A small field, consisting of a good mix of junior and senior riders, assembled on Saterday afternoon for racing on the Tua Marina circuit in the 5th race of the Winter Series organised by Cuddon Cycling Marlborough.
Due to the low numbers and sleety showers the A and B grade riders were combined and the race distance reduced to 44km, or 4 laps of the 11km long circuit along Pembers, Hunters and Blind Creek roads with the start and finish along Neal road. Strong side winds on the stretch towards Tua Marina forced the riders into echelon forms, testing their technical riding skills. Coming along the finishing straight at the end of the first lap the tailwind pushed speeds up, with riders dropping of in ones and two’s under pressure from a powerful Nick Batt, assisted by Gerard van Antwerpen and junior Sam Morgan This left a leading group of 5 at the start of the second lap, with the others spread out behind; they eventually formed a chase group but the leaders, working together well, were out of reach.
Going into the final lap a tiring Andrew Bidwell had to let go of the front riders, and a bit further along Van Antwerpen put in some attacks, dropping Mike Murphy, leaving Batt, Morgan and himself to fight for the victory. Morgan, riding strongly, sensed a change for the win and tactically let Batt do the work coming up towards the finish line, but Van Antwerpen was still there as well and he proved too strong in the final dash across the line. Batt managed to hold on for second closely behind, while Morgan had to settle for third.
The C-grade rode 33km, over 3 laps of the circuit, the small bunch of 5 riders braved the elements together, staying in one group for almost the whole race. Near the finish Adam Bidwell outfoxed his fellow riders to win ahead of Dave Hutchinson and Merrick Thompson.
This weekend racing is around the long Lower Wairau circuit, assembly at the Van Antwerpen residence, 137 Vickerman street for the Van Antwerpen (Seniors) and Junior Amtman and Sincock trophies.
Results: Combined A+B grade, 44km: 1 Gerard van Antwerpen (68m20s); 2 Nick Batt (68m20s); 3 Sam Morgan (68m20s); 4 Mike Murphy (69m13s); 5 Andrew Bidwell (72m04s); 6 Dylan Hodson (76m06s); 7 Graeme Mitchell (76m06s); Callum Caughey (DNF); Niels van Antwerpen (DNF); Sam Spencer (DNF);
C Grade , 33km: 1 Adam Bidwell (60m19s); 2 Dave Hutchison (60m20s); 3 Merrick Thompson (60m20s); 4 Ben Verhoef (60m22s); Stacey Mitchell (DNF);