Ben Harris of Armidale Cycling Club has won Sunday’s 2014 New England Mutual Mount Yarrowyck Road Race in a closely contested final sprint from 2013 winner Darren Trail (Tamworth) and Mick Hoult (Armidale) with 9 riders finishing inside the first minute. Conditions were challenging but despite the strong 40kph NW winds, rain/sleet and temperatures of around 6 degrees, 35 riders from local clubs turned out and braved the elements for the main event, the 94KM handicap race, with race times only marginally slower than in previous years.
With arm and leg warmers, vests and spray jackets very much in evidence, the riders were split into 8 groups and led out by Jo Wauch as the solo rider off Go. The groups that followed each contained 3-5 riders except the larger 15 minute group of 8 containing Harris and Hoult. Scratch rolled out at 25 minutes, 3 minutes behind the block group of 4 and by the turn these two groups had combined and picked up riders ahead of them to form a decent-sized bunch. Meanwhile up ahead, there was a larger bunch of 18 riders with a core of around a dozen who were working well together, rolling turns effectively. Combined with a cross/tail wind their speed was up and they were proving hard to rein in with the scratch riders not yet operating at full throttle. With around 20K to go the scratch group ramped up the speed and started to make good inroads into the gap looking like it could all come down to the wire, but in the end they ran out of road and despite Kieran Lewis recording the fastest time on the day of 2:24:36, the chasing bunch finished about 30s adrift of the leaders.
Sensing the win was there for the taking, the front group notched up their pace in an all out effort as the final hills came into view and Mick Hoult tested the resolve of his bunch with a jump off the front a few K’s from home. With local boys Rob Tindale, Greg Manttan and Luke Milan still in the mix it was looking good for Armidale places, and when Ben Harris launched his final effort with 200 metres to go he quickly gained a winning advantage. As Houlty gave chase it seemed he must grab second, only for Darren Trail to come across and just edge it from him on the line.
The 40K race was reduced to 30K due to the conditions and smaller number of riders. Vincent Bush won that race from Armidale’s Mick Harris with Brook Cameron in third.
Thanks to everyone who helped put this event together, especially Mark Bullen for running the race, Col for helping with the handicapping and safety car duties, Karlee, Wilko and of course to all the spectators and riders, particularly those from other clubs, who came and raced so well on a day when it would have been easier to stay at home in the warm!
|Rider||Number||Handicap||Elapsed Time||Race Time||Place|
|LEWIS Kieren||161||0:25:00||02:49:36||02:24:36 FT||07|