Ideal autumn conditions with blue skies and a zephyr of a breeze greeted the riders for the 42km Fred McClelland Handicap on Middle Arm Road.
Starting out from the cemetery, riders faced the steady climb to the fire shed, followed by a short descent to the Wooroondooroonbidgee Creek and another steady climb to Mt Pedlar. A long fast decent to Melamalong Creek and the turnaround point at the Middle Arm Hall.
Peter Jackson and Wayne Skillman started off limit but it wasn't long before Peter had to abandon the race with a mechanical leaving Wayne to time trial the course.
Keith Foley Chell, Chris Berry and Tony O'Connor (Vikings) followed nine minutes 30 seconds later and quickly settled into a pace line.
Shannon Apps, Nadine Moroney and Boris Svrznjak (Coffs Harbour) formed the 14 minutes and 30 seconds group.
Phil Champion, Glen Apps, Wayne Bensley and Gavin Moroney were in the 17 minute and 30 second group but disaster struck Glen on the start line with a puncture leaving him with no option but to withdraw.
The scratch riders, Robbie Dorsett and Jeremy Gilchrist needed to make up 20 minutes and 30 seconds on the limit riders.
Keith Foley Chell, Chris Berry and Tony O'Connor were making steady progress until Chris Berry came unhitched on the climb to Mt Pedlar. Keith and Tony pushed on and as they approached Melamalong Creek Wayne Skillman was already through the turnaround and climbing back up Mr Pedlar.
The riders made their way through the turnaround virtually in the order they started but the attacks started on the return climb of Mt Pedlar.
All the chasing rides caught Chris Berry who was clearly in a world of pain on the climb.
Wayne Bensley managed to jump on the back of the scratch group while Phil Champion and Gavin Moroney started to fade. The scratch rides continued to apply the pressure rounding up most of the groups. Wayne lost contact as Jeremy Gilchrist and Robbie Dorsett approached the Mt Pedlar summit. Shannon Apps, Nadine Moroney and Boris Svrznjak maintained a steady pace to the summit and were never too far out of sight.
As the chasers crested the summit Wayne Skillman still maintained a handy lead with Tony O'Connor and Keith Foley Chell in hot pursuit. Wayne dug deep on the climb back to the fire shed and increase his advantage on the fast decent.
With 10kms to go Robbie Dorsett and Jeremy Gilchrist caught Tony O'Connor and Keith Foley Chell. Tony, who recently rode from Canberra to Queensland, managed to stay with the scratch riders enjoying a tow back to the finish.
But it was Wayne Skillman who started on limit and stayed away the whole race who enjoyed a comfortable win. Regular racing is paying dividends for the veteran.
Robbie Dorsett and Jeremy Gilchrist raced hard and fast from the start but had to be satisfied with second and third place while Tony O'Connor rolled in for fourth.
Robbie Dorsett took out fastest time and Shannon Apps was the first lady to cross the finish line.
No racing next Saturday due to the Easter weekend.
Results: Fred McClelland 42km Handicap, Middle Arm Road
- First: Wayne Skillman 1:22:45 30.5km/hr
- Second: Robbie Dorsett 1:25:11 39.0km/hr
- Third: Jeremy Gilchrist 1:25:13 39.0km/hr
First Lady to Finish: Shannon Apps (34.1 km/hr)
Fastest Time: Robbie Dorsett (1:04:41)
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