Road Series 3 – Report
The seventeen riders who raced the Albany Cycle Club’s Narrikup Handicap were greeted with a rather robust North Easterly tempest which effectively meant crosswinds and echelons for the length of the 36 kilometre course.
Being a handicap race, riders were sent off at intervals according to ability. The wind, however, had an impact on the smaller groups, making it harder for them to ride as fast as the bigger groups with more riders to share the load.
Jill Bascombe and Shirley Thurston led the field away, followed by groups at 9, 16, 17 and finally, off 20 minutes, the group containing Jessica Davidson, Michael Gardiner, Ollie Post, Jackson Pitman and Nathan Brown had the hardest task of the day trying to reel in all the riders in front of them.
The Spencer Road course is an out and back, with a number of solid inclines in each direction, but oddly, the descents rely on maintaining strong pedalling to keep up to speed. The first significant ascent is at the nine kilometre mark and it was here that the first real splits in groups started to occur. In the 17 minute group, Mike Staude gapped David Beckwith after the pair had gone out very hard trying to close the one minute gap to the group ahead as quickly as possible. That strategy backfired as both then ended up riding much of the remainder of the race solo even though Staude did eventually link up with the remnants of the 16 minute group for a while at the turn around. In the nine minute group, Vince Bascombe in his first road race for the club, showed promising form to pull away from Steve Maguire as the road tilted upwards.
The 16 minute group, having fought off the initial challenge from Staude and Beckwith continued to work cohesively until the hills close to the turn around forced splits and Porongurups winner, Paul Gibson, and then Paul McMurtrie both went out the back. The remaining four riders, Matt Bascombe, Ryan McLaren, Ben Murphy and Jimmy Watmore worked together, chasing down the leading riders, until the final sprint to the line
In the 20 minute group, the pace was also on with Davison pulling big turns and putting her counterparts under pressure. This pressure eventually claimed Brown and then Pitman, and eventually Davison herself, leaving Gardiner and Post to push on with the task of mopping up the rest of the field.
As riders approached the turn they were able to see the groups in front and assess their chances for the win. On seeing Vince Bascombe riding solidly chasing his mum, Jill, and Shirley Thurston, it was clear that he was going to be very hard to catch and so it turned out to be. Bascombe junior crossed the line a minute clear of Thurston and third place was taken by Ben Murphy in a four up sprint. Matt Bascombe in a close fourth, also surrendered bragging rights to son, Vince.
Fastest time on the day was Ollie Post in 1.05.29. Jessica Davison was the fastest female in 1.06.42.
The next race is the Syd Harper Handicap on the 25th June at 2pm. The race starts and finishes on Frenchman Bay Road.
Thanks to the volunteers who looked after signs, timekeeping and registrations. Your efforts are always appreciated by the riders.