Posted by on 03/19/00
Luckily for the 43 riders that took part in the 41.5km handicap race last Sunday it was held in the morning in reasonably fine weather rather than after lunch in the torrential downpour.
The riders were divided into 8 bunches covering a time difference of 20 minutes.
Most of the bunches stayed intact until the climb up the steep side of Marshall Mount. The limit rider was caught just before the top of the climb. Josh Wall and Mitchell Hall pulled away from the 5 minute bunch and assumed the role of race leaders.
The 10 minute bunch was making good time but the 12 minute bunch was caught reasonably early by the 14 minute bunch which had more riders. The 6 riders in Lionel Covington, Ernie Hall, Peter Kelly, Phil Cuifo, Terry Wall and Garry Doughty had combined well and were maintaining an average of over 38km per hour.
Rob Calladine, Hardy Lhouse and Lou Palermo escaped from the rest of the 16 minute bunch on the climb and set off after the 14 minute riders, but due the superior numbers they were unable to bridge the gap. Jason Micaleff again showed he is learning quickly by being one of the stronger riders in the 18 minute bunch. He combined well with Frank Soto, Hans Batteard, Tony Pulo, Brad Martin and Marcus Arnold to only loose 1 minute to the scratchies over the first lap. But then they became a bit disorganised and were caught by the scratchies about 2km up the road.
Meanwhile the scratch riders, off 20 minutes, were flying with the work being evenly shared around between, Chris Brown, Brendan Cato, Adam Rourke, Craig Williams, Mick Lockyer, Mat Wright and Scot Wallis. After catching the block bunch they quickly picked up the 16 minutes riders as well.
Just before the end of the first lap the 14 minute bunch caught the 12 minute bunch and this combined group then caught the rest of the riders in front on the last climb up the easy side of Marshal Mount. With the exception of Josh Wall who was not caught until Yallah TAFE. Dave Morris and Joe Pereira from the 12 minute bunch contributed well to the speed of the combined group.
As the scratch group closed in on the large group ahead Cuifo and Doughty gave it one last try by attacking as they went over Hooker hill, to no avail.
The lead group had swelled to over 30 riders and riding in that was not for the faint hearted. As he is not a renowned sprinter Raf Moriana tried to escape in the last kilometre but he too was pulled back.
The sprint started early with Soto leading out. Over the line it was Brown from Rourke, Lockyer, Williams and Lhouse. An excellent race and a credit to the handicapper.
Next week's race is a 44.5km scratch race which includes 2 climbs up the steep side of Marshal Mount, a daunting task. Group 6 is to provide the marshals.
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