JUNIOR riders returned to the road for the Mount Gambier Cycling Club Summer Series on the weekend, with three youngsters greeting the starter prior to the 30km senior race along Caves Roads.
In what was a virtual individual time trial, Eddie Buckland started first, followed by Molly Opperman two minutes later, then Elmer Buckland a further two minutes further back.
Molly was able to take her track form onto the road, passing Eddie before the turnaround point.
Elmer caught and passed Eddie with approximately 3km to go and set about trying to chase down Molly.
However, it was to no avail, as Molly greeted the finish line first, with Elmer able to take some comfort in knowing he was still fastest, with only 10 seconds between their elapsed ride times.
Eddie sprinted to the line to round out the podium.
The senior riders then lines up, with 28 geeting the starter.
In a slight differentiation from the usual handicaps, the riders were placed into one of four groups, focussing on riding in larger groups and the benefits which come with that.
The first group consisted of Jason Buckland, Jen Buckland, Damian Buckley and Shane Kennett, one of many Hamilton riders who ventured across the border to compete.
They were given a 10-minute head start on the next chasing group of Dave Delaland, Jami Buckley, Jacki Barnett and Pru Riddoch.
With 15 minutes on the clock, the third group headed off, with a good mix of junior and experienced riders, consisting of Matt Fiegert, Riley Hill, Harry Opperman, together with Spek Peake, Mike Bakker, Mark Brooksby, Bruce McLaughlin and Phil Stasiw.
The final super-group to leave were given the all-clear to launch after 21 minutes had elapsed.
Leading the charge here was Nick Kidman, with Malcolm Tirabassi, Matthew Opperman, Jack Patzel, Colin Weatherill, Rowan Kruysse, John Cranwell, Paul Brooker, Mark Wight, Rohan Garfoot, Tess Wight and Chris Kennett.
Expecting calm winds or even a slight tailwind on the way back, riders were greeted to a strengthening headwind after their armchair ride towards the border.
As the first group of riders turned around at the 15km mark and were able to see the groups of riders chasing them down, it looked like there was a good chance for them to stay away from the chasing packs, providing they continued to work together.
Other riders were finding the pace of the super-group just a little too hot to handle and faced the long, lonely ride from the back of the pack.
With 2km to go it was clear the race was to be won by the limit group, who continued to ride strongly together.
Onto the little rises before the finish line, Damian Buckley opened the jostling with his signature power move up the hill, with Jen Buckland managing to hold on to his wheel.
Coming down the last rise, Jen was able to power past Damian and hold on to claim victory in front of Buckley, with Kennett rounding out the podium.
Kidman edged out Matthew Opperman in the sprint of the super-group to take fastest time honours.
The next club race will be a graded scratch race on Sunday, March 14 at Mcnamara Park.