The season road finale, bar the forthcoming TT and Championships, saw 11 intrepid riders front up on a very cold and potentially wet October afternoon: the toughest of the tough and John Scott-Hamilton turned up on a mix of gravel and mountain bikes for the spring “Gravel” course. Five of the first six places were taken by gravel/CX machines, and Alex obviously made the wrong selection by posting the slowest time on a 17.5kg “Huffy special”. The race was on a new combination of familiar sections, following Swanny’s suggestion in order to avoid the heavily corrugated Elliots Rd; I’m sure all riders appreciated his concern and were glad of the relatively easier conditions.
The new “Gravel Crit” course had the usual start at Kingdom Hall, but after 2.5km riders turned right onto a VERY corrugated Simmons Rd. After a tough drag up Simmons Rd riders then turned left onto Knobs Lane (and a block headwind). After a short climb and rapid descent on Knobs Rd (clocking up a total of 4.2km of gravel) riders hit Dangarsleigh Rd, where a hard left took them back towards town on 3.3km of sealed road before riders had to turn left again into Simmons to start the next “Crit” lap. This was repeated for a total of 3 laps, before finally charging back to the finishing line at Kingdom Hall. A total distance of 27.5km was made up of 12.6k of gravel and 14.9k of sealed road; perfect for cursing “wrong” bike selection on either section.
To avoid bunching up on the gravel, the handicap was slightly adjusted to a modified TT style handicap start, with riders rolling off the start solo at close intervals. Andy R persuaded the stand in handicapper (to be nameless) to put him back 1:30 minutes from the intended handicap – and guess who won?! Col expertly marshalled the first right-hand turn into Simmons and then had nightmares as riders charged DOWN Knobs hill and careered into Dangarsleigh Rd at great speed. Thankfully, everyone survived and was smiling at the end – a new race to put on our calendar!
Clint decided to test his tyre changing technique BEFORE the race started – this put him 2 minutes behind scratch rider Jason Simmonds, and he wisely opted to only completed 2 laps. Dene Bourke, as befits our Equipment Manager, was the only one with a flat on the actual course and had to retire after one lap. Pete Wilko left on GO, and once he was caught by the one-minute Swanny at the end of Simmons Rd. The pair stayed ahead till the final time up the slight rise to Knobs Hill where they were passed by a rampaging Andy Robb, who came home first and took out the fastest time of the day. Pat Ferris was the only other rider to get ahead of the GO riders to take out 2nd place, with Swanny holding on for a well deserved 3rd place. The remaining riders battled through the brutal parcours to roll home exhausted but praising course aswell as the outstanding marshalling from Col & Wilf at the turns.
Thanks also to Wilf for running the race and for the race report. Next Saturday there is the Walcha Road Race which we encourage all riders to support; we will also be running the scheduled ITT race on Dangarsleigh for riders to tune their form ahead of the upcoming club TT championship.
The table below shows times for the 2nd Simmons turn (after 10km), 3rd turn (after 17.5km) and finish (27.5km).
|RIDER||Equipment||Place||Handicap||10km||17.5km||Finish Time||Real time (27.5km)||Average
|Andy Robb||CX||1||12:00||0:31:07||0:46:10||1:04:40||0:52:40 FT||31.33|
|Clint Bourke||MTB||DNF||14:30||0:39:05||1:02:40||0:48:10 * 2 laps||29.02|
|Dene Bourke||MTB||DNF||7:30||0:31:12||0:23:42 * 1 lap||25.32|