Ben Harris rides to victory in a cold 30km handicap on Long Swamp Road.
A nasty looking afternoon greeted the club on Long Swamp, as the weather threatened to close in.
Jack Parker, Jackie Weston, Adam Bourke and Bob Murison headed off on scratch. Dave Jenner, Holly “Princess #1” Harris, Wilf Keller, Jess Saunders, Tori Saunders (both of the Inverell Tamworth club) and Freya Weston were sent down the road two minutes afterwards, a group that seemed destined to catch the Go group but still trailed fractionally at the half way mark.
At 4 minutes Ice Cold Billy Mara (shivering), Mark “Haydo” Haydon, Dene Bourke, Peter “PC” Creagan, Peter Hosking and Phil “keglegs” Thomas made a tardy exit onto the course, with a scant minute and thirty seconds advantage over what looked like the winning group on the start line.
The 5:30 group was huge: Andrew Kirk, Ben Harris, Col Maciver, Dave “Harry” Harris, “The Cannibal” John Scott-Hamilton (coughing as if his body was rejecting a lung), Pat Macmillan, Rob Tindale, Dave Munday and Iron Mick Hoult. Off scratch at a shortened 1:30 further behind were Andrew “Swanny” Swan, Greg “Gregatron” Manttan, Harrison “Princess #2” Munday, Sam “The Jennerator” Jenner and John Saunders from Inverell Tamworth.
The Go group put up a solid defence of their tenuous position on the road, lead by the canny riding of Bob “The Meat Hammer” Murison who acted as road captain and coordinated their efforts so well that the group was still leading at the 15km turn. Bob orchestrated a team time trial turn that would have made Wilko proud down to his euro-pro socks. Sadly the handicap wasn’t quite enough as the storming block group swept everything before them. The DNF’s came thick and fast as a brief shower soaked the road, chilled the riders and made the turns sketchy on narrow road tyres.
Ben Harris emerged from the large bunch victorious, with a trailing Andrew Kirk looking like he was very glad it was all over. In third place, Iron Mick Hoult. In fourth Dave Munday, crossing the line ahead of Harrison for possibly the first time this year, a feat which he taunted H mercilessly. You know what to do next week H.
A total race time of 53:15 (sorry, the club stopwatch appears to have, well, stopped, so no individual times were recorded) gave the Ben Harris fastest time of the day at 47:45, impressive given the windy conditions but reflecting the speed of that big 10 man starting group.