No less than 28 riders made themselves available for the 25km Mount Gambier Cycling Club Senior race along Caves Road on Sunday. The weather was glorious with a light Southerly breeze creating a nice tailwind home to the finish line.
Greeting the starter first was Jason Buckland, who was given a seven minute head start on the rest of the riders as he prepared to time trial all the way to the finish line. Next to leave was a group of five riders containing Chris O’Donnell and Mark Brooksby in a welcome return to racing, as well as Jen Buckland, Pru Riddoch and Shane Fiegert.
Finally, 21 minutes after Jason Buckland had left the start line, the scratch bunch containing Nick Kidman, Dave Bryant, Rob Mann and Matthew Opperman were allowed to begin their chase. With the headwind leading out to the turnaround point, some riders found it difficult to hold on to the bunch they began with and once they were out of the draft a long, lonely ride to the finish line awaited.
By the halfway mark, Jason Buckland was still leading, but could not hold on for long as the pace picked up on the road to the finish line. Apart from individual riders who had been dropped, each of the remaining groups were working well together, closing in on the bunches ahead.
By the finish line the first three groups had joined together to form a bunch sprint. Matt Fiegert was the first to begin the sprint down the final hill, but ended up being swamped by the group behind. Mark Brooksby (54.08) emerged victorious, followed by Riley Hill and Spek Peake to round out the podium.
Also in that leading group were Bruce McLaughlin, Harry Opperman, Pru Riddoch, Mark Wight, John Cranwell and Matt Fiegert. After crossing the line in 17th position, Nick Kidman won the sprint for fastest time honours (35.21).
Fastest female Pru Riddoch received a red rose for her efforts on Valentine’s Day, while Brooksby was awarded chocolates for his victory. Five racers lined up at the start line for the 10km Junior race. Eddie Buckland was first to begin, followed four minutes later by Molly Opperman and Freya Miller, while Jami Buckley and Elmer Buckland were the last to leave.
By the halfway mark, Eddie Buckland remained out in front with Molly Opperman beginning to draw away from Miller. Molly Opperman caught up to Eddie Buckland with the finish line in sight and continued on to victory. Miller sprinted hard to pip Eddie Buckland just before the line followed by fastest-time rider Buckley and Elmer Buckland.
The next race in the club’s Summer Series is set down as a graded handicap time based race at Mac Park beginning from 9.30am. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has been the winner of some Criterium and Track Racing events recently.
However, MGCC has teamed up with the Mount Gambier Motor Cycle Club to hold criterium events at McNamara Park on Thursday nights from 6.30pm over the next three weeks. If anyone was thinking about taking up the four week Come and Try race licence option from AusCycling, this would provide a great opportunity to ride on a closed track.
There is also regular track racing at the Velodrome on Friday nights from 6pm.