It’s a good thing Wilfried is not a maths teacher, judging from his description of lap and handicap times in this otherwise excellent race report! Read on…
Despite the exodus of riders to Vietnam (Hoult and Tindale), Yamba (McPhee), Bathurst (Swan, Maciver, Wauch, Jenner, Weston) and somewhere on the way to Kempsey (lots), both junior and senior races went ahead on a cold and windy autumnal Saturday afternoon.
The juniors were again represented by the indefatigable Harris boys; both Ryan and Lachie are in full and serious training for the State Championships to be held in Inverell in June. The time-trial produced times close to personal bests, the fierce headwind coming down the finishing strait making it very difficult to finish at top speed. Ryan then set off on a four-lap race, trying hard to ignore his dad riding along and imitating the Wilko-coaching-advice-for- the-young-and-innocent, with Lachie having five laps to catch him and win the brother v. brother contest. Despite a blistering last lap from Lachie, Ryan held on for a good win, the result of consistent riding and a big improvement in hill-climbing. The session concluded with some cone work and hot-dogging; luckily no one fell off!
Col had kindly supplied an up-to-date handicap sheet for the senior 40k race on Dangarsleigh and no amount of pleading and offer of bribes (money, coffee, jewels, virgins, vitamin supplements(!), etc) could persuade Wilfried to deviate from that plan.
Gareth Kelly and Dave Jenner went off ‘go’, followed on the five minute mark by a strong group of Pete Creagan, Dene Bourke, Phil Thomas, newboy Jeff Flatt and Tadd Davenport (who did get a two minute ‘bonus’, but, hey, he is European). Dene was channelling Jason Blanch and missed the start and merrily raced off 30 seconds after his group – he had caught up by the top of the hill. Maybe he didn’t believe his luck being allowed to go with this group, rather than on his own a couple of minutes later – but Col had him marked with a ‘down arrow’. Off scratch, a further four minutes back, were John Scott-Hamilton and Chris Jones, turning up for his first race in ages, and proving a bit underdone as the chase was on.
On the first lap, Gareth rode away from Dave J at the monument and powered up Dangarsleigh hill, still well clear of any pursuers, turning at 19.25 minutes and looking good. The PC group had picked up Dave by the turn-around and covered the first leg in a blistering 16.50 real time, into a strong headwind. They already clawed back 2.25 of the five minutes handicap and still three legs to go – it did not bode well for the lone frontrunner. John dropped Chris going up the hill to the turn-around and arrived on his own at 25.25 behind Gareth, having covered the first leg in 16.25. With less than half a minute made up on the PC group, the winner would surely come from that bunch.
At the half-way mark, Gareth turned at 35.30, 20 seconds in front of the ‘Famous Five’ who had dropped Dave at the monument (that’s once going each way, Dave!) – the time for the group being 30.50. This was only 32 seconds slower than John, who arrived at 39.18, legs grinding away, mind in some weird zone of his own. Dave and Chris decided that they were far enough behind and called it quits.
The ‘Famous Five’ had become the ‘Super Six’ as Gareth sat on and the group turned for the final time at 53.35. PC was trying to control the race and keep everyone together for a bit longer, but Jeff probably had trouble understanding PC’s broad Aussie vowels and consonants and raced off from a fast turn, eventually being caught by Phil who was letting no one take away his downhill speciality trick. The rest of the group got back on, bar Gareth who now realises that there is no such thing as ‘let’s all turn together’. John turned at 56.30 – if he can make up 3.36 in just under 10k, he would be the winner.
The last lap saw Tad attacking up Knob’s Hill and grinding out a few seconds advantage, although PC said later that they deliberately left him out the front. Jeff tried a few attacks of his own, but it was destined to come down to a bunch sprint. Except for Tad, losing his chain on the very last rise, costing him any chance to be in contest for the win. The sprint was won by Phil from Dene, PC crossing third. The time for the final lap was a blistering 13.55. This was bettered by John’s 13.24 which saw him come in last but with fastest time on the day.
1st Phil Thomas 1.02.30 (real times)
2nd Dene Bourke s.t.
3rd Pete Creagan 1.02.31
4th Jeff Flat 1.02.33
5th Tadd Davenport 1.03.27
6th Gareth Kelly 1.08. 43
7th John Scott-Hamilton 1.00.54
Thanks to PC for doing signs.