It was a cool day on Saturday after some heavy rain in the morning that saw 33 riders sign on for the 64 km, 2 lap handicap race around the Woodlands circuit.
With a firm N/W wind blowing 5 groups made up the field and the limit mark bunch of 6 riders headed off. They were followed 4 mins later by the 2nd limit bunch of 9 riders. The mid mark bunch of 8 riders started their chase 3 minutes later in their endeavour to catch the front markers 7 minutes in front of them and hold off the 6 break riders who would start 4 minutes behind them and the 4 scratch riders a further 5 minutes back, with that group giving away 16 minutes to the front. (got all that!!).
The first two bunches had combined by the end of the first lap, as had break and scratch with the mid mark bunch in between and making strong inroads to the combined front bunch advantage. Matt Zenovich was riding strongly with long pulls on the front assisted by Josh Haggerty. Josh Burnett showed he was reaching top condition with his trip to Switzerland where he will represent NZ at the Junior Mountain Bike Championships giving a strong performance in the break bunch. The mid mark bunch were working well together as rain started to fall again and hit the front midway down the back on the Rimu – Seaward Downs Road. As they turned onto the Morton Mains – Dacre road they dispatched a few of their own and previously captured riders with Aaron Sinclair and Jake Willis from 2nd limit being able to hold them. At this point they held a gap of 3.35 minutes over the chasing Zenovich group. Heading for home Red Burnett put in a strong attack on the hill after Blue Sky Meats and held a 100m to 200m gap advantage to the rest of his fragmented bunch. He was eventually caught about 2.5 Kms out from determined riding from Keast (Steve), Marsh, Rhodes, Sinclair (Aaron), Strong, Willis and Jamie Wilson. When caught Burnett drifted to the back, rested up a little, caught his breath then attacked again about a kilometre out to take the well deserved win in 1. 41.32. Matt Zenovich sprinted the scratch bunch in 1min 40 sec later to rightfully claim fastest time in 1.35 12.
The race presentation was held in the school shed shelter after the riders had dried off and changed into warm clothes. Thanks to Robin Criglinton, Lindsay Jones, Shane Gough and Brook Armishaw and Ken Burns for their assistance. The full results were:
1st. Alister Burnett 1.41.32
2nd. Aaron Sinclair
3rd. Steve Rhodes
4th. Jamie Wilson
5th. Gene Marsh
Fastest time. Matt Zenovich. 1.35 12.
Ray Robinson. Race Manager.