Last weekend’s road cycling event was staged on the Hawksebury circuit on the Saturday afternoon, with the riders of Cuddon Cycling Marlborough competing in the 6th race of the Winter Series for the David Duff Memorial (Seniors) and Newport (Under 17 Juniors) Trophies.
The relatively mild and sunny conditions saw a good turnout for the prestigious race, held for over 25 years on the Fairhall / Hawksebury circuit with the start and finish at the Fairhall Hall. The mass start sealed handicap format makes for some different dynamics than the more usual handicapped start often used in the other club races.
The assembled field got underway with a fair speed right from the start, and the increasing side wind coming across the road just a couple of km’s into the race gave the stronger riders an opportunity to split up the field early on.
With the sealed handicap in mind it was Gerard van Antwerpen who lifted the pace, taking Craig Harper with him. Luc Cowley saw the danger and jumped across to the 2 leaders just in time, this trio then established a good lead with the gap after 10km already 1minute 30 seconds to a chasing group of four: Glen Herkt, Dylan Hodson, Leitham Landon-Lane and Mike Murphy. Behind these a third group had formed out of the remnants of the split up main bunch, with only a few riders left behind to fend on their own.
The leaders kept on working well together and steadily built on their advantage during the remaining 3 laps of the circuit, while the chasers were thinned out to just 2 with Herkt and Landon-Lane finding the pace too hot and having to drop back to the third bunch.
At the front the leaders started to look for victory in the last few km’s, with Harper trying on several occasions to break away on his own. Knowing Harpers staying power the other 2 kept him on a tight leash, and with about 1km to go Cowley attacked strongly from behind, getting a small margin over Van Antwerpen, with Harper dropping of. Van Antwerpen managed to get back on and then launched his sprint for the win at the 500m to go mark, leaving Cowley behind for 2nd place.
About 4 minutes back it was Hodson who dropped Murphy in the sprint to the line, for 4th and 5th placings. Herkt, by then recovered from working in the chase group, got the better of Graham Mitchell for 6th palace as the 3rd group of 6 riders came in.
This group also contained Merrick Thompson who got the sealed handicap win of the 10min mark, with a margin of 1 min. over Hodson and 2 min over Mitchell, both on a 8min handicap. 4th place went to Landon-Lane (on 8m) another minute back and scratch rider Van Antwerpen got 5th.
The 33km junior race and Newport Trophy over 2 laps of the circuit, was won by Katie Batt; she was the sole contender and actually started with the senior riders. Riding strongly managing to stay with the third bunch of them for 2 laps she then carried on solo to finish in a good time of 1h2m26sec.
This coming weekend the cycling club is holding the annual Secondary School 2 Day Tour with over 200 riders expected in the various age groups, around the Ben Morven (Saturday) and Taylor Pass / Go-Kart track (Sunday) areas.
Seniors: 56km Fastest time and David Duff Memorial Trophy: 1. Gerard van Antwerpen 1hr27m05s; 2. Luc Cowley 1hr27m08s; 3. C Harper 1hr27m20s; 4. D Hodson 1hr31m22s; 5. M Murphy 1hr31m27s; 6. G Herkt 1hr32m20s; 7. G Mitchell 1hr32m21s; 8. M Fletcher 1hr32m22s; 9. M Thompson 1hr32m23s; 10. G Barthelet 1hr32m24s; 11. L Landon-Lane 1hr32m25s; 12. N Blakiston 1hr46m42s; 13. D Hutchison 1hr45m45s; 14. G Henderson 1hr45m45s; 15. I Martella 1hr 51m41s
Sealed Handicap: 1. M Thompson (10m) 1hr22m23s; 2. D Hodson (8m) 1hr23m22s; 3. G Mitchell (8m) 1hr24m21s; 4. L Landon-Lane (8m) 1hr24m25s; 5. G van Antwerpen (scr) 1hr27m05s; 6. L Cowley (scr) 1hr27m08s; 7. C Harper (scr) 1hr27m20s; 8. G Herkt (4m) 1hr28m20s; 9. M Fletcher (4m) 1hr28m22s; 10. M Murphy (2m) 1hr29m27s; 11. G Henderson (15m) 1hr30m45s; 12. D Hutchison (13m) 1hr32m45s; 13. N Blakiston (6m) 1hr40m42s; 14. I Martella (10m) 1hr41m41s;
Junior U-17, 33km Newport Trophy for Fastest Time: 1 Katie Batt 1hr02m26s;
Handicap: 1. Katie Batt (scr)