David Cook stormed to his first handicap race win since September 2016 yesterday on a breezy Boorolong course with riders tested over an extended 40km distance. Mick Harris was the lone Scratch rider and spend the day solo but still managed to record fastest time for the sixth time this year, although this week his margin for that over Block riders Mick Hoult and Pete Harris was just 15s.
Andrew May and Jacqui King got things underway with a healthy advantage of 6m:30s over Jo Wauch who was collected by the next group on the road at the twisties after 15km. These four stayed together until towards the end of the climb up from Toms Gully when PC couldn’t quite hold the wheel and slipped off the back.
Earlier on there was a chaotic start to the 14 minute group which was meant to contain five riders. Only Alex Thomas and Rob Tindale made it to the start line at the allotted time, with Wilf casually rolling up 13s later, oblivious to the shouting and yelling coming from everyone around him. Bill kicked through at 25s, ice cold as ever, although he did utter a short expletive or two as he set off in pursuit. It was a terrible start for Lachie though who had punctured on the warm-up and had to join the 18-minute group with disastrous implications.
Meanwhile up the road, the 16 minute group were flying and had gone straight through the two groups ahead of them, turning just 7s down on Jo’s trio and only 4m:37s off the lead pair of Andrew and Jacqui. The group swelled on the return leg but Andy Robb, Cookie, Tom, Pat Ferris and Swanny didn’t need any help as they embarked on the wind-assisted charge home.
At the back of the race, Mick Harris was slogging it out solo. He still managed to record the best outward time, 38s faster than Block who had another 3 minutes to make up on Cookie’s bunch. Houlty was doing the bulk of the work in Block, pulling some monster turns with Pete Harris chiming in with more than his share. This pair pulled away, picking up Holly as they crested Toms Gully once again.
Mick Harris was collecting casualties on the way home with some able to tag on longer than others. However, it was too big a task to make any real inroad on his deficit to Block. Similarly, despite some hard riding and some impressive new shoes, Houlty and Spartacus weren’t closing the gap on the leaders at a fast enough rate and after overcoming Jacqui and Andrew May, it was clearly going to come down to a bunch sprint for Cookie’s group.
Cookie timed his effort well to go clear in the final metres, comfortably winning ahead of a very close tussle for second place which Pat Ferris just edged by a tyre width from Andy Robb. Tom Simmonds continued his great recent form with fourth place and Swanny did well to hang in for the last of the RROTY bonus points. It was another 1m:34s before Houlty and Pete crossed the line. The pair averaged over 43kph for the last 20km but even this wasn’t quite enough to take fastest time which went to Mick Harris by 15s.
Mick maintains the gap of just 3 points to Rob Hale (who had a shocker) at the top of the Road Racer League with four rounds remaining this season. Clint eases into third spot courtesy of his well-earned bonus point for 40km worth of sign duty – thanks Clint!
Congratulations Cookie and special thanks once again to Col Maciver for running the race, communicating the status of a bush fire to riders and also somehow managing to safely marshal the turn and get back to the start/finish.
Next week we continue the longer handicap racing with a 45km event on Long Swamp.
|HARRIS Mick||16||0:23:30||0:37:18||0:26:47||1:27:35||1:04:05 FT||37.73|