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Race officials get it spot on

Race manager Brent Sowry, left, with Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson after he won Official of the Year at this year’s Wairarapa Times-Age Sports Awards. PHOTO/FILE


The race manager’s message rang true in the latest Athletics and Cycling Masterton outing on Tuesday night.

The handicapped road race began at Gladstone Church and raced south to Whakarau Road, before returning to finish on Longbush Road.

During his briefing, the race manager, Brent Sowry, reminded riders that the job of each bunch was to catch the riders in front of them, and stay away from the riders behind.

When the race handicapper gets it right, most of the riders will arrive at the finish together.

On Tuesday evening, that very nearly happened.

In the winning bunch were a mixture of riders from Limit and Break 3, with all the riders from Break 2, except one who suffered a puncture, finishing a matter of a handful of seconds behind that bunch.

There followed a mixture of Break and Scratch who came to the finish less than a minute later.

Line honours went to Jay Sowry on the long course, with Donna Burkhart the first woman to finish.

Sydney Blackburn also impressed as the first junior rider home, and Mark Langlands was once again the fastest man across the line.

Belinda Fuller was the fastest woman over the long course.

In the short course race, overall line honours went to Doug Maclachlan and Meri Murphy on the tandem, who had a quick change of plans when they were unable to hold the wheel of the Limit bunch on the long course and restarted with the short course riders.

Kate Port was the first woman on the short course, and there was a big effort from two junior riders, Jono Didsbury and Jaimee Blackburn, who managed to hang on to the tandem over this course.

The club paid tribute to both Brent Sowry and Toni McCallum, who turn up to manage and time the events voluntarily every week.

This weekend, many Wairarapa riders will be taking part in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, with about 6000 riders set to descend on the region on Saturday.

From its humble beginnings in 1977 with just 26 participants, the event has grown into one of New Zealand’s largest cycling events, with competitors often coming from more than 20 different countries.

This year will be the 42nd running of the event.

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