Phil ‘Out-Foxes’ Followers!
Perfect weather greeted the riders for the 5th round of the Summer Series which returned to Berthong Road after Round 4 in Young. With regular handicapper Zeke on leave it was left to the Fox to handicap and the scratch riders were already sweating before turning a pedal. Fortunately long-time handicapper Pete Rees made a cameo appearance to help Fox out with the groups. With the 23 riders sorted into 5 consistent groups the scene was set for some competitive riding – or so everyone thought!
Limit were sent off at the 13 minute mark confirming once again that Fox does have some affinity and allegiance with them ( 8 minutes would have been generous!!) Barry Rose, Steve Green and Phil Bowden were more than happy with this start.
At 9 minutes second limit were licking their lips at their opportunity. Phil Davies, Anthony Dean, Tim Dowling and Cootamundra’s fittest rider Geoff Golden, knew if they could keep the group together they were assured of at least a placing.
A very strong 3rd limit left at the 5 minute 30 second mark, a time usually reserved for limit over the summer. This bunch consisted of some very strong riders who would normally handle block. These included James Watson, Al Baker, Tim Condon, Kevin Ford, Mark Bolger and James Baldry. That said it was always going to be hard for them to make ground and for block to catch.
The block bunch saw the inclusion of Glen Oakley who had caught the eye of the handicapper with two second placings. The Fox took to him like he would a chook in a henhouse pulling him back a group! He was joined by Jack Stratford, Joel Finucane and Dr. Martin Ryan.
The red-hot Brendan Forsyth was moved back to scratch after his fastest time in Young off block and was joined by Steve Franklin, Steve Hines, Kevin Goodman, Sean Williams and Hamish Nott. They combined well to catch block before the turn but that was the last they would see of anyone in the race due to the generous gaps up front!
Limit were caught by second limit just after the hill on the return leg and with their big lead and fast time this group were not to be seen for the rest of the race. With Anthony Dean and Phil Davies driving the bunch the rest were relegated to the role of hangers-on. Riding a time 3 or 4 minutes faster than expected they were even able to organise their finishing order (or so everyone else thought!). Phil took the win with Geoff Golden second and the super-fit Anthony Dean completing the minor placings. It looks like Phil’s bike riding has been the beneficiary of his sore shoulder, with time otherwise spent at the golf course now spent on the bike!
Despite riding a great time 3rd limit rode the entire race by themselves – with all reporting that the pace they rode was just everyone trying to keep up with the in-form Al Baker.
Fastest time in a very slick 37minutes 30 seconds was Shaun Williams who arrived to see the winners just finishing their first coffee, so far were they in front!
The 6th and penultimate round will be held this Sunday in Cootamundra at Berthing Road. Current standings Phil Davies 27 points, Glen Oakley 17 and Jack Stratford 15 points. With 2 races left nearly everyone still has a chance but will need at least a win and a high placing to overtake Phil.
The question remains “Can anyone catch Phil?” – or will the Fox be let loose in the henhouse again!!