Long road to the top

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Long road to the top

Two decades of perseverance has paid off for a popular South Australia cyclist, with Tim Decker finally winning Mount Gambier’s 100 Mile Classic on Saturday.

In a sprint finish, Decker was the popular winner of the 87th running of the Classic.

It was Decker’s 20th appearance at the race that he is so passionate about and the coach of Australia’s elite endurance track riders finally managed to stand atop the podium as the victor.

Since his first 100 Mile race in 1992, Decker had finished as the fastest rider, second in a photo finish, third and fourth, but never won – until now.

In his acceptance speech at the presentations, Decker spoke of the passion he has for this race.

The pace was high from the beginning of the handicap race, with five groups of the 96 starting riders being sent away with up to a 54 minute advantage over the last group.

The first bunch of finishers came from the group that started in the middle, 19 minutes before the fast men and 35 minutes after the first riders had left, with local young rider Jamison Buckley holding on to the train as it came past to finish in the bunch as the first local rider.

The fastest riders ended up just on 80 seconds behind, with Ryan Schilt winning the sprint to the line to take out fastest time honours.

The top three riders were Tim Decker, Jameson Key and Nick Underwood, with Buckley fifth as the first local, with Scott Waters 23rd, Tim Koopman 28th, Stephen Jones 37th and Craig Andrae 66th rounding out the local contingent.

For the sixth time, the Mount Gambier Cycling Club added a women’s race to the 100 Mile weekend, with generous sponsorship from Pristine Skin & Laser Clinic, GT Bobcat and Fennell Forestry ensuring equal prize money for the victor of both the men’s and women’s races.

Fourteen women signed up for the race with a group of five starting 22 minutes ahead of nine chasing riders.

Following essentially the same route as the men until the men’s added loop down towards Allendale East, both groups worked really well together.

The front group was able to stay away all the way to the finish, and Under 19 rider Leani Van der Berg won the sprint finish over fellow young rider Madeleine Wasserbaech and Ava Wilson.

Ash Ankudinoff won the sprint of the fastest riders, six minutes and 19 seconds after the race had been won, earning fastest time honours.

Former local rider now living in Adelaide, Sarah Dally, finished fourth.

The junior riders began the day’s racing with varying numbers of loops around an 8.8km lumpy loop around Moorak, Orchard Road and Grant Avenue.

Each age group started together, rather than in previous years when the race was also a handicap.

In Under 17 Male, after five laps of the course (44km), it was William Brown awarded the victory, followed by Liam Underwood and Alec Guglielmucci in a sprint finish.

In Under 17 Female Sophia Bakker won over Hayley Gill.

In Under 15 Male, raced over four laps (35.2km), all five racers finished very closely together, with Jett Petz the clear victor just three seconds ahead of Ryan Underwood and Xavier Farmilo who had to be separated in a photo finish.

In Under 15 Female Freya Miller won over Molly Opperman.

In Under 13, raced over one lap, Jack Pentland won the race ahead of Joel Gooley and Austen Decker.

In Under 11 Elliott Winter may have been the only racer, but he rode hard to be the deserving victor.

Sunday State Kermesse Championships

The Mount Gambier Cycling Club hosted the SA Kermesse Championships on Sunday with riders tackling laps of the 3.2km loop around the picturesque Blue Lake.

The junior riders were first to tackle the course with Elliott Winter again riding strongly to earn his gold medal in U11 Boys and Jack Pentland winning the gold medal in U13 Boys, ahead of Joel Gooley and Austen Decker.

In Under 15s both the male and female riders started racing together, though for different medals.

Freya Miller underlined her class by riding with the leading male riders until the last lap, duly receiving the gold medal for her performance ahead of Molly Opperman.

Ryan Underwood won the sprint to the line in U15 males, just ahead of Thomas Brinkley and Jett Petz.

In Under 17s the female riders rode together, with Hayley Gill timing her lunge to the line to take the gold medal ahead of Sophia Bakker.

The males’ race was also close with the sprint down the hill to the finish line the deciding factor for the medals.

William Brown was in the right spot on the line to receive the gold medal, followed by Liam Underwood and Alasdair Norris.

A number of support categories were next to race around the Blue Lake, allowing some of the riders who had been part of the handicap the day before another opportunity to race.

In D Grade David Mann beat his brother and coach of the Limestone Coast Track Cycling Academy Rob Mann and Oliver Sierp.

In C Grade Alex Magarey and Stephen Kilpatrick rode off early from their other riders, with Alex finishing ahead of Stephen, and Marcus Hofer winning the sprint for third place.

In B Grade Ryan Johnson won ahead of Daniel van der Laan and Matthew Tuck.

Just as the women were about to begin their championship race, the heavens opened making the road slippery for the riders.

Unfortunately Summer Nordmeyer succumbed to the slippery surface and had to abandon the race.

Of the other riders, Sophie Edwards rode strongly up the back of the lake on the last lap and held off the chasing riders to take the championship victory, ahead of Hannah Bayard and Ash Ankudinoff.

Of note was the sight of Ava Wilson running to the line beside her bike after unfortunately getting a flat tyre on her last lap.

Even though the race was over for her, she worked hard to finish the race.

With the completion of the women’s race the final race of the day was to be the men’s championship.

Tynan Shannon, Conor Doyle and Lucas Hoffman broke away from the other 18 starters in the first lap, managing to stay away for the ensuing intermediate sprints.

They enjoyed an advantage of up to 40 seconds and worked hard to keep in front while the group behind tried hard to close the gap.

After the allotted 75 minutes had elapsed the riders had two laps to try and close the gap, but were unable to do so, with Tynan Shannon duly taking the championship win in a sprint ahead of Connor Doyle and Lucas Hoffman.

Thanks to She’s Apples, MGA Insurance Brokers, Native Plant Wholesalers and ASW Lawyers for sponsoring the events along with significant support from Mount Gambier City Council.

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