Careful tactics win the race
AARON Watts stormed home to win the Grafton Cycle Club’s Graded Handicap race at Coutts Crossing last Saturday.
Watts escaped with Jon Ingram from the remainder of the C Grade in the third of four laps.
Together they pulled back the remnants of the D grade bunch, collected Geoff Bennett and set out for the leader on the road, Rosemary Brinkworth.
Just as Brinkworth had the finish line in sight, she was pounced on by Bennett and then Watts and Ingram. On the finish line it was Watts pulling clear of Ingram and Bennett, with Brinkworth holding on for fourth.
Meanwhile, just on a minute to the rear of the leaders, the scratch bunch was finishing off what had been nothing short of a heroic race.
Craig Evers continued his good form leading and guiding the group of seven for 38 of the 40km event.
Matt White, Brady Ingram, Lockie Oberg, Dallas Parker, Chris Cropper and Howard Avery all had their hearts in the objective. That is, to catch the bunch three minutes ahead of them.
Just as brave, however, was the B grade bunch of nine riders. They stayed together and gave each other the best possible chance of winning the race.
They were still giving plenty of cheek at the 35km mark with Greg Allen, Tim Noble, Mark Hackett, Terry O’Brien and Michael White doing the heavy lifting.
As tough as they were, however, the B grade bunch was caught with barely 3km to go.
By then, they had caught everyone but the leaders. B grade and A grade stayed together until the finish, with Parker just beating Bruce Phelps for fifth. Parker had the fastest time with 55’06” at an average speed of 43kph. Next came Oberg (first junior), Ingram, White and Cropper. In the end it was the opportunism and intuition of Ingram that made the difference.
He felt that the pace, at the half way point of the race, was not quite fast enough to win and he attacked his C grade bunch.
Watts had the courage and trust to jump with Ingram, in setting out after the defiant Brinkworth.
Bennett, finding great form, was able to go with Ingram and Watts, and was keen not to take Brinkworth for the last 300 metres.
Officials at the race were impressed by the work ethic in each group and the keenness of the racing.
Next Saturday it is back to Coutts Crossing for graded scratch races.
In the end it was the opportunism and intuition of (Jon) Ingram that made the difference.