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Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Fast, tense racing in cycling finale

CYCLING

There was plenty at stake for the final race of the Trust House Teams Series on Sunday, and close, fast racing ensued in all three categories.

The big field tackled a challenging 84km course, which started at Henley Lake and saw riders race to the bottom of Dreyers Rock, returning via Whangaehu Valley Road and heading to Bideford before facing some testing hills heading back to the finish at Masterton.

The course was made even more challenging with strong northerly winds making it hard going on the outward leg, but on the way back, riders were hitting close to 50kmh.

In the intense and fast-paced category two race, young Canadian rider Jack Padega from the West Coast North Island [WCNI] team took charge, driving the pace for the first 25km.

Approaching Bideford, a breakaway quartet emerged, with Padega ultimately leading the charge and claiming first place.

Category leader Chris Hansen secured second, enough to secure the individual title, while Christchurch rider Scott McDonnell clinched third. WCNI completed the double, also winning the team’s title.

In category three, leader Jeremy Salmon strategically assembled a full team of eight riders for the final race, anticipating attacks from the Palmerston North and Wellington Pedal Project teams on the uphill section.

Despite the challenges, Salmon successfully stuck with Manawatū rider Andrew Richardson throughout the 84km. Both riders crossed the finish line simultaneously, securing Salmon’s category three title and the team’s championship for his Pedal Project team.

Local riders in the Tararua Builders team had an impressive day and dominated the category four race, filling four of the first five placings, although line honours went to Dan McKay from Team Tank Guy.

Category four was the only one where the full field was together at the first turn at Dreyers Rock Road, with not many of the riders keen to get to the front and face the strong winds.

It was a different story on the way back, and the fast speeds forced a few to drop off the pace. At Bideford, a group of seven riders broke away and built a lead of over a minute from the chasing bunch.

Tararua Builders seamlessly collaborated as a team throughout the race and, in the decisive sprint on Settlement Road, dominated the leading positions, with four of the seven riders hailing from their ranks.

Despite their strong performance, McKay put in the decisive surge and claimed first place.

The next four spots were filled by the local riders, with Chris Sutherland in second, Dave Drummond in third, Derek De Zwart in fourth, and Nigel Page securing fifth place, all finishing with the same time.

Andrew Campbell [Pedal Project] took out the individual championship, with the team’s title going to Team Tank Guy [Palmerston North].

Series organiser Jorge Sandoval said Sunday’s race proved challenging for all riders, with strong crosswinds and a formidable tailwind on the return leg contributing to a highly aggressive and fast-paced conclusion to the series. He also had special praise for the category four riders, with many in the veteran class.

“Notably, the category four field comprised riders over 50 years old, with some nearing the age of 70, but despite their age, these riders showcased exceptional fitness and experience,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval was rapt with the success of the five-race series, saying the riders wholeheartedly embraced the diverse circuits, contributing to the overall success of the series, which featured races in Carrington, Rangitūmau, Alfredton, Bideford, and, for the first time, the Kāpiti Coast.

“Notably, this year marked the inaugural race around the Carrington circuit, a course that will also be utilised by international riders in the upcoming Mitre 10 MEGA Masterton New Zealand Cycle Classic in January.”

RACE 5 RESULTS

Category Two: 1 – Jack Padega 2:14:03, 2 – Chris Hansen, 3 – Scott McDonnell. Series winner: Hansen [West Coast North Island], Teams – West Coast North Island

Category Three: 1Chris Banks 2:18:27, 2 – Alex Contessi, 3 – Cody Clarke. Series winner: Jeremy Salmon [Pedal Project], Teams – Pedal Project

Category four: 1 – Dan MacKay 2:22:11, 2 – Chris Sutherland, 3 – Dave Drummond. Series winner: Andrew Campbell [Pedal Project], Team: Team Tank Guy [Palmerston North]

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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