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The finale in what has been an extremely sucessful race series was always going to be fast in both grades with everyone wanting to win the last race to carry bragging rights till the next series. The series has grown throughout the summer with great fields on what is an excellent inner city circuit. The racing will be sorely missed by many on a Thursday night and the next series won't come soon enough.
To the racing...
Although Karl Murray had a 17 point lead going into the the race it was still possible for him to lose the overall series. This combined with the desire by most to win the last race of the series saw a furious pace from the gun. Richard Bowker and Ryan Hoogenberg back from the track nationals went out of the blocks early, but after one lap into the headwind sat up to wait. They were quickly joined by several other riders and it looked like they could well put the bunch under pressure as it was slow to react. However, they failed to work together and the bunch reeled them in after another couple of laps.
Tim Pawson then put in his first attack of the evening and the pattern for the rest of the race was set. Kieran Turner bridged to a small group just before the first sprint to test out Karl Murray's legs but Murray closed the move down quickly and then went on the attack himself.
The bunch came together for the first sprint and it was Hamish McPherson who took it. The bunch settled briefly before Tim Pawson launched another attack and got away with Justin Ralph. The two worked well together and opened up a handy lead with Pawson taking the second sprint.
The bunch was thinking of the finish though and the pace wound up to bring the breakaway's back. With 4 to go a dangerous break containing series leader Karl Murray had established itself 100m off the front. With two to go David Wyman hit the front to help drag the bunch up to the break with just over a lap to go.
The pace eased briefly down the back straight before Paul Faint took a flyer. David Rae and Kieran Turner got his wheel into the home straight. David Rae opened up his sprint and then Kieran Turner came up beside him with 15m to go and hit the front as Faint faded. With 10m to go Ryan Hoogenberg blew past Turner and Rae with Eric McKenzie challenging him for the win. Hoogenberg held on for the win ahead of McKenzie with Karl Murray getting up for third just ahead of Ric Reid and Kieran Turner. A well deserved series win to Karl Murray who rode consistently well throughout the series.
An early break of four riders looked like they might be able to put some daylight between themselves and the bunch. The break contained Todd Hewlett, the series leader who was just three points ahead of Christian Pulley. It was no suprise then that the break was neutralised.
The pace was also considerably quicker this week than previous weeks which demonstrated the hunger of the riders to win. The halfway sprint was won by Darryl Bingham. The bunch stayed pretty much lined out for the rest of the race with the pace never easing off.
Into the last lap and two riders had a 75m break on the field. It looked like an historic break might win B -Grade. But no, there is always someone there to sacifice themselves and bring it back together for everyone else. It came down to a sprint for the MET helmet and Christian Pulley hit the front with 200m to go and made it look easy winning by over a legnth. Richard Speer came home second while a wildly gesturing Todd Hewlett finished third. The MET goes to Christian who had better luck this week than last.
A grade 1 Ryan Hoogenberg 2 Eric McKenzie 3 Karl Murray 4 Ric Reid 5 Kieran Turner 6 David Rae 7 Troy Klink 8 Paul Faint B grade 1 Christian Pulley 2 Richard Speer 3 Todd Hewlett 4 Brendon Fowler 5 6 Jon Bridges 7 Dean Griffen 8 9 Tom Finlay 10 Duncan Styles
Previous results from New Zealand