Another great sunny day in the Manawatu but a crisp note in the air with little or no wind. Or at least that is how I would describe the weather in Ashhurst as riders assembled by the Library for the running of the 2014 Essex Cup. This is the race that goes up the west side of the Pohangina River to Totara reserve and back down the East side to the finish line at the outskirts of Ashhurst. With the rain over the last few days and the cool temperature at the start of the day riders were told to take extra care on the gravel section and the slippery down hill that gets no sun on the return journey. John Arbuckle was the marshall at the end of the gravel section and would be able to help any riders in need of assistance. With an assigned tail car for the limit riders driven by Chris Croton and the final sweep car driven by Chris Sanson all riders were told at the race briefing that if assistance was required they would be looked after. Thanks to these people and the marshalls Nigel Doyle and Tom Pirie out on the corners there were no accidents reported.
However taking in to consideration the narrow roads in this area there will be limits on the number of vehicles allowed to follow the race in future. The roads that we use are open roads and we need to be aware of other traffic that is using them. We are sharing the roads and people that don’t cycle get upset at times with cyclists on the road, let alone a plethora of tailing vehicles. On a nice sunny day it is better to stop at a vantage point to watch the race unfold before your eyes rather than follow in a car where you only see the riders in front of you.
Thanks to my helpers on the finish line.
The Essex Cup will be presented at the end of year prizegiving to Alex West who was the first over the line in a bunch sprint narrowly holding off Campbell Stewart, Chris Denholm, Robert Stannard and Carne Groube.
The limit riders a group of 8 including Thomas Stannard last years winner of the cup were set off 13 minutes before the next group of 10 riders. The block group of 8 riders were set off at the 21 minute mark and the final 7 scratch riders went at 24 mins.
Results are as follows