The Accionia Gunning Wind Farm 44km Graded Handicap at Breadalbane on Saturday, March 18 gave cyclists a solid workout.
Riders headed up the Cullerin Range to the summit then tackled the long fast decent to Fish River before and a climb to the turnaround just outside Gunning. From the turnaround they had a long return climb to the summit before a short descent to Poplar Straight and the flat run to the finish line in the village.
A strong easterly kept most of the showers away. An easterly at Breadalbane means a tailwind to the turn, but an unforgiving headwind for the return journey. D Grade riders Fiona Berry and Bluey Emmerton set a cracking pace toward Gunning.
Five minutes later the C Grade bunch set off intent on making the catch before the turnaround. Wayne Bensley organised the pace line until he pulled over with a mechanical issue on Poplar Straight. Nadine Moroney set the tempo on each of the short climbs dragging Chris Berry to the top before allowing him to take over on the descents. The combination worked a treat as they averaged over 40km/h to catch Fiona and Bluey just before the Fish River climb. The climb was too much for Chris as Nadine made it comfortably around the turn with a handy lead.
Phil Hansen, Neils Laugusen and Jacob Emmerton had 10 minutes to make up on the front runners and by the turnaround had most of them within their sights. Neils and Jacob broke away on the Fish River climb and by the Hume and Hovell Monument only had Chris Berry and Nadine Moroney to catch.
Chris Berry was caught at the first rail bridge but Nadine Moroney provided more resistance only being caught at the summit of the Cullerin Range. By Poplar Straight Jacob Emmerton and Neils Laugusen had shaken off Nadine and it was the young legs of Jacob that proved too strong for Neils in the final kilometre taking out line honours by 11 seconds. Nadine Moroney crossed in third place after time trialling the second half of the course into the brutal headwind.
Recovering from his earlier mechanical Wayne Bensley combined with David Carmichael to catch Chris Berry just before the Cullerin summit. The three riders combined to battle out the final 10km into the raging headwind and a couple of showers for good measure to fight out for fourth place. Chris Berry cramped up in the sprint to the finish, allowing Wayne Bensley to follow David Carmichael’s wheel and edge in front when it counted.
Next Saturday, March 25, racing is again at Breadalbane for two shorter stage races to closes out the summer program. Sign on at the church by 1.45pm with racing at 2pm. New riders welcome.
Big thanks to the volunteers: Phil B, Mrs Bush, Brian, Craig, Tony, Andrew and Jason (for the defibrillator demonstration).
Accionia Gunning Wind Farm 44km Graded Handicap at Breadalbane
- 1st, Jacob Emmerton (off 10 minutes), 1:24:06, 35km/h
- 2nd, Neils Laugusen (off 10 minutes), 1:24:17, 35km/h
- 3rd, Nadine Moroney (off 5 minutes), 1:25:25, 31km/h
- Fastest time: Jacob Emmerton