After the storm that lashed the Manawatu region last night there were strong doubts that the weather was going to be kind enough to stage this years event. But with blue sky overhead and a brisk but debilitating wind riders gathered at the Cheltenham hotel.
It would be so nice for a handicap race to know who was going to turn up so that the grades and handicaps can be sorted before the event. If I had known that so many spectators were going to turn up that could have helped I could have brought my bike and ridden also. Next time I will be bold and just put my bike in.
The formulae for working out handicaps had been put to good use and the times worked out for this weeks race. A few small tweeks were given to the times to adjust for the size of the bunches.
And although no one really wants to be called E grade in reality that is what it has come down to as the A grade bunch was split in to 2 groups again this week.
Thanks to the marshalls on the course today – Rebecca Allen, Louise Ransom, Andrew Sievwright and Mike Simpson.
The first bunch of D grade riders headed off with an 11 minute lead over the C grade. The D grade bunch consisted of Helen Davis, Neil Pollock, Peita Ransom, Dylan Simpson and Angela Rainham.
The C grade riders departed eventually in what seemed like an exceptionally long break to be followed 5minutes later by B grade and then a further 5 minutes to A grade and the final gap of 2 mins to the A+ bunch of 4 riders.
With the calculation showing that all riders should be back at Cheltenham in 79 minutes it wasn’t long that we had to wait before the first marshall had returned with the news that Helen was riding by herself and was way out in front.
The other marshalls all arrived and the news was starting to tell the true picture, the bunches had started catching each other and were making good progress working together into the strong wind to catch the lead.
And as Helen appeared over the final brow of the hill and got to the flatter part of the road heading to the finish line the chasing bunch was also cresting the brow of the hill. The chase was truely on. Were they going to catch her before the line. Unfortunately NO but as the results tell the final story you can see what a good finish it was.
As Helen is unfortunately not a club member the Cup this year will go to Jake van Lienen.
Finish Place Finish TimeName Start timeNet Time