MMBCC race report
The first Handicap race of 2013 saw Mansfield Mt Buller Cycling Club members line up for the start at the Botanic Park on Thursday 24 January for 25km out to Sawpit Gully Road and back.
A stiff northerly headwind greeted the 16 riders. This brought a smile to the faces of the Scratch group riders; the headwind would theoretically favour them over the rest of the field. However, it would mean a very fast, return leg with such a strong tailwind.
First away was Tony Morris as the lone Limit rider off 17 minutes, followed by: Julie Dolling off 10.00; David Bock, Tim Hall and Tony Williams off 7.00; Steve Flew, John Lithgow, Tony Hausknecht and Christine Hopkins off 4.30; Chris Washusen, Bob Beattie and Will MacDonald made up the ‘Chopping Block’ off 4.00; and Scratch consisted of Ross Hopkins, Stefan Vaivars, Josh Hopwood and Bruce Halket.
With only 30 seconds separating Block and the group ahead, it was always likely these two groups would join together early, which they did. Good teamwork meant the seven worked well together into the wind.
Subsequently, Scratch rode all the way to the turnaround without catching anyone, making a mockery of their supposed advantage into the headwind.
Even before the turn, however, Scratch could see Morris still had a very healthy lead and would be difficult to catch.
Then the Indian connection kicked in.
The Hopkins’ have just returned from three weeks cycling in India and the fitness was evident on the way back into town. Christine had been working hard in the Block but Ross really turned the screws after the turn. It even proved too much for Hopwood who was dropped from Scratch just after Long Lane.
As Scratch neared their prey, Hopwood managed to will himself back into the group and took a huge turn up the Barwite Hill. Then Hopkins took over and, after a massive turn on the front which must have lasted a kilometre, attacked the Block group on the ‘Possums’ Hill and put a gap on them straight away.
Meanwhile, Morris quietly went about destroying the field. He crossed for the win 40 seconds clear in a time of 55.44.
Scratch stayed clear of Block despite Washusen and Hausknecht finally remembering what they were meant to do with their pedals. Halket took second ahead of Hopwood, Hopkins and Vaivars. But not far back were Beattie, MacDonald, Hausknecht, Washusen and Williams the final point scorer of the top ten.
As the first Scratchie home, Halket took fastest time of 39.24 and was awarded the Alpine Butchery award, possibly out of pity. Many thanks to Dave and Carol.
Many thanks also to Helen, Margaretanne, Dave, John, Darryl and George for volunteering and officiating and to the Hotel Delatite for the liquid post mortems.
The MMBCC’s Summer Series continues on January 31 with the notorious Black & Tan - a road race taking in a couple of dirt road sections. Sponsored by the SCODY High Country Cycle Challenge, the winner will win a free entry into the SHCCC on March 16 & 17, plus souvenir jersey and knicks. Entries via SMS to 0428 503 437 by 8pm Wednesday 30 January please.
1st - Tony Morris
2nd - Bruce Halket
3rd - Josh Hopwood
For all the results - CLICK HERE