It was another good Goulburn Cycle Club turnout for the December 13, Acciona Gunning Wind Farm Handicap.
Starting in the Breadalbane village riders headed out toward Gunning and the steady hillclimb to the rail bridge at the top of the Cullerin Range before the turnaround and fast run back to the finish line.
Hot conditions and a strong headwind to the turnaround tested the stamina of all the riders.
In form rider Fiona Berry set off on limit with Steve Watts. By Muttmuttbilly Creek Steve Watts, still easing his way back into racing, found the pace set by Fiona Berry too much and started to lose contact.
The ‘super group’ comprising of Ted Goad, Peter Jackson, Dennis Carroll and Joe Stephens were the first to set chase needing to make up 5 minutes. Ted and Peter struggled in the conditions and started to fade going up the Cullerin Range. Dennis and Joe were left to power on in pursuit of the leaders.
Nadine Moroney, Wayne Bensley and Chris Berry set off on 9 minutes 30 seconds and soon had their pace line organised. Wayne lost contact early and seemed to be struggling for a little fitness at the moment. A couple more races and Wayne will be back amongst the leaders.
Despite battling the head wind on her own Fiona Berry made it to the turnaround ahead of the chasers but Dennis Carroll and Joe Stephens were working hard to close the gap. On the return climb back to the rail bridge Fiona started to open a gap over Dennis and Joe as both struggled with the gradient.
Colonel Keith Foley Chell leading Gav Moroney, Gary Sheehy and Mark Stutchbury hatched a plan to catch Nadine’s group and based on strength in numbers would over power the front runners before the turn around. Chris Berry and Nadine Moroney made it through the turn before the catch and while Chris made every effort to hold a wheel back to the rail bridge Nadine proved too strong and broke away on her own.
The Colonel’s group manage to catch Chris just before the rail bridge and powered past with the mission to catch the front runners and stay away from the chasers.
Michael Beard and Jaemin Frazer rode in block on 13 minutes 30 seconds while Jacob Emmerton and Cameron Roberts were the scratch rider needing to make up 15 minutes on the limit riders. The scratch group caught block before the turn and combine to ring in the front runners. As they passed Chris Berry on the straight approaching Lerida North Road Cameron Roberts broke away in one last effort to overhaul the leaders.
Cameron carved his way through the field and by Old South Road had combined with Dennis Carroll and Gavin Moroney and had Fiona Berry in his sights.
Unaware of what was happening behind her, Fiona maintained her consistent pace and simple cruised to victory back in the Breadalbane village. Fiona is in red hot form at the moment with five wins out of six races.
The race for second turned out to be a three up sprint. Gavin Moroney aware that Cameron Roberts would be a little fatigued from his big chase positioned himself for the final assault. New rider Dennis Carroll knew the others were stronger and more experienced riders and was simply trying to hang on and stay out of trouble. Gavin waited for the last possible second before opening up the afterburners giving Cameron no chance to respond – Gavin second, Cameron third and Dennis fourth. Cameron was rewarded for his effort by taking out the fastest time.
Big thank you to the volunteers from the ever reliable timekeeper Mrs Bush, Chief Commissaire Phil Bush, traffic controllers Bluey Emmerton and Craig St Vincent, David Carmichael and Jim Hoskins in the lead/follow cars.
Next Wednesday racing is on Range Road for the Greengrocer Cyclery & Café Individual Time Trial. Sign on by 6pm at the corner of Chinamans Lane and racing starts at 6.30pm. New riders welcome.
Acciona Gunning Wind Farm Handicap, Breadalbane 23kms
- 1st Fiona Berry (off 0:00) 47:41 28.9km/hr
- 2nd Gavin Moroney (off 12:00) 48:43 37.6km/hr
- 3rd Cameron Roberts (off 15:00) 48:44 40.9km/hr
- Fastest Time: Cameron Roberts 33:44 40.9km/hr