A perfect sunny winters day greeted 27 racers – the ideal antidote for the recent arctic racing conditions! After a lengthy absence from road racing we were returning to the Long Swamp course, for 30km of graded scratch racing over 2 laps, and it was great to see a strong turnout, including Jacqui King’s inaugural outing for her new Roubaix!
We also welcomed new rider Emma Roberts, although as an experienced NRS racer and currently riding for the LA SWEAT team Emma was dropped straight into the deep end of A-Grade!
With the excellent turnout we had strong numbers in each grade, starting with 11 C-Grade riders. With Captain Creagan at the helm C-Grade rolled well together, with the group hitting the end of lap 1 intact except for Wilf who had worn himself out doing the signs earlier in the day.
Next off was 8 B-Grade riders, including a welcome return from injury for Kirky. It was another solid group, although some early attacks from Carl Hooten resulted in the pace lifting which saw Carl pay the price for his efforts as he was distanced by the first turn.
Last off was A-Grade, with 8 riders including Emma, and also a welcome return to racing for Phil Hess, Codie Miller & Dave Munday. With Olly Marshall & Houlty setting a strong pace, and all riders pulling strong turns, a lack of local knowledge caught Emma out on the return leg as she lost the wheel after doing some great initial work.
As the C-Grade riders continued to roll together over the final lap, they hit the finishing ascent of Dump Hill en-mass. First to emerge over the top was last weeks gravel race winner Matt Bedford, and although he had Rod Christie & Chris Belson hot on his heels he had enough in the the tank to hold on for a solid win – well done Matt, and take note handicapper!
B-Grade also saw a close finish on the final run for home, with Clint Bourke putting in his trademark surge to distance his rivals and take a clear win (aswell as a strong bid for promotion up the grades) – well done Clint! It was a close tussle for the remaining podium spots, with Swanny just edging out Andrew May for 2nd place, with Kirky taking out 4th place – nice work guys.
Last up was A-Grade, and earlier surges on Imbota had the group strung out. As they crested Dump Hill Olly Marshall came roaring up home straight to win by a bike length from Dave Munday, with Codie Miller close behind to take out 3rd place. The rest of A-Grade all finished within 20 seconds of the winner – top racing!
Well done to all riders for some excellent & competitive group racing; thanks to Wilf for stepping in at short notice to do the signs, and to Col for running the race.
Next week we return to handicap racing for the first round of Rider of the Year (ROTY) competition, with 30km on the fearsome Boorolong course to look forward to!