TEAM Baiocchi Griffin-JT Fossey met with modest success in two days of racing at Cootamundra over the weekend.
Three Team BG-JTF riders – Darren Traill, Mick Sherwood and Ray Griffin – took part in the Cootamundra Classic on Saturday and Sunday’s ‘Recovery’ race, with Griffin the best, finishing a close 13th in the bunch sprint finish to Saturday’s Cootamundra Classic.
“Darren and Mick both had tough days in the Classic on Saturday and that can happen to any rider in any race,” Griffin said. “But they both came good in the recovery race on Sunday, however Mick had a fall with around 12ks to go and lost some skin.”
Griffin rode from the 12 minute mark in Saturday’s 105km Classic race which had more than 200 entries.
His group was chasing the limit bunch and it had 35 minutes’ start on the scratch bunch which included a dozen or so National Road Series riders from St George Skoda in Sydney, GPM Parramatta, Budget Forklifts, Sydney Uni Velo and Racing Kangaroos.
At half distance, Griffin’s group was just six minutes down on the leaders, having picked up 19 minutes on the limit riders in 52km.
With 20km to go, the scratch bunch charged on just two minutes behind Griffin’s bunch while the leaders were almost in sight for Griffin.
With 12km remaining, the National Road Series-packed scratch bunch had picked up Griffin’s group and the race leaders to make the final attacks over the last 8km of hills a testing finish.
By this stage the front of the race had over 30 riders and Griffin lost contact on a hill in the constant south westerly cross-winds.
He and five others then managed to ride across to the leaders and rejoin the front of the race on the last climb with just 3km remaining.
“It was hideously tough just trying to hold the wheel in front of you in the wind once scratch caught us,” Griffin said.
“There were numerous attacks in the last 3kms but somehow I managed to hang on over the last climb into Cootamundra.”
“The National Road Series teams then began setting up their key sprinters with lead-out ‘trains’.
“It was a question of risk versus reward for me – some of these guys are looking to gain professional contracts in Europe and I’m way past that.
“I ended up just following quick wheels at 75 per cent and rolled into 13th place in an extremely fast downhill finish.”
Nick Yallouris (St George Skoda) won the race from Grafton-based Craig Evers of the Racing Kangaroos Team.
Sunday’s 69km “recovery” race had more than 150 entries and again saw Griffin finish with the leaders in a very large bunch finish, securing 20th place.
Team BG-JTF will now send four riders to the NSW State Masters Cycling Championships in Goulburn in early September.
Fraser Ashford, Phil Kelaher, Traill and Griffin will all compete in their respective age categories across time trial, criterium and road races.
“After the Masters we’ll turn our focus to the Grafton to Inverell in late October,” Griffin said.
“Fraser, Phil and Darren will be lining up in the big one and they’ll be getting some very long training days in once the Masters is over.”
The official launch of this year’s October 26 Grafton to Inverell will take place at the Inverell RSM Club this Thursday morning.