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By Peter Winton
The usual suspects lined up for Sunday's 48km handicap road race this time at the Gol Gol (NSW) circuit. This 12 kilometre lap in the back-blocks is a little gem. Lying there doing nothing all week long, all it needs is a little wind in the wrong sector and snap! Long exposed straight sections and pinching climbs into the wind await the unsuspecting cyclist.
Arriving at the start/finish line the Mildura based riders were greeted by a familiar face not seen since the end of the winter program last, Kevin Gregory. Kev and his trusty Kombi van, which doubles as a security lock-up for us on race days and travelling storage facility, carting around a lengthy bike stand and safety signs, were back.
Thirteen riders were hastily handicapped into four groups, off scratch were Kevin Tankard, Chris Baudry and Rob McNally, chopping block included Damian Wells, Arthur Anderson and Peter Mills. Following these two groupings were Geoff Marshall, Adam Wightwick and Jack Lokan with limit being Kevin Gregory, Michael Vaughan, Ken Joy and Peter Winton. The field spread over a five minute time frame for the four lap event
Chopping block were caught before lap 1 was completed. Rob McNally advising the writer that 46kms/hr was the first lap average. Limit were rounded up by the middle group midway on lap 2. All riders getting on behind the power pedalling of Geoff Marshall. Hoping to stay away until the last 6km the bunch worked as well as it could given the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various riders. Unfortunately, the combined scratch and chopping block swooped on mid lap 3.
The field now all up , Chris Baudry and Kevin Tankard were kind as they held back from winding it up until the 38km mark. Baudry was the catalyst for a downwind attack which had Gregroy, Joy and Vaughan immediately in trouble and left Anderson, Mills and Winton with some work to do to stay in touch. The recent good form of Lokan holding up as he was able to stay with the raging scratch markers and a Bundy and Coke fuelled Baudry (out til 1:30am at local watering holes!). Anderson and Winton made it to the back of the main pack only to observe that Baudry had already got away by 50 metres and increasing his lead. As Anderson was in the process of passing this pack Tankard clicked up a couple of gears and embarked on his chase. The pack responded and wheeled away from the Doctor and Winton with Mills settling down into a grinding, relentless effort to keep the chase pack in view. Tankard and Baudry slipping away from the chase pack at the 43km mark with ease.
The limit riders re-joining for the last 3km held their own little rush at the end with Winton accounting for Gregory on the finishing climb and Vaughan slipping past Joy on the line.
At the big end of the race it was Tankard outlasting a sprint to the line from Baudry to take the honors. Perhaps the 200kms of training the day before had an effect on your legs Christoph?
In the placegetters stakes Damian Wells had the sprint to claim Wightwick and McNally with Jack Lokan finishing well to hold onto 6th spot. The handicapper will be tied to a tree and given multiple lashes for ruining the limit bunch's chance of glory and along the way everyone else's. He will tender his resignation on Tuesday evening at the 40km graded scratch event to be held 6pm at Riverside. It's lousy pay anyway.
Next Sunday is the "Tour de Murray" under Tour Director Peter Mills where riders are requested to assemble at the Lawn Tennis Club for the ride to Lindemans Winery and back. Please wear your Club jersey to make it easier for ride organisers to ping those of you racing during a "family" event. Remember it's a bunch ride - do you recall what they are?
Club championships are looming with Red Cliffs Rotary Lunarfest on March 23/24.
1 Kevin Tankard 1.10.15 2 Chris Baudry 3 Damian Wells 4 Adam Wightwick 5 Rob McNally 6 Jack Lokan 7 Geoff Marshall 8 Arthur Anderson 9 Peter Mills 10 Peter Winton 11 Kevin Gregory 12 Michael Vaughan 13 Ken Joy
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