The life of the limit riders is like that of a Gazelle being hunted by pack of lions. Sometimes the Gazelle get away but most times they get caught and killed. Andrew Gordon, new to cycling races had started on the limit in each race of this handicap series. Each race he had ridden a little faster for a little longer but in the first 5 races the faster bunches behind him caught him before the finish. The kill was them riding past at a speed Andrew could not hold. In races one to five he’d not recorded a top 10 placing. Always caught, always killed.
Undeterred he fronted for the final race of the series on Saturday, the Club’s Handicap Championship Race, the Tim McArdle Handicap. Doctor Tim McArdle, himself a limit rider, tragically lost his life in a training accident and each year race is held in his honour.
Andrew was again on the limit mark. This week he had Renee Patrick for company. Five minutes behind were Colin Manintveld, Ray York, and Andrew Jackson. These riders were required to complete 4 laps of the 11k circuit in the time the other groups had to complete 5 laps.
The major threat to the limit group was super strong and consistent third scratch group of Ross Henry, Jayden Manintveld, Greame Patrick, Joe Patrick and Niel Walker. This group worked consistently for 5 laps with no passengers. They reeled in the group 6 minutes in front of them on lap 4 as they fractured. Davel Ballie, Mariah Dastey, Zvonko Maric, John Davine and Ben Stein struggled for cohesion. Only Maric was able to stay with the faster group to the finish.
On scratch Big Jim Timmer-Arends was keen to get in some training for the upcoming Australian Masters Time Trial Championship. He would hunt those limit riders till he caught them. He did the lion’s share of the chasing with Jayman Prestidge and Pete Finlayson helping and Simon Baxter chiming in occasionally. They chased down the group in front by lap 3. Cy and Rob Monk, Geoff Thomson and Justin Prestidge lacked the horsepower to stay away. They had started with James Lalor but his effort stay with them for less than half a lap indicated some lost form.
After the catch Big Jim decided the boys in his group were slowing him down so he rode everyone off his wheel and crossed to the third scratch group on his own. He then went through them like a knife through butter too and headed for the line to take 5th place, fastest time and wrap up a well deserved series victory.
He could not catch the Limit riders though.
Ray York was making a spirited defence of his Tim McArdle title and he and Andrew Jackson managed to catch Renee. Gordon was too strong though and increased his lead over Andrew and Ray at the start of Parkers road on their final lap.
He rode powerfully to hold them off and take the title. The Gazelle had escaped the lions today and Gordon was the champion.
Andrew Jackson was second with Yorka third and Renee Patrick forth. Big Jim was fifth. Then followed Greame Patrick, Jayden Manintveld, Joe Patrick, Zvonko Maric and Ross Henry.
After big Jim had shed the rest of the scratch and chopping block group the Prestidge Brothers provided some comic relief when Justin Prestige threw his bike back during a desperate lunge to try and stay on the bunch. (Smooth he isn’t!!) This led to Jayman Prestidge clipping his wheel and nearly falling off. A quick unclip and a ride through the grass at the side of the road saw him gone from the bunch. Within 20 meters Justin blew up and was gone too; a classic Prestidge one – two.
Racing returns in two weeks time with a scratch race at Araluen Rd. Over 50 riders have competed in the current handicap series. Thanks to race director and Handicapper Shane Stiles for all the hard work to make the series a huge success.