8 May 2021
Last Saturday afternoon the Albany Cycle Club staged its Ken Ingham Memorial Handicap road race along South Coast Highway to Youngs Siding and return, with a difficult finish at the top of Balston Road hill.
Another of the Club’s marquee events, this race has been staged for many years and is named in honour of Squadron Leader Kenneth Ingham, a World War II pilot who was lost whilst on an anti submarine patrol off the coast of Ceylon in 1944.
13 riders fronted the starter on the top of Balston Road in 4 groups, off 27, 18, 6 minutes and scratch, and headed west into a moderate headwind and a tyre shreddingly rough resurfaced South Coast Highway.
By 5 kilometres from the turn at Youngs Siding the 18 minute group of John Manson, Liz Cooper and Paul Terry had caught the front markers Lucy Wellstead and Shirley Thurston, who were then able to sit behind until the pace became too relentless.
Meanwhile behind them the 6 minute “chopping block” group of Brent Schoof, Mike Gardiner, Matt Bascombe, Jim Watmore and David Beckwith worked well in rotation into the solid headwind to try and keep the scratch markers Riley Heslop, Brett Dal Pozzo and Beau Le Fort at bay for as long as possible.
The catch was made just before the turn to Youngs Siding and the race for home was a matter of being smart to survive for the weaker riders, whilst the strong had to catch the front markers.
Beau Le Fort launched an attack on the long southbound stretch of the Lower Denmark Road after Youngs and managed to get a 100 metre break on the group but he cooked himself somewhat in doing so and strong riding from Brett Dal Pozzo and Riley Heslop reeled him in and, in the process, dropped the rest of the group.
The 3 scratch riders caught the front runners by Rutherford Road, with only John Manson, who had dropped his group earlier in a very strong display, in their sights. After being passed by scratch, Manson managed to stay out on his own until the final turn onto Roundhay when he was passed by the remnants of the Chopping Block group, Schoof, Gardiner and Bascombe.
Brett Dal Pozzo continued his strong ride at the front, dropping Le Fort and leading Heslop up to the Balston Road climb where young legs prevailed in the sprint by 12 seconds for a great win in the time of 1 hour 44 minutes and 11 seconds at an average speed of 39.3 kilometres per hour, the fastest time of the day.
The gallant Le Fort, who earlier had engineered the result with his attack, was a further 96 seconds back in 1.45.37, followed by Schoof (1.46.51) and Gardiner (1.46.52). Big man Matt Bascombe deserves a mention on a course not ideally suited to his size with a great time of 1.48.02.
New club member John Manson rode very strongly to record 1.48.27. Liz Cooper continued her excellent form to be the first lady home in 1.49.58.
The next race on the calendar is the second of the Club Championship races with the Ralph Flowers Hill climb from the Bay Merchants Café, Middleton Beach to the top of Mt Clarence. The date is Saturday May 29and racing starts at 2pm.