf who was followed by a 7-strong 7-minute group containing the impressive Keglegs and Williams power house combo.
From the start it looked like the Go group meant business but by the end of lap 1, Chris and Haydo had unceremoniously dumped their companions. Wilf was lapping at precisely the same pace as the two leaders, and therefore turned at the half-way point still exactly four minutes in arrears but now just two minutes ahead of the chasing bunch who had smartly remained together and were consequently about to reap the benefits on the faster downhill and flatter sections just ahead. Scratch had collected Block over the top of Imbota at the end of the first lap and this larger group of 9 turned with 1m:33s deficit on the 7 riders ahead, but now with some extra firepower.
A few strays were picked up along the second outward leg but the 7-minute group still had work to do to get up to the leaders. At the final turn the Scratch/Block bunch were still some way off and a rallying call saw the pace pick up a little, but without being sufficient to cause a split. Down the back of Imbota what were assumed to be the leaders were within sight, but they were already half-way along the flat section before the final climb. At this point Keg Legs rocketed past, seemingly out of nowhere and taking Col and Ben with him, briefly fracturing the bunch. That was chased down before the climb started and a large group commenced the slog up Dump Hill for the last time.
By now Haydo and Chris had crossed the line having worked hard to stay away and claim victory. Haydo just had the better legs on the final part of the climb, crossing 8s in front but both over a minute and a half ahead of the next rider – and both managed a celebratory salute. Rhys and Peter Hosking had collected Wilf and looked to be good for the remaining RROTY places until a late charge for the line erupted behind them on the last ramp of the hill. A good tussle for 3rd place ensued which Mick Sherwood won, outsmarting someone (yet again) on the line and Swanny grabbed the last RROTY spot from Jeff in 6th. Places 3 through 17 all finished within the next minute indicating that handicaps were once again pretty good on the day.
Apologies to Bobby and Alex for the lack of accurate timings – we seemed to pull the pin on the camera a bit early so didn’t get your second lap times. All the results are up on the Results Service pages and the RROTY league which is still showing Kirky as league leader by 4 points from Jeff, with Wilf sitting pretty in third place. Watch out for Chris Stace though – raced only twice this year but he’s collected a 1st and a 2nd place in those events and charges up to 4th spot in the overall standings as a result.
Well done to Haydo and Chris and all our riders today and thank you Harrison Munday for putting the signs out and running the race, and for providing some amusing entertainment for the video reviewer along the way 🙂
Next week our planned race on Dangarsleigh has been switched to a Crit due to roadworks and traffic lights and also because the Nemingha to Nundle return is being held on the Sunday. If you can get over there next weekend, please support the Tamworth club by registering ASAP next week.