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2016 Club Road Nationals, Alexandra.

A solid contingent of green jerseys made it down to the bottom part of the South Island for the 2016 National Club Road Championships. For all but the Open and U23 riders, this is the pinnacle event of the NZ road calendar where selections for World Champs (junior and masters) are on the line. Not surprisingly, the competition and the standard of racing was very high, especially from the South Islanders, some of whom are “enigmas” who we hear about, but see rarely this side of Cook Straight.

Michael Groube led the team, firstly organizing transport of most of the (many) bikes and wheels, and driving them all the way down to the race. He was also in charge of team management and ensuring all riders were prepared for their races. Much thanks should go to Michael, without whom participation would have proven impossible for most.

Thursday the 21st was the individual time trial; 15 km for U17 and younger, and Masters 4 and older. The rest did 25 km. The course was fast for the first 5 km before a nasty little climb and some rollers. The longer course turned left and went up a very long false flat before turning around to a very fast second half. Those with the leg speed were rewarded with good times; the best of the BM riders being Robert Stannard who placed second in the U19 men.

The road races were held over the next three days starting with the U15s and U17s on the Friday. The course was on an undulating circuit with no long climbs, but little chance for recovery if the going got tough. The finish, however, consisted of a left turn off the main course up a climb which began steeply, but gradually leveled out and finishing after around 2 km from the turn.

Clever riding and strong finishes from Rosie and Connie O’Brien saw them both grab silver medals in the U15 and U17 girls respectively. Madi Hartley-Brown was unlucky not to take bronze in the U17 boys race after leading out up the climb and into the finishing straight. Dylan meanwhile unfortunately got held up in a bingle in the last km and Thomas Stannard road strongly to finish in a shattered race a few minutes behind the winners.

Steve and John flew the BM flag the next day, both in the Masters 3 mens race. Steve used his experience to craft out a bronze medal and John finished in the bunch a minute or so back in what was a very tough race.

The last day saw the pinnacle U19 and Open events. BM had no riders in the Open events, so all eyes were on Libby in the U19 womens (80km) and the U19 boys (100 km) where we had five riders and a good chance of a medal. In one of the most aggressive U19 women’s events recently contested, Libby finished a few minutes down on the winners, but nevertheless had a very strong ride. In the U19 mens race, BM was dominant in a tough race. Chris Denholm, returning from injury, spent much of the race off the front in a small group before being wound in with a lap to go. When the hammer went down, four BM riders were left in the front group of ten, so the odds looked good for a BM clean sweep. In the end, Robert bagged the win just ahead of Campbell in second, and Carne in fourth; about as close to a clean sweep as you can get! Meanwhile Andrew McKenzie road well in the bunch all day only to find himself in a following group on the last lap when the gaps opened up.

Despite being a smaller BM contingent than usual for the Nationals, and entirely due to the distance and cost of getting down to Alexandra, the team performed remarkably well and enjoyed the four day event. Next year’s Road Nationals will return to Cambridge and any regularly racing BM riders should start thinking about preparing for that event next April.

Bike Manawatu Results:

Time Trial Results   Road Race Results  
U15 Girls – 15km Time U15 Girls – 30km Time
7th Rosie O’Brien  29:15 2nd Rosie O’Brien  1:06:48
U17 Girls – 15km   U17 Girls – 40km  
11th Connie O’Brien  25:34 2nd Connie O’Brien  1:14:55
U17 Boys – 15km   U17 Boys – 60km  
7th Madi Hartley Brown  21:58 4th Madi Hartley Brown  1:37:15
14th Dylan Simpson  22:30 23rd Dylan Simpson  1:37:41
34th Thomas Stannard  24:30 36th Thomas Stannard  1:44:41
U19 Girls – 15km   U19 Girls – 80km  
4th Libby Arbuckle  23:41 10th Libby Arbuckle  2:38:39
U19 Boys – 25km   U19 Boys – 100km  
2nd Robert Stannard  35:53 1st Robert Stannard  2:34:53
7th Carne Groube  36:50 2nd Campbell Stewart 2:34:55
8th Campbell Stewart  36:57 4th Carne Groube  2:35:07
24th Chris Denholm  39:30 12th Chris Denholm  2:35:48
    27th Andrew McKenzie 2:44:29
Masters Men 2 – 25km      
5th Glen Kirk 37:58    
Masters Men 3 – 25km   Masters Men 3 – 100km  
4th Steve Stannard 37:46 3rd Steve Stannard 2:39:26
    19th John Stewart 2:46:09