Wagga Wagga race 2nd & 3rd July 2017.
Several of our club members travelled to Wagga to race in the graded scratch races conducted over the weekend. In Division 1 we had Aiden Kampers who was in the thick of the action throughout the 100 km race. Aiden rode a fantastic race and was just behind the leaders as they crossed the line. In the Sunday criterium, once again Aiden was constantly pushing the pace, setting up his team for the push to the line. Aiden had a great weekend and is proving a valued member of the Mobius Team.
I would also like to congratulate a former member of the ICC, Zac Marshall. Zac who now rides for the St George Cycling Club showed incredible speed by winning the Division 2 race by a big margin in the sprint. He followed this up with the same result on Sunday in the criterium around the town.
In Division 3 we had Merrick Law, Jason Hogan and Jarrod Williams. The Saturday race was over 100 kms, and this was going to be a step up for young Jarrod. He did a fantastic job in finishing in the main bunch, not far away from the place getters. Merrick was involved in a mass pile up, and his race was over around the 40 km mark. Jason got caught up in the crash, and was lucky not to come down. He did a double lock up and took the rear tyre down to the canvas. For the next 40 kms Jason pushed on in a hope that the tyre would take him to the finish. With doing turns throughout the race, and pushing hard on all the climbs, finally the tyre blew up. Jason’s race was over with 20 kms to go. Jarrod was still in the thick of the action, and remained in the pack all the way to the finish. A fantastic result for Jarrod and commiserations to both Merrick & Jason. Always tomorrow.
Now for Sunday’s criterium race. Minus 5.5’C at 7am. This is going to be freezing.
No sooner had the Commissaire started the race, attacks came thick and fast. After a short time, Merrick and another rider got away. Watching from the sideline, it looked like these 2 might hang on to the finish. With Jason and Jarrod sitting back in the bunch and not doing anything to affect Merrick’s chances, things were looking good. With the first sprint 1 lap away, Merrick hit the front and held on for victory in sprint 1. The 2 riders reformed and pressed on doing turn for turn for the next 15 minutes. Both Jason and Jarrod remained in perfect positions in the middle of the pack. The whistle for the 2nd sprint went off and now it was going to be a fight for this one. Merrick took up 2nd wheel and never left his position up the back straight and around the final corner. Both neck and neck with 20 metres to go. A throw of the bike and Merrick got the judges’ vote. Merrick takes sprint 1 & 2. The leaders were now in the same straight as the chasing peloton. Another lap down and they were all together.
There was an attack, and now 3 riders were off the front and gaining a solid lead. With time running out, it looked like the sprint would be fought out between these 3 guys. I had the time gap on the 1.4km road circuit as 21 seconds to the chasing group with 3 laps to go. 2 laps to go, and the time had gone out slightly to 23 seconds. With some kind words of encouragement from the sideline, Jason led Jarrod through the pack to get closer to the front. As soon as the group hit the back straight, Jason did an almighty turn with young Jarrod on his wheel. As they hit the final bend with about 300 to go, Jason had placed Jarrod in the perfect position to go for 4th place. As the front 3 were playing around, Jarrod surprised them with his speed and took 3rd place. A fantastic result for all boys in the criterium.
We didn’t have anyone in the Division 4, but we did have 2 old cyclists in Division 5, myself (Terry Wall) and Mick Marshall.
Our first race on Saturday was supposed to be 60 kms, but due to traffic issues, it was extended to 70 kms. We took off 5 minutes after the division 4 riders on the same 60 km course. The first climb was after 5 kms and it was like Marshall Mount. Mick followed my wheel over the climb and we stayed together for the next 30 kms. Over an undulating course, riders were being dropped, but we hung on. Just before the turnaround, Mick lost contact with the bunch. It was a long long drag to the turnaround, and this cut our bunch to 10 riders.
I could see the division 4 riders up ahead and couldn’t understand how we could be catching them. Our group was working well, but I didn’t think we were on the gas. Now we were down to 4 riders doing turns with 20 kms to go. The support car for division 4 was now 100 metres ahead of us. The commissaire stopped the division 4 riders on the side of the road to allow us to pass. We kept pushing on as hard as possible, and by the end of the race we had put another 2 minutes into division 4. I did find out till after the race, that no one in division 4 wanted to do a turn, and rolled along at 30 kph. They wanted a group sprint finish, and that is what they got. Back to our race. With 1 km to go, we turned off old Naranderra road and went up a slight climb to the finish. I was sitting in 4th position as we started the climb. A wagga rider slipped off the front and his team mate let him go. By the time I got around him, it was too late. I missed out on 2nd place by ½ a wheel. 3rd place was still a great result, and I’m happy with the day out on the bike. As they say, ‘he who hesitates, comes 3rd’. Something like that. Mick came in about 2 minutes behind in the chasing bunch, and finished strongly.
Now for Sunday’s criterium. It was minus 1 on the Garmin when the race started. Mick and I started in the perfect position, people in front of us like usual. I was sitting about 4th wheel, and Mick was sitting right next me. Mick and I had a plan, at least win something this weekend. The first sprint was at the 10 minute mark. The rider in front of me took off, and Mick moved out letting me out to chase him down. This was the guy who won yesterdays’ race. I latched onto his wheel on the final bend, and was not going to leave the sprint too late like yesterday. I got over him on the finish line to take the first sprint. We regrouped and continued at a solid pace until the next sprint. Mick and I never challenged for the 2nd sprint as we were saving ourselves for the big one. With 3 laps to go, I was sitting 3rd wheel and Mick was 5th wheel. Well, out of the blue, Mick took off at a hundred miles an hour and hit the front. He took another rider with him, and now there was a dash to get the best wheel to take me to the finish. Mick pulled off with 1 lap to go, and I was sitting 4th wheel. As we entered the finish straight, I couldn’t improve on my position. I came 4th, and Mick was right behind me.
To all our riders who participated on the weekend, well done.