Summer Series back on the road

PODIUM: Third and fastest time Nick Kidman, winner Sandra Parsons, runner-up Michael Dethmore. Picture: MATT MCKENNY

THE Mount Gambier Cycling Club made a welcome return to road racing on the weekend, with 14 riders signing on to participate in the opening race of the Summer Series, a 26km handicap along the familiar Caves Road course at Yahl.

After a long break over the Summer holidays, it was pleasing to see some new faces out racing, especially as riders prepare for the upcoming 100 mile Classic in mid-May.

After the nominations were made and the handicaps organised, it was time to race.

Martin Farmilo and Jen Buckland were the first riders away, given a one minute advantage over Sandra Parsons and Michael Dethmore.

A further seven minute wait followed before John Cranwell, John De Pree and Chris Neave were given their orders to begin their race, followed two minutes later by the young guns of Xavier Farmilo, Ethan McKenny and Elmer Buckland.

Two minutes after them, Malcolm Tirabassi and Stephen Jones began their chase, followed a further two minutes later by the final pairing of Nick Kidman and Dave Bryant.

Conditions were near perfect, with hardly a breath of wind and sunshine, and the riders made the most of it.

Seeing their prey seemingly close up from the beginning, Parsons and Dethmore caught the front group within the first six kilometres, with Jen Buckland and Farmilo trying hard to hold on to make a strong group of four.

Unfortunately, first Farmilo and then Buckland were dropped from the group before the turnaround, leaving Parsons and Dethmore to ride hard to stay away from the chasers.

At the back of the race, Kidman was putting the power to his pedals to try and catch all ahead of him, but Bryant was not able to maintain the pace from the 10km mark, consigned to the lonely race at the back until he could catch riders ahead of him.

Once the riders had made the turnaround and begun their homeward leg, each of the groups could see how much had been gained and how much work was still to be done.

A six kilometre gap remained between the first and last riders.

As Kidman caught the riders ahead of him, he was joined by Jones and Tirabassi, then Elmer Buckland, with the other riders trying hard to hold the wheels for as long as possible.

With approximately two kilometres left in the race, Parsons began her power surge, leaving Dethmore struggling to hold her wheel before eventually succumbing.

She held her advantage all the way to the finish line, with Dethmore arriving 29 seconds later.

In a situation that will be viewed closely by the handicapper, it was daylight to third, with Kidman sprinting from his bunch to round out the podium some four-and-a-half minutes behind Dethmore, with the fastest time of the race.

Riders will return to the Caves Road circuit next week for a 30km handicap, with the long-range forecast suggesting similar weather.