Whilst not initially in the Mount Gambier Cycling Club Summer Series, the opportunity to ride on the Mac Park circuit was too good to pass up.
Fifteen riders took to the start line for a Criterium style race. The riders were graded according to speed and were asked to ride as a group for 25 minutes before being released for one final lap.
From the beginning it became apparent that people had interpreted that request differently and within the first lap small groups had begun to form.
Out in front was Dave Bryant, following the pattern of so many professional races and providing a carrot for the rest of the A grade riders to chase down.
Matthew Opperman (racing again following a strong showing at the Greg Gleeson Memorial race in Warrnambool the day previous), Nick Kidman, Ash Herrewyn and Rowan Kruysse duly set about the chase.
Working well together, this group caught Bryant after making him work on his own for 20 minutes. As the pace ramped up in the final minutes, Kruysse was caught out of position on one of the corners and lost contact with the group.
Coming into the final sequence of corners, it was Opperman who led out the sprint and managed to hold on over the chasing Kidman and Bryant, with Herrewyn crossing the line in fourth place. Kruysse completed the A Grade competitors.
Of the rest of the riders contesting B Grade, Phil Stasiw and Harry Opperman were working strongly at the front, followed by John Cranwell. Dave Delaland and John Du Pree found themselves closely matched and traded positions amongst themselves.
Jen Buckland kept Elmer Buckland accountable in his racing, initially keeping up with Jami Buckley before he rode away from them, whilst Jason Buckland found himself in the familiar position of tail-end charlie, kept company by Eddie Buckland.
In the end it was Stasiw who took the win in front of Opperman (who was also returning to race just a day after winning the U15/U17 race at the Greg Gleeson Memorial), with Cranwell holding on for third place. Delaland finished ahead of Du Pree, followed by Buckley and Jen Buckland, still a lap ahead of the fast finishing Jason Buckland.
A notable absentee from today’s ride was Spek Peake after putting in a big effort at the Greg Gleeson Memorial Race the day before.
Of the junior riders, Elmer Buckland finished a lap ahead of his younger brother, with usual regulars Freya Miller and Molly Opperman having a rest following their first and second placing in their age group at the Greg Gleeson Memorial the previous day.
Next week the club is hosting a Morning Tea following the Caves Road race in support of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.