Thursday evening Mansfield Mt Buller Cycling Club riders contested a handicap race out the Whitfield Rd to Sawpit Gully Road and back, some 25km in all.
A field of twenty six riders greeted the starter and were sent out in groups according to handicap. Scratch began some fourteen and a half minutes behind limit, with Andrew Gerrans, Mauro Brega, Bruce Halket, Mitch Greenway and Steffan Vaivars quietly confident that this was their night.
Ian Conrick made a move early in the race, cycling clear of ‘team-mates’ Tony Williams and Daryl Riley; the benefits of his recent international training clearly evident. Further back visiting ex-Mansfield resident Peter Walker fitted in comfortably with his group, with the intensive pre-race coaching from Darren Bakker ringing in his ears. Steve Ward was making a welcome return to club racing, and didn’t seem to mind being slotted straight into the strong ‘block’ grouping.
By the turnaround scratch were starting to make big inroads into the field. Conrick had his own ideas though, and after catching his breath behind Michelle Condie and Tony Morris launched a solo bid for glory. Behind him the chase group grew larger and larger as scratch moved through the field picking up passengers as they went. But encouraged by loud support from an ‘impartial’ volunteer official Ian drove hard for home.
For those waiting on the finish line the sight of Conrick looking over his shoulder at the advancing hordes while pedalling as fast as his little legs would allow is not one that will be quickly forgotten! And he made it, recording a famous nine second victory over Halket who beat home Brega, Gerrans and Bakker a sprint for minor placings.
Special thanks to the very big band of willing volunteers including Fiona Greenway and George Chalk. This week is the annual Stump Hill Classic handicap race on Benalla Road. Entries to Di Condie on 0438 513 355 by 8pm sharp Wednesday night.
Best wishes to all those participating the next weekend’s races and recreational rides in and around Mansfield.
1. Ian Conrick
2. Bruce Halkett
3. Jock Brega
4. Andrew Gerrans
5. Darren Bakker
Full Results (needs deciphering!!) - CLICK HERE.
Ladder - CLICK HERE.