John Scott-Hamilton rolled back the years this afternoon finding form on a cold and windy Boorolong course to record his first win in two years and back-up his impressive ITT effort last weekend. This race was always going to result in a bunch sprint courtesy of a strong westerly tail-wind on the homeward leg and once he got the big gears cranking, no one was going to get the better of him on the final drag-race finish.
The holiday weekend, and perhaps colder weather with a threat of rain, kept numbers down but there will still 17 riders on the start line for the third round of the Road Racer of the Year competition, including a welcome return to racing for Isabella and Katherine Hosking. With a smaller field, and tighter performance range, the gap between Go and Scratch was just 10 minutes although that seemed large enough with a mid-race field of 10 riders only 90s apart.
The story of the outward leg belonged to Tom Simmonds who tore the race apart as soon as the road turned upwards. First despatching his fellow riders in the 6m:30s group, he caught, then rode straight through the 5-minute bunch and then overcame Go rider Isabella before making the turn with a lead of 52s on a chase bunch of five riders.
Meanwhile, Scratch had caught block and were rapidly chewing up the margin on those ahead. A hard charge up the twisties and onto the turn had narrowed the gap to the bunch ahead to under 30s. By the time this larger bunch crested Claremont, there was only the lone figure of Tom Simmonds ahead, although he still had around 45s to complete the remaining 10km with a strong tail wind for company.
It was not to be however, he was rapidly caught by the foot of the long Dumaresq Road drag, a segment that the bunch tore up at an average speed of 43kph. Over the top, 11 riders were still together and despite attempts to launching stinging attacks off the front at every opportunity, the group held together in readiness for a bunch sprint. Notably in this group was current RROTY leader, Clint Bourke who had four other top five contenders with him for company.
Peter Hosking went outrageously early with over 1km remaining, causing a response from Hammy which fizzled out as Andy Robb took up the charge with a solid effort up to around 400m to go. With Johnny perfectly positioned in third wheel, the result was already known and he wound up the big gear to finish the job off in style. Clint gamely stayed the course to take third and enough RROTY points to remain at the top of the league with three rounds of ten gone. Well done Johnny and to all riders for another well-run and rapid race.
Thanks to Houlty for handicapping and running the race and also for manning the turn which allowed us to grab out and back times. Note that as Johnny put the signs out, his 10 points for victory negates the 4 points for sign duty – see rule 18.104.22.168 at the foot of the Road Racer League page.
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