RIDERS lined up at McNamara Park in a graded scratch race for Round 5 of the Mount Gambier Cycling Club Summer Series.
Four grades – A, B, C, D – produced fast racing around a circuit better known for its motorcycle events.
In A Grade, Team Giant professional cyclist Josh Harrison let his presence be known in the bunch, with Nick Kidman applying pressure from start to finish.
Ash Herrewyn settled in early but the continuous surges saw him distanced from the main peloton.
Matthew Opperman and Neil Van Niekerk held their own, doing their fair share of the work, only to succumb to Kidman and Harrison’s relentless pace.
Harrison led into the final turn, with Kidman in the box seat to roll him on the line, only to leave it too late and having to settle for second place, with Opperman third.
South Australian Sport Institute rider Tess Wight established an early lead in B Grade to show she would be one of the stronger riders in the bunch containing Matt Fiegert, Mark Wight, Bruce McLaughlin, Phil Stasiw, Malcom Tirrabassi, Mount Gambier Cycling Academy rider Riley Hill and Rowan Kruysse.
However, she soon found herself in no man’s land and returned to the main group of riders.
With almost 40 minutes of intense pace and swapping off turns, Kruysse showed he had the legs to win, with Tess Wight and Hill rounding out the minor placings.
A combined C and D Grade race had riders scrambling from the start line.
In C Grade a mix of young up-and-comers included Harry Opperman, Jami Buckley, Mark Brooksby and Aaron Dally, mixed with more senior riders John Cranwell, Chris O’Donnell, Spek Peake, Mike Bakker, Dave Deland and Shane Fiegert.
Cranwell and Peake had their game faces on to show their true form, while Deland elected for the side line after Brooksby, O’Donnell and Bakker lit the track up in the finishing laps.
Young guns, Opperman and Buckley paid the price for Saturday’s training clinic and subsequently finished outside the main placings.
Cranwell claimed the win from Peake, with up-and-comer Brooksby rounding out the placings.
In D Grade young-gun juniors Emma Van Niekerk, Freya Miller and Molly Opperman joined the more senior riders and initially found cover early behind Dan Harpham.
Damian Buckley showed he had recovered from his recent fall at the velodrome and gapped the main bunch early.
Harpham eventually found his legs to pull away from the trio of Van Niekerk, Miller and Opperman.
Buckley then put the after-burners on to establish himself as the strongest rider and claim first place.
Opperman and Miller worked relentlessly to close to within eyesight of Harpham, who eventually finished second.
Both girls were left to fight it out for third in a sprint, with Opperman successful on the line.