Cycling: Impressive times recorded despite rain

The Heretaunga Building Society-powered Ramblers Cycling Club hosted a two-day graded East Coast Tour at the weekend.

As the final race of the Summer Series with double series points on offer, just over 80 riders registered for racing. Stage 1 on Saturday afternoon was a 16km Individual Time Trial (ITT) which started and finished on the corner of Matapiro and Omapere Rds. Stage 2 was a short road race with a Whanawhana hill top finish while the third and final stage was a road race on Sunday morning on the Crownthorpe Settlement/Otamauri Road circuit. Overall results were determined by points rather than time differences which changed the tactics required to win the tour grade titles.

Despite the rain and cool weather on Saturday afternoon, some impressive times were recorded in the opening time trial stage. Andrew Townsend again showed his class to record the fastest time of the day at 21m 29s for an average speed of 44.7km/h. Second placed Ben McHale was 21s in arrears with Dan Warren a further five seconds back in third place. B grade's James Lochhead won the B grade with an average speed of 41.0km/h which was the seventh best result of the day overall. In doing so, he edged out Ian Seddon into second place by just four seconds. Lisa Atkins comfortably won the D grade while Kevin Welsh and Tony Hartley finished with times just one second apart for second and third places respectively.

The second stage hill top finish favoured the hill climbers with B grade's Lochhead and G grade's Mitch Heney the only two riders to repeat their time trial grade wins and secure maximum points for the day.

Sunday morning's road race was held in much better weather with dry conditions. Some Ramblers team work in A grade saw Gary Hall take line honours for the stage and earn enough points to secure the tour title. Lochhead had to settle for second place in the stage in B grade but had done enough on day 1 to take the overall win. Dave Johnson repeated his Stage 2 win in C grade which saw him finish first overall, a solitary point ahead of Colin Rafferty. Lisa Atkins took her second stage win of the tour in D grade to easily win the grade by 10 points over Tony Hartley. The consistency of three second stage places saw Stu Mckie beat Kevin Hein to the E grade title by a single point. The top two riders in F grade were Hamish Waldin and Caroline Thomson who finished first and second in all three stages with Waldin's two stage wins enough to see him take first overall. The small G grade was dominated by Mitch Heney who won all three stages.

Racing this Saturday is on the Apley Road circuit from Puketapu School.

Thirty five riders competed in the 15.2km Swamp Road Individual Time Trial on Thursday evening. Andrew Townsend cracked the twenty minute barrier to record a time of 19m 52s at an average speed of 45.9km/h for the fastest time of the night.

Work mate Dan Warren just failed to average 45km/h for second place with a time of 20m 19s. In total, nine riders eclipsed the 40km/h average mark on the basically flat out and return course.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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