The first handicap road race of the year came as a bit of a shock to the system as usual, with fitness levels not quite at their peak. Held on Long Swamp Road over 32km on Saturday 23rd March, there were still a number of impressive performances, including:
- Jo Wauch riding her two starting partners off her wheel and leading the race for 31.5km, coming agonisingly close to the win.
- Newcomers Tad Davenport and Rob Hale showing impressive form on the hills
- Tad showing his strength by attacking his group a couple of times which caused a few grumbles (they’ll get over it Tad!)
- Mick Sherwood riding very smoothly and leading the scratch group in the chase of the front runners
- Aaron O’Grady’s effort to take the speed up to 60km/h across the flat just before the final climb to the finish. It only lasted 20 seconds before he totally blew up, but it had the effect of splitting the bunch up leaving just four riders to contest the finish.
But the best story of the day was undoubtedly Lachie McPhie, who was dropped not just once but twice from his group before latching onto scratch just after the second climb of Imbota. He managed to survive Aaron’s attack, and then put in one of his own at the corner of the dump which initially only Mick Sherwood was able to follow. Having ridden Mick off his wheel by the top of the hill, it looked like he was going to take the win, but he was just pipped on the line by Andrew Swan who also took “fastest” time, with Mick coming home in third place. In terms of never say die spirit though, Lachie deserves the prize, closely followed by Jo.