RACING at the Hunter Economic Zone and Armidale on the weekend saw many hours on the road for Team Baiocchi Griffin JT Fossey Cycling, but it brought results.
On Saturday three members raced a 63 kilometre kermesse race near Cessnock and while a puncture after just 500 metres of his race robbed Darren Traill of any chance of winning, he made up for it on Sunday at Armidale taking out the B grade event.
Meanwhile on Saturday, at Cessnock, UNE student Mick Sherwood and Ray Griffin lined up in hot conditions for their Division 2 event.
On the back of a bout of illness, Sherwood proved he’s in good shape for the coming road season with a solid 15th out of 53, just behind Griffin who finished 12th.
“It was our first state open for the year and on a course which was unfamiliar to us.” Griffin said.
“We came away with signs that our form is good and the big uphill bunch finish showed we’re not too far off the best division 2 riders in the state.” Returning home to Tamworth on Saturday night, the trio travelled up to Armidale on Sunday morning with team-mates Fraser Ashford and Phil Kelaher to race in the Autumn Festival Criterium.
In the 30-minute B grade race Traill was the dominant rider.
“I woke on Sunday morning and thought I’m going up there to get a result today,” Traill said.
With half a lap and two tight corners to go Traill attacked and went into the last 200 metres with a narrow lead on the uphill finishing straight.
“They were coming at me super fast and it was only my ‘throw’ of the bike at the line that got me there.” he added.
Team manager Griffin commented that Traill’s new training regime had clearly paid off.
“We’ve been working on building Darren’s strength since the start of the year and it’s clearly working.” Griffin said.
“It’s one thing to ride a bike long distances but it’s another thing again to be able to do it with the speed and strength required at the right time in a race.”
Ashford, Kelaher and Griffin all line up in the 30-strong A grade field.
“It was the fastest race we’ve had for over five months.” Griffin said.
“From the go the attacks were relentless and the NRS guys and young Dylan Sunderland from the Celebrations team really hammered the race.”
Baiocchi Griffin JT Fossey monitored proceedings until a three-man break went away with 10 minutes to go.
“We missed that break but Fraser Ashford attacked and picked up Subaru’s Kierin Lewis and together they chased the break which was being driven by Paradice’s Mitch Carrington.” Griffin said.
“In the end Fraser had the best legs for us but he couldn’t get across to the front and ended up fifth.”
Griffin said as a prelude to the road season, which begins next month he was really happy with the weekend.
“It’s a long season coming up and we’re going to be racing as far south as Ballarat before we’re finished so I’m pleased with we’re at for this time of the year,” he said.