Summer Series 2013-14 Race 3
“The Christmas Roast Turkey Handicap”
Race 3 in this year’s Summer Series was the first in which the weather would play a part. High temperatures and a hot north-west wind greeted riders as they signed on with handicapper Zeke. Numbers were buoyed by the return of some veterans and some new riders making their series debut. In all 29 riders started which was outstanding considering the conditions, which resembled that which the Christmas turkeys were about to face inside a fan-forced oven!
Limit left first off 12 minutes led by Barry Rose. He was joined by Janine Hobson, Simon Thompson and first-time starter Glen Oakley. Three minutes behind chasing them were second limit, led by dark-horse Greg Ewings, along with series leader Phil Davies and Temora’s Paul Breust. A strong third-limit group contained the handicapper’s sacrificial lamb James Lenehan who’s Saturday form was counting against him! Tim Condon, Edwina Hobson, Jack Stratford and Alan Baker ensured he would have a tough day in the saddle from the 7 minute mark. These five would prove to be the smokies of the day!
Second block left 5 minutes ahead of scratch and were 6 riders strong. Dave Holder, Michael Crowe and Kevin Ford did the majority of the work up font into the wind, whilst Rod Holder, Anthony Dean, James Baldry and James Watson were just hanging on. Off 3 minutes behind them the chopping block contained a new rider this week with the in-form Scott McLeod leaving alongside Dave Jarvis, Brendan Forsyth, Ken Clarke and Garry Halloran for the first of what will no doubt be many times. McLeod carried his group well doing long turns and facing the majority of the wind after taking over from Jarvis as group-leader.
Scratch consisted of the returning Kevin Goodman and Darren Russell from Young, Steve Hines, Hamish Nott and Steve Franklin. With the two Young riders looking to catch block in the first 5km the pace proved too hot for Nott, who was cooked like a Christmas roast and dropped at Pettit’s on the way out! The chase into the wind continued as scratch caught block just after the turn on the way home. This combined group were to catch second block and chase hard (and fast with the tailwind!) all the way home.
Up front Oakley, in his first race ever, was attempting to steal the win with a solo breakaway. Generous handicapping and in-form riders in Baker and Stratford dragged Hobson forward and added impetus to the front chase group of Ewings, Davies and Breust. These six were defying the chasers and beginning to make inroads into the solo leader as Oakley began to tire over the final 2 km. Russell and Goodman continued to dish out the pain behind to all who could keep up as they chased hard from behind – at times doing well over 50km/h on the flat trying to catch.
As Oakley struggled on the home straight Stratford mustered all his strength to overhaul him inside the final 200m to take the win. Al Baker, who worked well with Jack all the way home, held on for 3rd with Greg Ewings and Edwina Hobson taking out the other placings. Kevin Goodman took the fastest time in 39.28 – a great effort considering the conditions.
The series now sees a hiatus over the holidays before returning in February as a lead-in to the road racing season. Stay tuned to the website for updates to the What’s On (calendar) and News sections. For the points score click here.