The inaugural Raymond Jarratt Handicap was well patronised, with 44 riders entering from near and far, showing the great respect Jarratt has earned within the cycling fraternity.
Members of clubs from Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga, Benalla, Wangaratta, Shepparton, Hawthorn, Geelong, Mansfield, Footscray and Echuca were present.
Local entrants journeyed from Finley, Nathalia, Numurkah, Yarrawonga, Cobram and Barooga.
Andrew Sessions joined junior riders Josh Woods and Kattarina White over the 47.2km course incorporating Mt Gwynne.
They rode from the limit mark of 27.30 min. Unfortunately Sessions punctured at the 14km mark leaving just two, making the effort required a lot harder.
Woods won the special Mt Gwynne Hill Climb prize by outsprinting White, and he continued on until being caught by the 20.30 min markers at the 28km mark.
He later punctured, effectively ruining his chance of a victory.
The scratch bunch, possibly the strongest bunch ever assembled at Cobram, were doing speeds of up to 56km/h along Back Barooga Rd in pursuit of the other six bunches.
They turned at Back Barooga Rd in 31 minutes, at an average speed of almost 46km/h.
Olympian and World Masters champion Steve Fairless and World Cup sprint champion Travis Lindhe were part of the bunch, as well as former professional Steve ‘Killer’ Kilpatrick from Albury.
The bunch stayed together until Shepparton rider Kevin Laffy was dropped near the Mulwala Canal crossing in Carramar Rd.
Christian McDonald, Sam Ward, Brad Rose, Dean Holgate and Shepparton’s Stanley Thomas were in the nine-rider bunch.
Punctures were the order of the day as Tony Crawford punctured with more than half the journey completed.
Mick Doyle, one of the favourites to win, was hampered by gear problems and could not maintain the required pace.
The winning bunch came to the front with about 6km to travel, resulting in a strong win to Hawthorn club member Dermot Nichols, with a margin of 60m to second-placed Footscray’s Murray Crawford, with Cobram-Barooga member Robert Nichols, Dermot’s brother, third.
The Nichols brothers hail from Numurkah and it was 52-year-old Crawford’s first race for more than three years.
With a devastating burst of power Travis Lindhe took out the fastest time, reaching a top speed of 60km/h into a stiff headwind, and the prize for group one.
Geelong’s Terry Renwick was another who hadn’t ridden for many years, but unfortunately missed the Back Barooga Rd turn and was effectively out of the race, finishing about 5km short of the Mulwala township.
Bunch prizes were awarded to: Andrew Bradley and Brodie Pearse (Tolland) Wagga Wagga, Travis Lindhe, Stephen Gemmill, Murray Crawford and Robert and Dermot Nichols.
Prize money of $540 was handed out, a great effort from such a small club.
There were many who helped to make it such a successful day and thanks go to these individuals.
●On Saturday, April 8, nine riders attended the 15km time trial in ideal conditions.
Bernie Gillespie and Terry Walmsley both recorded personal best times, with Gillespie finding his newly purchased bicycle to his liking, erasing 30 seconds from his previous time.
Walmsley, not to be outdone, clipped the slender margin of three seconds from his best, taking out first place from the very consistent Michael Doyle, who was only 14 seconds from the benchmark he has set.
His brother Andrew was close behind in third place.
Rod Armstrong was hampered by a motor vehicle, but still was not far from recording his best time, being only 13 seconds in arrears.
Christian McDonald finished just outside his best ever time also.
The benchmark is set from club champion Travis Lindhe’s time of 19.44 minutes and all handicaps are worked out from this time.
All times are: Bernie Gillespie 26.29 (19.34), Michael Doyle 24.34 (19.12), Rod Armstrong 24.55 (19.37) Terry Walmsley 22.18 (18.5), Heath White 23.26 (20.21), Andrew Doyle 22.24 (19.25), Anthony Crawford 22.22 (19.56), Christian McDonald 21.25 (19.39), Travis Lindhe 20.18 (20.18).
●Next Saturday, a 28km handicap will be contested on the alternate course of Back Barooga Rd. The start time is 1.30pm, at the MON factory in Hughes St, Barooga, with $5 entry. All licensed riders are welcome.