The first handicap of the road season saw a great turnout of 34 riders on a cold and windy Easter Saturday. Handicapper Shane Stiles had put hours in on the spreadsheet and believed he had a formula worked out that would deliver all groups into the home straight at the same time after 44km of hard riding. Unfortunately there is always someone who has been doing some secret training that confounds the handicapper’s best attempts.
First away with 26 minutes on scratch was Andrew De Bona.
Four minutes later the trio of Greg Horbowicz, Mathieson Jenkin and Renne Patrick set off.
Next away with 16 minutes on scratch were John Davine, Pete Davine, Brian Munro and first time racer Mariah Dastey. Brian found the going a little tough but Mariah stayed with the Davine boys right to the finish and mixed it up in the bunch sprint. Unlike her husband, Mariah did not attempt a doomed to falure solo breakaway in the last 2km. She is already showing more tactical nous than Jason.
With 12 minutes on scratch the group of Chris Henne, Graeme Patrick, Jack Walk and Trev Rollinson would prove hard to catch.
Four minutes behind them George Tambassis was in good company for his first handicap. He was guided by Steve Muggeridge, Col Brown, Neil Walker and Jayden Manintveld.
Chasing them were Ross Henry, Paul Yeatman, Lucy Caldwell and Tom Debnam who had 6 minutes on scratch.
With four minutes on scratch the group of Rob and Cy Monk, Simon Baxter, James Lalor, Roland Elstrom and Tony Clarke didn’t stay together long. Lalor’s form after his win last week has tapered right off and he was dropped before the half way point of lap one. By the end of the lap he’d been dropped by the 2 minute bunch of Pete Finlayson, Peter Whelan, Charlie Davine, Geoff Thomson and Danny Dilger as well. Jimmy did manage to hold on to the scratch pair of Shane Stiles and Daryl Anderson for part of a lap before finally calling it quits.
The bunches were all closing up nicely by the end of lap 2. The only aberration was the 4 minute group had actually taken time out of the 2 minute bunch meaning the back markers were clearly not going to catch up. The four minute bunch suffered a setback when Rob Monk punctured near the end of lap two meaning they were down to four riders. They nearly caught the 6 minute bunch on Parkers Rd on lap three but Ross Henry and Paul Yeatman managed to catch the 8 minute bunch first. This made a group of 9 riders that began working together well into the head wind. Those behind would not catch now. The combined 6 and 8 minute group reeled in all the riders in front but one.
Greg Horbowicz, with the words of new coach Chris Hunt ringing in his ears, powered on at the front of the field on his own. With 22 minutes on scratch he would not be caught. Greg took a well earned victory by one minute and 50 seconds.
The 6, 8, 12, 16, and 22 minute bunches all combined to fight out the sprint for second. Tom Debnum was too quick in the run to the line taking second from Col Brown. Then followed Ross Henry, Jayden Manintveld, George Tambassis (not second this week) and Lucy Coldwell.
The scratch 2 and 4 minute bunches trailed in some time after. Some days the outmarkers just get too big a head start.
The webmaster liked not being caught by anyone, despite being made to suffer for the entire race!