The new circuit for the Cuddon Cycling Marlborough 80km Open Championship should be a good test for all riders at Fairhall tomorrow afternoon.
The open grade 80km handicap event starts and finishes at the Wither Hills Winery and covers 6 laps of the Benmorven/Cemetery circuit taking in the Ridge Resort climb on each lap. Marlborough riders will be keen to see the C Gibson Challenge Cup (winner) and the Ray Gibson Challenge Cup (fastest time) return home this year after Nelson riders have dominated in the last two years. Also at stake are Championship sashes for the fastest rider in the various grades, Senior Men, Women, Masters and Junior Under 19 Men. Marlborough riders competing who have taken time honours previously are Jamie Kidd (1995, 1996), Gerard van Antwerpen (1999), Paul Johnson (2003), and Tony Catterick (2004). Van Antwerpen and Catterick are again likely contenders this year along with Conway Taylor, Chris Heywood, Josh Scott, Paul Newman, Kevin Bishell and youngsters Jono Lee and Jamie Hawke who will all grace the scratch mark. A contingent from Nelson may also include former Marlborough rider Robin Reid who has never actually taken honours in this event mainly due to his riding commitments overseas. A string of riders have taken the handicap honours previously which include Graham Henderson (1995), Kidd (2000), Bishell (2002), Pete Halligan (2003), Catterick (2004), Martin Fletcher (2005), and Paul Johnson (2006). The Championship is also the first interclub round of the H G Hunter Memorial Shield.
The junior under 17 grade will compete over 2 laps of the circuit with Championship sashes up for the fastest Junior Woman and Junior Man. Favoured for the titles would be Elodie Jacoby and Sonia Ginders and Ethan Roach and Callum Saunders respectively.
All riders are to assemble at Wither Hills Winery at 1pm for a 1.30pm start.