Saturday’s Round 2 of the 2018 Road Racer series broke with recent tradition. For once, Scratch weren’t able to reel in the front-runners, despite a rapid pace from those chasing from the back.
There was a welcome return to road racing for James Harris, the lower half of a Harris sandwich with brother Pete rounding things off at 16mins with Mick Hoult for company. James set out with some determination and a good gap on Jo and Olive who rolled off the line at a very scientific 4m:45s.
The big mid-field pack went at 11m:30s with a trio of riders following just 30s later. These three riders included Bryn Griffiths, making a return to the course that applied a vice-like grip to his wheels earlier in the year on the first climb of the day, hereafter named in his honour.
Scratch charged off the line, rapidly catching Block on the first leg and then returning with similar haste to record a sub-23 minute first lap. Despite now having four riders in the chase, they were still some way off their next target. Johnny and Swanny were a well-matched pair, rising to the challenge of a minute on Block following strong performances in the Invergowrie race last weekend.
The handicap that produced the most smiles (or raised eyebrows) was handed to Kirky, Jason and Rob who quietly accepted their fate and headed out with a generous gap of almost three minutes on Scratch. They almost didn’t make the start though. Kirky was on the line gesturing wildly as the other two calmly rolled up to the line with 2s to spare, departing in a fluid motion that probably would count as a DQ at any other event.
With matters finally underway, calm was restored to the course for a while. When the first rider crested Dump Hill at the end of lap 1, it was James Harris, still with 3.5 m on Jo and Olive who in turn had a minute on PC and Bourkey. The big bunch behind them had been going well but then Tinny punctured and Tom retired after L1 joined by Hayden.
The second lap was where the main action took place. The Burglars were continuing to charge along at a good pace and Wilf was collected at the top of Bryn’s Crack, he hung on down Imbota before an impressive exploding tyre signaled the end of his race. The remnants of the bigger bunch ahead were then caught but spectacularly splintered as the pace lifted with a hard charge up to the turn. Clint was the only survivor from the earlier groups and with 7.5km remaining he became an honorary burglar for the run home.
Swanny and Johnny had ridden well. Not content to just sit up and wait, they held off Scratch and Block for a long time keen to catch the group ahead, but eventually succumbed to the larger firepower on the homeward leg of lap 2.
Meanwhile Captain Creagan and Boukey had been going hard, pinning their hopes on getting to the top of Imbota before the burglar train arrived. Sadly for them it was not to be as the four riders continued to chase down lone leader James Harris who still had a healthy gap of over 2 minutes.
As the chasers hit the bottom of Dump Hill, James was in sight for the first time but he was almost over the first half of the climb, still with a margin of 70s. A quick poll of the group settled on the optimistic opinion of “we can still get him” at which point Kirky sacrificed his own result and charged up the hill. As the ground leveled out before the final ramp James had 35s but had now spotted his chasers and upped the pace. In the end, despite a long-range sprint from the pursuers, he did just enough to complete his 30km ITT in style and secure his first road race victory.
Congratulations to James and also to Clint who jumps to the top of the RROTY League. Clint notched up yet another consistent ride, jumping from 3rd in RROTY to lead the league by 3pts with eight rounds remaining. Strong rides of note also from Mitchell Jones, Bryn Griffiths and Jason Simmonds who all recorded handicap race PBs.
Many thanks to Col for running the race after Jason had completed his sign duty obligations (thanks Jason) and also to Swanny who make Kirky’s day when he put his winnings from the Invergowrie race last weekend on the bar at the Bowling Club and generously shouted everyone a couple of well-earned drinks.
|HARRIS Pete||09||0:16:00||0:22:55||0:23:10||1:02:05||0:46:05 FT||0:01:37||39.58|