Posted by on 02/13/00
The Illawarra Cycle Club held a handicap race over 37.5km last Sunday at West Dapto. Even though there was a good number of riders, thirty five in fact, most of the riders were in the back bunches with very few in the outer groups.
The eight rider scratch bunch looked very strong, bolstered by the presence of the elite mountain bikers Garth Hennessy, John Groom, Steve Hunter and the number one and two Canadian riders Eric Torville and George Visser. They had their job cut out for them with limit having a start of 16:30min and block 4:00 min infront.
With only a few riders in each of the front bunches they had little chance with the gusting winds. Early on in the race all the back bunches had combined well and were motoring along. The bunch that appeared to be doing the best was the 11:30 group. Frank Soto and Paul Blackwood were driving them along, ably assisted by Jason Micallef, Rob Calladine, Brian Joyce and Barry Neall.
At Marshal Mount on the first lap the 9:30 bunch caught Joe Pereira and Dave Morris of the 8:30 bunch. The 11:30 bunch then caught this combined group just after the end of the first lap.
Meanwhile the scratchies were really flying with Hennessy and Torville really stretching them out. They caught the block bunch at Yallah TAFE heading back to the finish on the second lap.
After the last climb of Hooker hill the leading group was composed mainly of the 11:30 riders and the lone figure of Lionel Covington from the 9:30 bunch. Their lead seemed to be sufficient to say that the winner would come from that group. Soto was relentlessly driving the group along. As they approached the finish Neall led the sprint out but Soto and Blackwood immediately overtook him. Soto held on for a well-deserved win from Blackwood and Jason Micallef.
Hennessy and Torville had broken away from their fellow riders and followed the winners in only 28 seconds behind in 8th and 9th places respectively. Hennessy recorded the fastest time of the race of 52:23min.
Next week is race 3 of the time trial series. Group 2 is to provide the marshals. Following the race the club's monthly meeting will be held.Results:
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