The Francis line circuit never fails to bring a few challenges with it. It is a course where riders understand they will face the wind coming at them from every which way at some stage out on the road. Tonight, it was a hardy few riders – some might say fool-hardy – who turned out to attempt to deal with very chilly south-southeast wind conditions.
Traditionally this is a fast, flat circuit that favours the sprinters or riders who can hang on and then take off out the front to rapidly get up that final small lump to the finish line. As a Graded Road Race, you are only racing against the riders in your start group, so bunch tactics can also come into play and not everyone will be prepared to take equal turns on the front.
Usually in Graded Road Races there’s no love in war and cycle racing and sometimes it’s not about winning but all about beating your mates! In contrast to that idea, both A and B Graded races this evening were ridden more like a Handicapped Road Race.
In A Grade a couple of riders were dropped very soon after the first turn, but all the other riders decided to sit up and let both riders back into the bunch. Everyone was then able to roll through taking their turn on the front. In the end line honours in A-Grade went to Finn Roberts, closely followed by his Dad, who rode the whole race in his small chain ring – spin training extraordinaire!
In B-Grade a similar race unfolded. B-Grade came down to a hard-fought sprint with line honours going to Roger Foote closely followed by Rex Dowding. The race for minor places were also strongly contested in B-Grade.
Very many thanks to race management who kept us safe. Tonight, there were nearly as many in the race team as riders on bikes.
Note: PNP have today put out a notification that Centre Champs have been postponed at this stage. For those who have entered or are intending to enter Nationals – keep an eye on the NZC website as they have indicated they will update this on 19thMarch.
Only two more Tuesday night races for this season – next week is an ITT up Matahiwi and the final race is a Mass Start around the Pakas from Johnstone Street.
Rememberto register for our Cycling Section AGM and Prizegiving through the ACM website.
Full resultscan be found: