Thursday evening Mansfield Mt Buller Cycling Club riders contested the penultimate race of the summer season, a handicap race out the Whitfield Rd to Sawpit Gully Road and back, some 25km in all.
A field of just twenty riders greeted the starter, perhaps an indication that club members were ‘cycled out’ after a busy weekend of riding.
Sue Hall set off first followed soon after by Michelle Condie. David Bock, Peter Ellet, Tony Williams and Daryl Riley were next.
Close to the rear of the field Darren Bakker and Rob Greenway faced a difficult task at block; having only two in the group means there is little time to ‘rest’ between stints ‘on the front’. However by the turnaround they had caught the group ahead, being Steve Flew, Steve Plummer and Craig Wilson. They set off for home, no doubt mindful that the strong scratch group was hungry for victory after a couple of lean weeks.
Soon after crossing the Broken River the group of Di Condie, John Eisner, Ian Conrick (promoted, or is that penalized, after a recent victory), Mark Ross and newcomer Tim Hall (welcome Tim!) were reeled in. With Darren and Rob driving hard all except Eisner and Conrick were dropped on one or other of the small climbs along Tolmie Road, and approaching the outskirts of Mansfield the last of the riders in front had been reeled in. With Bakker charging hard it seemed just possible that he would lead his group home.
Scratch were not to be denied however, catching the lead group at Deadhorse Lane just as they were winding up for the sprint home. In a hectic finish eleven riders hit the line pretty much together with Josh Hopwood beating Bruce Halket by a half-wheel with Stefan Vaivars a further wheel back in third place. Rob Greenway and Mauro Brega made up the top five. Ride of the night though was Darren Bakker who is in something close to career-best form at the moment
Special thanks to the very big band of willing volunteers including Rod Stewart and Gwenda Tait. This week’s team time trial on Tolmie Road is the last race of the summer season. Entries to Di Condie on 0438 513 355 by 8pm sharp Wednesday night.
1. Josh Hopwood
2. Bruce Halket
3. Steffan Vaivers
Results - CLICK HERE
Ladder - With one race to go it's so close we thought we would keep everyone in suspense..