Mick Hoult (A-Grade) and Lachie McPhie (B-Grade) cleaned up on Long Swamp today in a hilly and breezy Armidale Cycling Club points race which included some welcome visitors from Murwillumbah stopping over on their way to the Nemingah-Nundle race tomorrow. It was also the debut race for new Armidale rider Alex Thomas who managed a very respectable 5th spot courtesy of a punchy finish that grabbed him 2 points.
Despite the need to ‘save legs’ for the next day, there was still good competition for each of the 6 sprints and with Swanny clearly advising up-front that dispute resolution wasn’t on the menu today, there wasn’t a grumble to be heard as he announced the scoring system and placement of the sprints. A combination of up-hill and flat sprints meant there was something for everyone – the first 3 places in each sprint picked up 3, 2 and 1 point(s) with double points for the final sprint, which meant a few riders kept something in reserve, and a few chose to blow gaskets from the start. The “thou must re-group after each sprint, with the exception of the penultimate sprint” rule was also added to ensure a close contest.
A-Grade went off like a rocket, then promptly ran out of rocket fuel and were nearly caught by B-Grade at the first turn. Things settled down on the return leg once the first climb of Imbota was done and, clearly inspired by Australian success in the Giro, Johnny stamped his sprinting authority all over the first half bagging another 3-pointer across the flats. Unfortunately for him the regrouping rule didn’t quite work here and with rocket fuel low, the Cannibal elected to ride a 15K TT in the second half while Houlty took on the challenge of grabbing max points on all remaining sprints. A clear and worthy victor, he almost did it with 3 out of 4 that ensured him first place and a healthy margin of 7 points over Kirky in 2nd spot and Greg Manttan in 3rd.
It was a close contest in B-Grade with Clint Bourke, Billy Mara and Lachie McPhie virtually neck-and-neck after the first 3 sprints. I say virtually as if you look carefully you’ll notice on the first sprint there were two 2nd places recorded as well as a 1st and 3rd place. Following the earlier warning from Swanny, and with Kirky racing in A-Grade, there was no challenge so this may well go down as one of those things never to be spoken of again. In any event it couldn’t stop Lachie powering away to a fine victory. Clearly he’d listened carefully to Swanny’s instructions, avoiding regrouping and inspired by a moment of tactical genius, he drafted off the back of Sprint 6 and launched a ruthless attack up Dump Hill to cross the line with a good 30M advantage. 2nd place overall went to Billy ‘Mr Consistency ‘ Mara who placed in all but 1 of the sprints and in joint 3rd place were “the Bourke sisters” (direct quote from he-who-shall-not-be-challenged-today).
Thanks to the McMillan family for helping Swanny with the signs and the marshalling, to Swanny for running a great race, and to all the riders who turned out and obeyed all those rules. Good luck tomorrow and see you next week for a rip-roaring RROTY Round 10 handicap on Boorolong Road.
Rider Place SP1 SP2 SP3 SP4 SP5 SP6 Finish Pts
HOULT Mick 1 2nd 3rd - 1st - 1st 1st 15
KIRK Andrew 2 - 2nd - 2nd 2nd 2nd - 08
MANTTAN Greg 3 - - 3rd 3rd 3rd - 2nd 07
SCOTT-HAMILTON John 4 1st - 1st - - - - 06
HALE Rob 5 3rd 1st - - - - - 04
LATIMER Rod 5 - - 2nd - - - 3rd 04
TINDALE Rob 7 - - - - 1st - - 03
FISHER Peter 8 - - - - - 3rd - 01
MACIVER Col 9 - - - - - - - 00
NICHOLLS John 9 - - - - - - - 00