I was lucky enough to commentate this year’s Bike Manawatu ‘Gravel and Tar Classic’ last weekend which brought top teams and riders from all over New Zealand and Australia to Palmerston North for our unique 100k Gravel and Tar race. Professional riders say they
love something different as a race and of course the prize money on offer and have said they’ll be back next year which is a fantastic outcome. Race organiser Steve Stannard and his team worked tirelessly to make this second year a success and Mayor Grant Smith was in the square to welcome the riders and there support teams at the start.
The anticipation of who would win brought cycling enthusiasts to the Memorial Park finish line while the race organisers fed me by phone what was happening on the tough 100k windy course which I conveyed enthusiastically by microphone.
It was exciting with reports coming in of Robert Stannard, Alex West (Team Skoda) and Glenn Haden (Team Bike Box) making an early brake with the chase group of Sam Burston and Dylan Newbury (Möbius Future Racing-Australia), Roman van Uden (team Cyclista), Chris Denholm (Team Skoda), Luke Mudgeway, and Logan Griffin (Oliver’s Real Food Racing) last year’s winner working hard to bridge the gap.
In the meantime, the Gravel and Tar 80k Gran Fondo riders were also finishing there event at the same time. First across the line in the Gran Fondo was Jason Sturzaker followed by young local rider Max Taylor and local masters rider Glen Kirk was third place. The women’s first three placing saw Kirsten Hagen from Wellington win the event followed by local teenager Pieta Ranson in second with masters rider Carol Webb in third. To all riders well done and a fantastic effort in tough conditions. We hope you’ll be back next year.
Meanwhile in the Gravel and Tar Classic elite race reports of a cat and mouse dual between Robert Stannard and Alex West had developed with 5km to go. Glen Haden had a puncture to deal with and was chasing hard to catch the two out in front while the chase group with top Australian and New Zealand riders were still unable to bridge the gap.
The class and effort of our two local riders was evident. With the home straight in sight Robert was on the wheel of Alex ready to pounce. The sprint and finish was exciting with Robert winning marginally over Alex (Team Skoda) Glenn Haden (Team BikeBox) in third place. Racing at its best.
For a full report go to the RoadCycling website.
Bike Manawatu we’re proud to bring racing of this calibre to Palmerston North and we thank the valued Sponsors of Gravel and Tar Classic for there support.
AvantiPlus, The Lion Foundation, Hotel Coachman, Cyclista, Bayleys, Churchyard Physiotherapy, NZ Farm Source. Sport Manawatu.
Back to Cycling-2017
Tune in the Bike Manawatu calendar for upcoming events that you are interested in. There will be some changes to the calendar and we will update you as soon as possible.
Road, Track, Time Trails, social and upcoming events will keep you fit and keen while enjoying this amazing sport of cycling in 2017.
Bike Manawatu Happy Hour
When; 24th of February
Where; Lonestar on the Square
See you there…