It was a lovely sunny winters day with only light winds that greeted a large field of 64 riders for Saturday's event.
The mass start format seems to have captured a very good buy-in from the club's road racing members. The junior and social members enjoy the challenge of starting in such a large group and riding with ‘A’ grade riders. Thanks to the senior riders for keeping the neutral part of the ride in check with the bunch staying together for the first 24kms of the race with a 28kphr limit imposed.
During these mass starts this is the time for the club's senior riders to organise pace lines and rotate, allowing all of the bunch to experience drafting and the skills needed for riding in a large group.
After the group had completed the neutral section of the event the race started in earnest with the speed increasing, but the group mostly stayed together until they turned for home from Lochiel and the pace suddenly shot up and splits started to appear.
A few A grade riders drove the front trying to dislodge others from the back, some fell away as the speeds increased to over 50kms, but some of the B grade riders clung to the back of the bunch and sheltered to try to survive back to the Makarewa start-finish line. To their credit, many did with Sam Kopae remaining with them and being the first woman to finish.
There was a large group finish of about 20 riders with Brendan Akeroyd winning the sprint from Mitchel Fitzsimons and Josh Miller.
Three other groups followed behind naturally forming grades. Each group reported good and fast racing within their groups.
The juniors and social riders who are now being called D and E grades, rode a shorter course and finished together, enjoying their day and the racing. D grade was won by Ronan Shearing followed by Reuben Heslip and Marshall Erwood. The E grade was won by Jack McLeod and Donald Heslip won the draw for the social riders.
The lower grades supported the prize giving with the $25 spot prize going to Red Burnett.
Report courtesy Race Manager Marty Lohrey