Another cracking sunny Saturday saw 24 competitors sign on for the Tamworth Cycle Club’s Loomberah handicap race, while four riders enjoyed the shorter recreational course.
A big shout out to juniors Josh Deasey and Sophie Johnstone who appeared to smile the whole way through the recreational ride, accompanied by their parents Kath and Greg respectively. Josh had already ridden and played hockey, so it was no mean feat to knock over another 25km.
The handicap saw the riders in seven groups. David Yeo headed out off “go”, closely followed by Pip Ash, Chum Nash and newcomer (and ironman alumni) Sue Swindon.
The next group was Sim Church, Al Spokes, Katrina Ashford, Min McDonald, David Fitzsimmons, and James Eason, followed soon after by Zane Tapp, Dave Menzies, and Warren Clark, with Greg Clark and Richard Newberry on the tandem.
Luke O’Connor, Hugh Humphries, Matthew Sadleir, Michael Foster and Fletcher Partlin were next up, and although he had already knocked out close to 100km as a “warm up”, Fraser was still prepared to chase the chopping block of Mick Sherwood, Daniel Nash and Rob Wright who had been given a one-minute start.
The first four off the mark set a steady pace, with David tackling the race as a time trial, and Chum’s steady wheel providing shelter for Pip in her first race, once Sue dropped off to fend for herself near the Mineshaft turnaround.
The larger group was soon split when Al and Sim attacked on a hill around 10 minutes into the race, leaving David, James, Katrina and Min to work together.
With Al and Sim away, the four gradually caught and joined Chum and Pip, but after some solid help from the boys, Katrina and Min decided to pick up the pace as the Farrer turnaround appeared.
It was, however, too late a move to reel in the pocket rocket and the veteran, who was gentleman enough to take the second place, with Sim securing her well-earned first road race win.
Min and Katrina continued on together and after a few nervous checks over their shoulders, they crossed the line in a very happy and relieved tie for third place, two minutes behind Al and Sim.
Mick, Nashy and Rob worked well together as a trio, rolling turns and keeping a good pace to hold Fraser at bay.
They came across Hugh, Luke and Matt Sadleir (who were getting moving after Matt had come off after rubbing wheels). The bike was okay, but Matt’s brand new kit and skin were both left the worse for wear.
Showing a bit of the grit he’s become famous for, he was still determined to complete the race.
They rolled turns and started reeling in riders until the turnaround, where Rob dropped a chain and said farewell to the bunch.
They worked well to the finish, but were not quick enough to beat the current form of junior Zane Tapp in the sprint for the finish, as he took fourth place, with Nashy taking fifth.
It was great to have Clarky senior and Hawkeye out on the tandem, and while the hills weren’t kind to them, we have no doubt they will be a force to be reckoned with on the Moore Creek course this week.
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