It was Tour de Manawatu day and most cyclists in the region belted out 116km, 80km or 45km in the morning with mixed success. A number of regular competitors stayed home to recover but a hardy bunch made the trip to Johnston Park to compete in perfect conditions. A hot dry track, light to no wind and a warm day made up the conditions that saw an unprecedented 6 track records broken over the flying quarter mile distance.
The programme began with the Flying Quarter mile time trials followed by 3 lap handicap graded races then 4 lap scratch races and the programme wound up with graded long handicap races. The fastest Flying Quarter mile of the day went to the winner of the 80km event at the Tour de Manawatu Jordan Castle in a time of 25.84 seconds beating the previous mens under 19 record by 0.36 seconds. This made it a special day for Jordan as he also won each of the other 3 races he contested to make it a 5 out of 5 day. The Senior Mens records was broken by Jaycob Humphreys by 0.68 seconds. The Womens under 19 record was broken by Kate Stewart by 0.64 seconds as she prepares to represent New Zealand at the upcoming Oceania Track cycling Championships in Invercargill.
You don’t get much better days in the Manawatu than last Sunday, not for riding a bike at least.
The Tour de Manawatu is a fun ride, but it’s really the biggest local race of the year. Well organized, a great course, good traffic management, and usually a strong bunch of riders.
In contrast to other years, the start and first section down Napier Rd to Ashhurst was fairly civilized, with few random high speed attacks. A small group lead by Neil Martin did make a break about halfway along, but couldn’t get much more than 100 m and were hauled back as we went through Ashhurst.
With the first climb imminent though, the bunch was getting itchy and the paced was pushed up the hill out of Ashhurst such that a split formed. A solo effort then by Campbell Stewart saw him leading up the Watersheds, but also a “rabbit” for the other junior riders. In catching him the front bunch split again and a few dozen then remained as we pressed onto Colyton at speeds exceeding 60 km/hr at times. The attacks then started thick and fast nearly all the way to Cheltenham, but few breaks managed to last more than a minute or two.
By Katherine Stannard (with apologies to Banjo Patterson and Clancy of the Overflow)
I found this when I was cleaning out the cupboard the other day – while it is a race report from another time and another place it could be describing the twists and turns of almost any race. I thought you might enjoy it.
First, a little bit of background; the Grafton Inverell is a single day, graded, 240km race from Grafton, at sea level in northern New South Wales, up over the Gibraltar range (a winding climb of some 18km) to Inverell, some 600m above sea level. The year that Steve and I did the race Phil Anderson (aka Skippy) was invited to be the race starter. We were racing for our Northern Suburbs Club who were sponsored by the Clancy’s supermarket chain. The rest, as they say, is history….
As we marshalled on the start line
in the early morning light
There were twenty Clancy’s riders, maybe more
And as “Skippy” gave the signal
The wet early morning in Palmerston North might have discouraged some late entries, but as with all fun-rides of late, numbers were a little down at the start line.
Some 72 riders began the 96 km Rangitikei River Loop, one of the most enjoyable rides on the annual calendar, on Sunday morning. There are usually some riders from as far a field as Wellington and Taranaki, some using it as training for the Tour of Southland, others just wanting to see the fantastic country-side. This year was no exception.
The tough bit about this ride is the nasty climb straight out of the start line and as usual, this immediately split the bunch. A group of some 16 of the better riders formed at the front, with a couple of large chasing groups hoping to get back on before the first section on SH1.
The recreational rides organisers had the idea to add some variety to our Sunday rides by planning a trip starting a bit further away from home and on roads not regularly used by our club members. Thus the ride from Mangaweka was conceived.
To make the logistics easier, a bus was hired which picked up the approximately 40 riders for just over an hour journey to Mangaweka.
And on time at 8:15 the group set off up the (rather nice climb) towards Rangiwahia. The previous days of heavy rain had brought down a large number of slips and the soft Papa Rock (that muddy greyish sandstone) covered the road. Pretty soon both bikes and riders were were evenly plastered with the stuff.