Kiwivelo’s Ian Paintin leading the bunch up Rangitumau Hill. PHOTO/DI CHESMAR

Cycling

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

Aggressive racing, challenging hill climbs and drama at the finish were all seen in race four of the Trust House North Island Team Series held in Wairarapa on Saturday.

Riders in all three Masters grades started the race in cloudy conditions, with hilly terrain and the final 3km slog up Rangitumau hill making it one of the more challenging races in the series so far.

Two Wairarapa teams of eight riders each competed in the event with two riders in the Masters 2 race placing well.

Derek Roberts from Tararua Builders Racing finished in ninth place with a time of 2 hours 10 minutes 36.1 seconds.

Teammate Simon Pumfrey finished 11th in the same race with a time of 2:10:37.2

Their efforts helped Tararua Builders Racing reach third place in the grade on the day, and they are now sitting in fifth overall with one race to go.

In the Masters 1 grade race the bunch stayed together until the 45km turn at Alfredton.

Everything changed on the way back with the final climb up Rangitumau hill playing a big part in the final outcome.

In the end, grade leader Brendan McGrath riding for Meo GP team proved too strong, winning the race by 22 seconds from Dave Weaver representing the Wheelworks team, with Brent Backhouse third, another 29 seconds behind.

In the Masters 2 and 3 grades many riders lost contact with the main bunch after 55km of racing climbing up Dryers Rock.

In Masters 2 several of the prominent riders came from the Lone Star Palmerston North team.

A few of the riders in the team came to Wairarapa during the week to ride the circuit and the Rangitumau hill climb in preparation.

Their extra groundwork paid off on Saturday with the team taking maximum points in the team classification.

At the bottom of the hill Masters 2 grade leader Matthew Stevens was seen riding hard at the front closely followed by four riders.

In the end four riders contested the sprint finish with Stevens coming in first before being relegated to fourth for not keeping his sprinting line and obstructing Huib Buyck from Total Home Theatre team who was credited with the win.

Buyck was followed by last year’s winner Robert Kilvington from PNP team with Palmerston North’s Cliff Hughes in third place.

In the Masters 3 race grade leader Ian Paintin led a big bunch for most of the hill climb to win the race by five seconds.

Behind him was Richard Sutton from Optimal Performance with Pat Johnstone from Whanganui’s Velo Ronny’s in third.

All winners of the series will be decided in the final race on December 2.

In race five riders will complete a 92km course from Masterton to Alfredton and back.