2016 – Memorial secret handicap
Slightly windy conditions greeted 32 riders on Saturday afternoon at Dog Trap Rd to compete for the ACT Vets Memorial Handicap. Being a secret handicap all riders began at the start not knowing how much time they were given so the etiquette of this race were for the higher grades to clear out as quickly as possible and build up a lead whilst the lower grades would try to get onto a good wheel and maintain it for as long as possible.
31 riders kicked off proceedings in a mass start with Des Brown unfortunately not able to start the race due to his mechanical team failing to do their job on a tube. Needless to say he was more than welcome as a marshal for the rest of the race. After the first checkpoint a group of 4 riders had already cleared off the front and had built up a 1 min lead over a chase group of 5. However the chase group over the latter stages of the 1st lap had organized itself and after the first lap had kept the front runners to only a lead of 1m 26 secs. However back down the road as riders crossed the line for the 1st lap our “man in the van” Graham Hendrie was busily calculating who was in for the title based on their time gaps and it was extremely close amongst several riders.
3 A graders managed to provide an exciting sprint finish to determine who would be crowned fastest rider for the day with Mark Harris taking line honours. But the real race is the secret handicap and as riders from the lower grades came across the line, 1st place after applying the handicap was a moving target. Nick Boylan was leading right up until Paul Robey came into the view and put in a determined finish to take out the win. Nick retained 2nd with Tony Weir rounding out 3rd place.
Finally we cannot run these races without the generous support of volunteers from the club who put their hand up. Des Brown who was a late but welcome helper at the finish line, Bruce Jones who manned the turn point at the far end in what was very cold winds, Mark Taylor who drove the lead car with his chirpy 96 year old dad in the passenger seat, Kevin Hennessy who turned up with the all-important bling and drove the trail car, Graham Hendrie for always running things smoothly in the van and Stjepan Hirsler for putting his hand up early in the week and manning the short turn point.
As the weather warms up, we hope to see more riders come out of their winter hibernation (yours included!) and start to race. Next weekend is Hot Dog racing at Dairy Flat. Easy to get to, no hills and exciting racing for all involved. Hope to see you there.