AFTER having to cancel last week’s race due to hail just before the start and an early forecast of 20-30mm of rain the weekend, the Mount Gambier Cycling Club race committee chose to postpone the Kidman Cup race in Coonawarra in favour of a 20km handicap race at the Caves Road circuit.
While the original forecast changed, preparations had already been put in place for the different race formats and 16 riders lined up at the start line just past Yahl Road.
The Junior riders headed off first, with Eddie Buckland given a 2:30 minute head start over Molly Opperman for their 10km race.
A southerly wind meant the opening leg began with a headwind, with the return journey a more enjoyable tailwind.
Opperman worked steadily into the wind to draw closer to Buckland, but the effort was telling when the latter received the tailwind.
Buckland was able to stay ahead and finished 47 seconds in front to claim the win.
Following a short break, the Senior riders set up for the main event.
Jason Buckland was the first to leave, a solo time trial on offer providing something for the rest of the racers to chase.
Following him five minutes later were Jen Buckland and Dave Delaland, then a group consisting of Elmer Buckland, Mike Bakker and Harry Opperman three minutes later.
A further two minutes behind, the next group consisting of Phil Stasiw, Bruce McLaughlin, and John Cranwell headed off, with the remaining groups leaving in one-minute intervals.
Craig Andre, Riley Hill, Jami Buckley and Patrick Langsmith were next leave, followed by Malcolm Tirabassi and Matthew Opperman, then Nick Kidman racing from the back, 13 minutes after Jason Buckland had begun his race.
The race began in bright sunshine, albeit with a tough headwind keeping the groups honest on the way out to the turnaround point.
In the first leg most groups kept together, slowly catching those ahead of them.
The group of Harry Opperman, Elmer Buckland and Bakker split early, as each rider found their personal rhythm, with the four groups behind well within striking distance of each other.
Speeds were much higher on the return leg as the riders enjoyed a tailwind from the southerly.
The back groups came together and then split again as each rider tried to go with the faster groups as they swung by.
Out in front, Jason Buckland was still trying to stay away but as he turned onto the finishing four-kilometre straight, a group containing Kidman, Matthew Opperman and Hill sped past.
The final sprint would then come down to those three riders, with Kidman taking out the race win and fastest time honours, closely followed by Matthew Opperman, then Hill.
Meanwhile, the postponed Kidman Cup will be held this Saturday afternoon at Maaoupe Road, for a 30km Handicapped race.