46kph winds, with gusts of 65kph and a temperature of just 10 degrees made for some challenging racing for the rescheduled Round 5 of the 2018 Road Racer contest on Saturday. The wind was a solid westerly which translated into a crosswind for most of the 30km Dangarsleigh course, but even that didn’t put much of a dent into Mick Harris’s time as he chewed up his 11:15s handicap, going from last to first and still averaging over 40kph.
With Mick the solo Scratch rider, he had no option but to go hard from the gun and pull back 45s on a handy-looking 5-strong Block group as quickly as possible. They might have looked handy on paper but they started to disintegrate early on. Holly was caught out by a strong gust and before she knew it, was in someone’s garden examining their winter veggie crop. Lesser riders might have called it a day at that point, but not Holly. She battled on solo, still managing to overhaul front-runners who’d started ten minutes earlier. She summed it up wonderfully at the finish with a “well, that was character building” smiling quote of the day.
Back up the road, Mick Harris collected Block just before the Dangars Falls Rd turn-off and from then on he rarely left the front. Hammy was blown out the back on the telecom box climb as Houlty gamely took on the role of super domestique to Mick Harris, doing most of the assisting before the turn. Pat Ferris and Dave Harris briefly bolstered the numbers but by the turn they too had succumbed to the tough pace and conditions along with Kirky who had started well but also faded just before the turn, perhaps due to the fit of his Lorna Jane active wear which didn’t seem well suited to the conditions.
Carl “Hooper” Hooton didn’t make the turn following an early puncture at the winery but returned around 40 minutes later looking quite pleased with himself. Presumably the cellar door was open.
The welcome sight of Sam Munday not wearing race gear had lifted the spirits of most riders on the start line and he again brought some mental relief to weary legs, manning the turn with Hugh and Col signalling just 15km to go. That 15km was tough however, with some sections of block headwind with the westerly increasing in force as the afternoon wore on.
Dene Bourke was first to navigate the turn, just ahead of a small bunch containing Wilko, Bill Mara, Lachie and new recruit Nathan Paull. These guys had 45s on the 5m:30s group of Alex Thomas, Keglegs, Tinny and Peter Hosking. Just 3 riders and 1m:40s later, Houlty, Mick Harris and Rob Hale made the turn and the chase was on.
Echelons were clearly visible on the road ahead as the chasing trio picked up and dropped those shelled from the groups in front. Mick Harris was stomping along and inevitably the gap to the front-runners was narrowing. It was 40s by the telecom box and then half-way up the monument climb the trio latched onto the back of a large bunch that was labouring up the steeper part of the climb. Mick Harris waited until Knobs Rd and then executed a trademark attack off the front. Peter Hosking and Alex Thomas put in good efforts to try to remain in contention but Mick was away.
By the top of the climb, Mick had 8s on his chasers and the bunch of 12 was shattered, now spread over a long length of road. He continued to extend his lead which was 30s by Peterson’s and 46s as he crossed the line for another impressive and well-deserved victory – topped off with fastest time on the day.
Congratulations Mick Harris and many thanks to Col for once again helping with race marshaling and to Dave, Jacqui, Hugh and Sam Munday who ran the race and possibly broke the course record for putting out the signs. Col has kindly offered to run races for us whenever he’s in town so if you’re rostered on duty, get in touch with him a day or two before the race and you might just get away with only having to do sign duty.
|HARRIS Mick||01||0:11:15||0:33:29||0:48:01||0:56:14||0:22:14||0:22:45||0:44:59||40.01 FT|