A brilliantly sunny and calm day greeted the 70 riders who took part in the BNZ sponsored 72km Thornbury handicap race on Saturday.
Seven bunches were set on their way with a spread of 25 minutes from the limit bunch to scratch. Break made a strong start with hard turns being pulled by Lachlan Robertson and Central Otago rider Gary Erving, this good work meant that break caught second break before the end of the first lap (of three), break and second break then combined well to make good progress.
Starting the final lap, the 3 front bunches had combined and held a 4-minute lead over the group containing break, second break and now the mid group, with scratch a further 3 minutes back. Heading into Fairfax for the last time the race was all coming together, on the Fairfax hill, scratch caught the middle group who were just about to catch the front group, Josh Haggerty from scratch lit it up the hill and there was a mad scramble by everyone to get on the leading group, when it finally settled there was a good representation of 26 riders from all the groups, with the people who weren’t having their best day left to combine to get to the finish. Mat Zenovich then sat on the front of the large front group and had it in single file for most of the final 8km. Josh Haggerty then attacked on the bridge 1km from home, this was bought back and a large bunch kick prevailed with Hamish Keast having the best finish to win by 2 bike lengths from Hunter Gough in second, Blake Tait-Jones, Navarh Brotherston, Andrew Lienert and Lachlan Robertson.
The D grade completed 2 laps of the circuit and a strong finish saw Ronan Shearing taking a tight sprint finish from Reuben Heslip and Marshall Erwood.
E grade did one lap and this saw good rides from Ben Mulholland, Kayne Borrie and Jack McLeod.
Once again thanks to Alan Strong for standing in for me to race manage, all the marshals, Lindsay Jones for the STMS and Robin Criglington for the great job of taking the entries and sorting the prize money and to Waine Harding for the good handicapping.