Riders crank toward final race of season

Another large number of riders signed on for the penultimate race in the Mount Gambier Cycling Club’s Summer Series. With seven riders joining from Hamilton, the 21 starters were placed into three large groups for the 30km handicap race.

First to leave was Jason Buckland, with Jen Buckland, Pam Menzel, Jacki Barnett and Shane Kennett. The second group to leave, 12 minutes later, contained Spek Peake, John Cranwell, Bruce McLaughlin, Phil Stasiw, Dean Zeven, John De Pree, Mike Bakker, Jami Buckley, Harry Opperman, Rhyan Menzel, Dean Menzel and Colin Weatherill.

They were given a two-minute head start on the final group of Chris Kennett, Matthew Opperman, Rohan Garfoot and Nick Kidman. The pace was on from the outset of the race, with some riders finding the going tough and losing touch with their bunch within the initial 10km.

The scratch riders were scorching their way down the track, catching all of the middle group of riders by the halfway mark and on target to catch the limit group before the finish line.

At the halfway mark, it was Jen Buckland leading Barnett, Pam Menzel and Kennett with Jason Buckland between them and the next bunch led by Nick Kidman. After the turnaround, it seemed the wind picked up and was directly into the faces of the riders.

The pace was still hot from the scratch riders and they passed the limit riders with 5km still to race, while the other riders continued trying to hold on in their wake as long as possible. As the race neared the finish line, Chris Kennett sprinted ahead to take the victory with the fastest time just ahead of Kidman and Matthew Opperman with Rhyan Menzel and Dean Menzel also finishing in the bunch.

Following them were Pam Menzel and Harry Opperman, then Barnett and Jen Buckland. Weatherill won the next bunch sprint for 10th place, just ahead of Stasiw, McLaughlin, Cranwell, Dean Zeven and Kennett.

Four Junior riders greeted the starter for the 10kphandicap race last Sunday. After his victory in the previous week, Eddie Buckland was given slightly less of a head start this time around.

Molly Opperman and Freya Miller left together four minutes after Eddie, followed a further minute later by Elmer Buckland. Molly Opperman was riding strongly and pulled away from Miller, with Elmer working hard to bridge the gap to both of them.

As riders neared the finish line, it became clear that Eddie Buckland was in a rich vein of form and took victory once again. Molly Opperman managed to continue her ride into the wind, finishing second.

Elmer Buckland caught Miller just after the turnaround and they rode together to try to bridge the gap to Molly Opperman, but to no avail. In the sprint to determine the final spot on the podium, Elmer Buckland managed to edge out Miller to take third and fastest time.

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