John Scott-Hamilton edged out Chris Jones on Saturday in a 45km death march on Long Swamp. Despite Col Maciver giving them a good scare on the final climb, the Jones vs. Cannibal sprint ended with John victorious after the scratch bunch had sliced through the entire handicap field on the 5th leg of the race.
Ice Cold Billy Mara wielded an ice-pick like efficiency at the start in an attempt to get the race started a little earlier than the previous weekend, despite a “too many handicappers make a poor race” situation which caused some confusion amongst the large field. Jo Waugh was again sent off by herself, with Jacky Weston again managing to burglar herself into a group that she promptly dropped. Jacketless Mick Sozou and Mark Haydon were saddled with yours truly, a burden which they carried for a good 5 legs of the race before the 8 minute group finally caught them on the 5th leg before being shot through with a stampeding herd of 12 minute and scratch racers. At the final turn, the leading bunch were long gone with the 8/3 minute riders stretched out along the road having temporarily popped Peter Creagan, Bob Murison and Wilf Keller. The group reformed briefly before the climb through Imbota forest only to drop stragglers as they sensed home was close.
Up the front, Col Maciver attacked on the final hill, realising that a sprint finish against the Cannibal wasn’t going to end well. Col managed to get to the top of the hill first, only to realise he had no more shots left in the locker as Scott-Hamilton, the Jones boy and Brent “Best” Weston swamped him in the final run to the line. Col shared equal third with Weston according to Mara.
A brave Jo Waugh finished her first 45km race to solid applause – she rode most of the 45km on her own in what I think was a sterling effort. Ditto for John Henshall, who put in some find riding to stay in touch for a good part of the race before blowing near the last turn around. Dave Jenner had an unfortunate crash after touching Chicka’s back wheel, so I think that leaves a small handful of riders in the club who haven’t touched Chickas wheel this year – I hope you’re OK Dave! That wheel is a magnet!
The unofficial “Men In Black” squad, with new member Andrew Swan, fared poorly. Their unofficial sponsor (rumoured to be Jack Daniels) put Nick Myhill into difficulty early in the race, prevented Swannie and Dave Boundy from finishing in the money and was sorely missing the fire power of Mara. Still, once they resort to spruiking their product instead of imbibing it, they may have a future yet.
Thanks for the clarification Col. Most of us aspire to graduating from death march to “saturday in hell” and it’s always nice to vicariously experience the thrills at the pointy end of the field.
As for the sponsor of team Men In Black, I’m sticking with JD as anybody fuelled with Black Label would probably be winning.
Excellent report Dave. I’d like to add a couple more details. As well as John’s well deserved win, worthy of note was the attempt by Mick Hoult (the engine of our scratch bunch along with John SH) and Swanny to break away last time up Imbota forest hill but unfortuately they got caught on the final climb to the finish. Also, Brent was the one who attacked on the last hill. I chased and passed him before I died quite spectacularly on the final flat section and got swamped as you so aptly put it. My thanks to Mick and John for not busting me on the first lap and allowing my old engine to settle into the race – it didn’t quite feel like a death march to me, averaging 40km/hr on Long Swamp felt like “A Saturday in Hell”. By the way I’m disappointed to hear that the men in black could be sponsored by Jack Daniels. I thought Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch would have been better!