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Spokes dominate in tricky conditions

Masterton rider Simon Pumfrey leads the category two field. Pumfrey eventually finished 19th. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED


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Former track world champion and Olympic pursuit bronze medallist Aaron Gate took line honours as the Black Spoke Racing team dominated race two of the Trust House North Island team series on Sunday.

The class of New Zealand’s only UCI professional racing team was evident with all eight of their riders finishing in the top 10.

Gate pulled clear in the final stages of the 102km race and crossed the line in two hours, 32 minutes, and 40.25 seconds, 21s ahead of teammate Luke Mudgway, with fellow Black Spoke James Oram another 19s back.

Race organiser Jorge Sandoval said the other teams not only struggled against the powerful professional team, but also battled tricky conditions on the Alfredton course.

“It was a difficult race for a lot of the riders, with the wind and being the first race of the season,” he said.

“On some parts of the circuit on the flat, the riders were doing 70-75kmh, and on the other side of the circuit they were doing 25-30kmh because of the headwinds.

“The teams tried to work as teams as much as they could, and a lot of people tried to have a go at different stages, but it didn’t eventuate because of the crosswinds.”

The Black Spokes left Masterton on Monday after spending more than a week training in Wairarapa. The team were to contest the first two races of the series but the first on September 27 was cancelled because of atrocious weather.

However, Sandoval said some of the riders could be back for some of the other races in the series because there are no clashes with other races.

There was local success in two of the other categories.

Richard van Lent stood on the podium in category three with a third placing, only 0.91 seconds behind winner Dale Nicholls [Bike Manawatu], with Cameron Wood [Wheelworks] second.

Van Lent’s Tararua Builders lead the teams’ competition, with Eric d’Arbois finishing fourth and Dominic Green sixth.

The Category four podium. [left to right] Mike Thompson [2nd] , Chris Harris [winner], Warwick Burr – Tararua Builders [3rd]
Warwick Burr [Tararua Builders] was third in category four, behind Luxury Cycle Tours teammates Chris Harris in first place and Mike Thompson second.

Tararua Builders’ Emily Lutyens was the only woman in category four and finished a meritorious 13th, about six minutes behind the first three.

Masterton’s Simon Pumfrey did a lot of the hard work in the strong category two race, attempting several breakaways.

He eventually finished 19th in the race won by Brent Backhouse [Meo GP] who prevailed in a sprint finish over teammate Antony Nalder, and Max Ferguson [Bike Manawatu].

The next races in the series will be a doubleheader on October 25. A criterium on a Waingawa course will be followed by a teams’ time trial at Matahiwi.


Category 1: Aaron Gate [Black Spoke] 1, Luke Mudgway [Black Spoke] 2, James Oram [Black Spoke] 3.
Team: Black Spoke Pro Racing 1.

Category 2: Brent Backhouse [Meo GP] 1, Antony Nalder [Meo GP] 2, Max Ferguson [Bike Manawatu] 3.
Team: West Coast North Island 1.

Category 3: Dale Nicholls [Bike Manawatu] 1, Cameron Wood [Wheelworks] 2, Richard van Lent [Tararua Builders] 3.
Team: Tararua Builders 1.

Category 4: Chris Harris [Luxury Cycle Tours] 1, Mike Thompson [Luxury Cycles Tours] 2, Warwick Burr [Tararua Builders] 3.
Team: Luxury Cycle Tours Team 1.

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