Tamworth Cycle Club hosted their annual Nemingha – Nundle race in windy and cold conditions on Sunday 30 May. Armidale was represented by Sam and Dave Jenner in the 40km race, and Wilfried Keller, Phil Thomas, Lachie McPhie and Andrew Swan in the 100km race.
Best performed was Sam Jenner who was fourth in the 40km race, just ahead of Dave in 6th place. The race was won by Kieran Lewis who also recorded fastest time, ahead of Emily Nichols and Matthew Carrington all of Tamworth.
In the 100km race, Wilfried started off Go, with Phil Thomas in the 5 minute group, and Lachie McPhie and Andrew Swan in the 10 minute group. On the trip out, this group put significant time into both leading and chasing groups due in large part to Lachie riding like ten men, together with strong efforts from Matt Fitzgerald of Gunnedah. By the top of the Chaffey Dam wall they were only a minute off the lead, and just before the turn-around had swept up all the riders in front of them to form a group of about 20.
Things got significantly harder from that point when they turned into a very strong headwind. Added to that, a rather unsporting attack out of the turn split the bunch, resulting in a group of seven riders forming. Phil Thomas and Andrew Swan made it into this group, but unfortunately Lachie and Wilfried narrowly missed the split but continued to work well together for a while.
With most of the riders in the leading group making solid contributions they made steady if not fast progress into Dungowan where they turned left to tackle the hills back to the Loomberah Hall.
Meanwhile, the scratch riders were starting to gain on the leaders rapidly, picking up Lachie and Mark Jarvis of Tamworth along the way. On the steep hill just past Dungowan with 15km to go, Sam Spokes of Tamworth attacked out of the chasers and quickly bridged across to the leaders, going straight past without a second glance and continuing on to record a very impressive win together with fastest time. He was followed by Nick Woods of Moree and Braden Ludlow of Gunnedah, who were riding well but just couldn’t maintain the same speed.
The remnants of the now former leaders, Matt Fitzgerald, Phil Thomas and Andrew Swan continued to ride a steady tempo and were joined just before the Hall by Mitch Carrington of Tamworth, and Jack Roohan and another Moree rider. Lachie came agonisingly short of bridging just as they turned at the Hall and starting rolling turns down the hill. Mitch Carrington was then able to ride away on the hill up from the Gun Club, steadily building up a gap of a couple of hundred metres.
On turning the corner for home the chasers gritted their teeth and started working again, and with one last effort on the penultimate hill made it back across to Mitch. In doing so they had overtaken Braden Ludlow who had cramped up badly, and so were in the hunt for third place. But the final hill proved too much*, and Mitch rode away again to claim third behind Spokes and Woods.
Matt Fitzgerald was a deserving fourth, with Andrew Swan fifth, and Phil Thomas riding extremely well to finish sixth. Lachie finished in ninth after riding very strongly and twice coming within a few metres of a higher finish. Wilfried finished soon after, very pleased with his efforts.
This year’s edition was a race of fluctuating fortunes, with excellent performances from a number of riders in tough conditions. Our thanks to Tamworth CC for hosting the event.
* Note to self: use small chain ring on this hill next time.