Armidale club lands two national titles

ARMIDALE’S New England Mountain Bikers came home from Canberra’s Mt Stromlo Mountain Bike Park with two national title winners.

Six NEMTB members made the long journey down to test their skills, publicity officer Steve Chapman said.

“The rsults were nothing short of fantastic, with not one but two local riders winning national titles,” Chapman said.

“Katherine Hosking won the title in the Under 15 girls and Holly Harris won the Under 19 girls. 

“Holly successfully defended her national title from last year but for Katherine, the win is a first. 

“This is the first race of this calibre she has entered and, at just 12 years of age, she wasn’t expecting much against older competition. 

“Lisa Harris came fourth in the Masters female, Michael Harris was 15th in a large field in the under 17s (as a 15-year-old) and Sean Bekkers came a credible ninth in the Open men. Greg Manttan did not finish.”

Another talented young female cyclist, Tori Saunders, won Tamworth Cycling Club’s C Grade criterium race at Goddard Lane on Sunday.

Saunders beat Matt Carrington and Brian Jeffrey in the 25min plus two lap race while Davue Rugendyke won the combined A and B Grade over 30 minutes from club president Ray Griffin and Michael Swain third.

It was 26-year-old Rugendyke’s first win, Griffin said.

“He did well – he  had a fall during the week and wasn’t going to ride on Sunday,” Griffin said.

“He had some deep bruising and a few cuts. 

“He rode out just to have a look but Al Bower convinced him he should ride and ride out the soreness.

“And he did ride well.

“He  had a couple of attacks and then jumped us about 300m to go.

“ I just couldn’t get to him and Michael Swain was a good third. 

“He’s been getting back into it for a little while too. 

“We’ve had a real good crit season though.

“It’s good to see some of the new riders like Dave and a couple of other younger blokes going well.

“We have a couple more riders about to move into A grade –  they are really coming along well.”

Sunday’s A and B Grade criterium contained 11 riders, with Mitch Carrington and Lewis Chapman conceding the other nine a minute’s start.

“It was a pretty hard ride,” Carrington admitted.

“Lewis and I had to chase one minute. 

“But they held too good a tempo for us to catch them. 

“They did switch off a little with about five minutes left but we were never really going to catch them. They rode well together.”

The previous week Sam Spokes had given a minute start and also failed to pull back the peloton but  Griffin said the continued experimentation with the handicapping keeps all the riders wary and interested.

“We’ve got our Criterium Club Championship coming up on March 23 and have the presentation for that at The Shack afterwards,”  Griffin said.

The TCC then prepares for a big road season, beginning with the Nemingha to Nundle and also including a Tamworth Junior Tour event later in the year.

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