24 riders rolled up at Long Swamp on Saturday afternoon and got to enjoy some perfect riding conditions following a long, long week of rain. With Luke Milan and Dave Jenner absent, there was potential for change at the top of the Road Racer of the Year League, a fact clearly not lost on Billy Mara and Dene Bourke as they rolled up, race faces firmly on.
A few riders, suffering from rain-induced cabin fever, couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a hit-out in the morning and consequently the handicapping was never going to be spot on but Col quickly had everyone dispersed across 6 groups, led out by Jo Wauch and Michael Wooster with just 9 minutes between their departure and the father-son scratch pairing of Dave and H Munday.
With just a minute between most of the groups, riders were in sight of each other for much of the race and consequently things looked very close at the first turn. Swanny and Mick Hoult in the block group of 4 were determined to stay away from the Munday duo, driving their group so hard that Ben Harris and Mick Sherwood had been blown out of contention at the first turn. By the half-way mark things remained pretty much in order at the front of the race notably Michael Wooster turning first with daylight between him and second placed Jo Wauch, but further back the hard-charging block and scratch groups were working their way through the field.
Captain Creagan’s switch to mountain biking in readiness for the Tour de Rocks seemed to have taken the sting out of his climbing and he was one of several riders swept up as the Munday’s punched out the fastest first lap at 23m:48s. However this only closed the gap on Block by 10s who were now themselves just 10s off the larger 7 minute group of 6 which had stayed together to this point. With 8 riders now working together ahead of them it was looking bleak for H and Dave Munday but undeterred they kept their focus on the task at hand and continued to reel in the casualties as the large group made the final turn. Picking up Billy, Bourkey, Lachie and Pete Hoskings, the main bunch swelled to 12 and with Col and Swanny showing great form ahead of the NSW Hill Climb Championships next weekend, they hit the final climb of Imbota hard with Houlty on the front. The elastic stretched and riders lost contact as they drove hard over the top, snaffling up the remaining race leaders still with a couple of K’s to go – game on for a bunch sprint.
By the time they reached the foot of Dump Hill, only 6 riders remained in the bunch. Notably Billy was hanging on in there, eyeing off some valuable bonus points and Pete Hoskings was having the ride of his life along with Sam Munday. It came down to a hard charge up the hill for the first 3 spots. Swanny made the first move off the front at the bottom but Col came across and took the lead himself to the corner. Swanny went again at this point but then Houlty, who had been steadily grinding them both down throughout all this went past Col (who tagged on) and then Swanny (who didn’t). Swanny then summoned the remains of his Friday night meal-that-keeps-on-giving and pulled level with Col just before the line to squeak 2nd courtesy of a few protein beans but they couldn’t catch Mick Hoult who was the worthy victor by 5 seconds. Billy claimed 4th spot and Sam took the last RROTY bonus place. Fastest time of the day also went to Houlty with an average speed of 38.86kph.
At the top of the RROTY League Billy has closed the gap on leader Luke Milan to just 2 points, Dene has leapfrogged Dave Jenner into 3rd spot and Houlty’s win rockets him up from 8th to to 5th. Similarly Swanny’s 9 points see him climb from 12th to 6th and Col has come from 22nd to just outside the top 10.
Thanks to Rob Tindale for running the race and doing the signs and for acting as our stand-in photographer even though I gave him a ridiculous telephoto lens to use – great job! With a scratch race on Boorolong next weekend we’ve got a fortnight to recover and prepare for Round 7 which is a slightly longer 40K race along Dangarsleigh Road on April 12th.
|Place||Name||Handicap||Start Time||Half-Time||Finish Time||First Lap||Second Lap||Total||Avg|
|1||HOULT Mick||00:08:00||16:17:16||16:41:14||17:05:17||00:23:58||00:24:03||00:48:01||38.86 FT|
|24||SHERWOOD Mick||00:08:00||16:17:16||No Data||No Data||No Data||No Data||No Data||No Data|