Date: Saturday, 28 April 2012
Posted by: Cycling Southland

The weather was looking a little ominous on Saturday morning, but right on cue, the Catlins turned on a pearler and we set the front markers of the 66km Niagara Falls Café Handicap race off into the sunshine and calm and relatively balmy temperatures.  With 25 minutes from this limit bunch to the scratch bunch, and good strong marks throughout the entire field, it was all on for young and old!

The crew from Central Otago set the pace from the start, Tom Vessey and Liam Aitcheson leaving their scratch compatriots behind on the first climb, picking up Derek Tan on the way and annihilating the rest of the field as they worked their way through to the front, catching the front markers with about 15kms to go and forging onwards, with Vessey eventually riding away to finish on his own to take the win in 1 hour 40mins, with Aitcheson in 2nd a minute and a half back, and Tan 2 minutes back from Aitcheson to take out 3rd, the rest of the field 5 minutes further back with Lee Moreton taking out 4th from Paddy Daly and Sophie Williamson.

The challenging course wasn’t any easier this year and everyone who competed definitely earned the phenomenal afternoon tea dished up by the café on the completion of the race! 

The hilly parcours completed a solid summer build-up for those competing at Club Road Nationals in Napier from the 3 – 6 May.  There is a 19 strong Southland team competing – outstanding!

Race volunteers have never been so well cared for at a race thanks to Jimmy, Laura and Sue (Niagara Falls Café) supplying muffins and coffee.  Happy days all round!  THANKS GUYS

An ENORMOUS thank you to everyone who helped out on the day with marshalling duties, race registration (Robin – the legend as always), handicapping and the race finish.  Much appreciated guys.

It really was a super treat to finish up the race and gather in the tranquil surrounds of the Niagara Falls Café for an awesome afternoon tea and prizegiving.  Thanks so much guys!

And this, ladies and gentlemen, completes the last of our Summer Road Races.  We now have a six-week break until our Winter Road Programme kicks off at the end of June.  In the meantime, join us at the Cycling Southland Prizegiving and Dinner on May 17 to celebrate a phenomenal year for Southland Road and Track racing – on a local level, a national level and an international level.

Before I sign off, I would like to thank all those people who have helped out with racing this year – We couldn’t have done it without you!!!  A particular thank you to all those who help out week in-week out – Robin Criglington … we love you Crigs, you legend! Alan Strong who has been the Junior Road Convenor for the past year, Lindsay Jones – our trusty STMS, as well as Matt Sillars at Sport Southland, Dave Beadle – who in general does a power of work for the club – and I would also like to pay special mention to Waine Harding – who really is a real-life Rockstar.  Thank you Waino.

Niagara Falls Café 66km Handicap Results
1 Tom Vessey
2 Liam Aitcheson
3 Derek Tan
4 Lee Moreton
5 Paddy Daly
6 Sophie Williamson

Niagara Falls Café Fastest Time: Tom Vessey
Niagara Falls Café Fastest Woman:  Sophie Williamson

- Dale Tye


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