Idyllic conditions greeted a large field of riders for Cycling Southland’s Memorial Handicap Road Races on Saturday.
Over 100 riders lined up for Junior and Senior road races covering distances up to 102 kilometres through Gorge Road, Waimahaka and Seaward Downs.
Kieran Caldwell took overall honours, completing his journey in a shade over three hours to claim first place from Rikki Griffin who crossed second and John Kissell who placed third.
Caldwell’s club racing season has been dogged by mechanical difficulties but he showed his strength on Saturday working with Griffin over the mid-stages of the race to successfully break free and ultimately ride away to a comfortable win with a strong solo effort over the final 20 kilometres to claim the Murray McLeay Trophy.
It was not a day for the Scratch riders, the perfect conditions making it difficult for them to eat into the handicap to the front markers, but Shane Melrose who was part of a strong Otago contingent, took fastest time honours, outsprinting Dillon Bennett and Mark Spessot to the line to etch his name on the LK Wilson trophy with a time of 2 hours 34 minutes and 13 seconds.
In the Junior Division event Kate Dunlevy’s powerful sprint finish saw her claim the Curtis Lee Dunn Memorial from Jen Muhl and Georgia Timpany. This strong group combined well to hold of the fast finishing scratch bunch by 45 seconds. Liam Aitchison took fastest time honours. The Junior Division Two race was won by Hamish Beadle, who also claimed the fastest time, from Laura Heywood and Georgia Vessey. Laura Copeland rode hard and was unlucky not to hold on for a victory, being gobbled up by the chasing bunch over the final 600 metres.
The day was also notable with representations from the McLeay and Hewitt families who were on hand to present the trophies named in their family members’ memory. Simon McLeay travelled from Auckland to ride the race, finishing a very creditable 23rd overall
Cycling Southland Chief Executive Nick Jeffrey was honoured to have the families present. “This weekend is one of the most important in our Club year. It gives us a chance to recognize all of those who have given so much to our Club and to our sport in years past and to remember their contribution in the most fitting way, with good hard racing,” he said.
The Otago Southland rivalry is set to continue this weekend as Cycling Southland hosts the South Island Teams Time Trial Championships on Saturday. Southland keen to win back the title it lost on Otago soil twelve months ago.
For full results from Saturday’s Memorial Racing see the results section (if these can be posted there or in the article that would be outstanding)
Cycling Southland Senior 100km Memorial Handicap
1st Kieran Caldwell (3hr 01 min 55 sec)
2nd Rikki Griffin
3rd John Kissell
4th Emma Sutherland
5th Colin Horton
6th Mike Matheson
7th Shirlene Rollo
8th Marcus White
9th Sam Kopae
10th Amy Marshall
1st Shane Melrose (2 hr 34 min 13 sec)
2nd Dillon Bennett
3rd Mark Spessot
1st Beth Hamilton (2 hr 53 min 01sec)
2nd Sequoia Cooper
3rd Gabby Vermunt
Martin Verbeek Trophy (Division 3)
Bunty Hewitt Trophy (Division 2)
Murray McLeay Trophy (Overall Winner)
Junior Memorial Handicap
1st Kate Dunlevy
2nd Jennifer Muhl
3rd Georgia Timpany
1st Liam Aitchison
1st Hamish Beadle
2nd Laura Heywood
3rd Georgia Vessey
1st Hamish Beadle
Curtis Lee Dunn Memorial Trophy