Cycling: Gough holds lead to take A grade honours

With three races left to complete the spring series 125 riders registered for the Heretaunga Building Society-powered Ramblers Cycling Club's racing on Saturday.

Starting from Puketapu School, graded road races saw E, F and G grades complete the flat Swamp Rd - Dump circuit while the A to D grades carried on to complete a lap anti-clockwise of the hilly Apley Rd circuit before finishing at the top of the small rise just past the school. Warm conditions with a strong north westerly wind greeted riders on the start line.

The small A grade field of 15 starters was quickly into racing mode. Once onto the Apley Rd circuit, the bunch fell apart into wind with Regan Gough leading the way. Despite strong efforts by last week's K2 second place getter Josh Page and Gary Hall, Gough held his lead to win by 17 seconds over Hall with Page fading to third. With the largest field of the day, the B grade saw yellow jersey wearer Patrick Barry awarded 15 series points for first place with the same time as Austin Mortimer as these two continued their tight tussle for series supremacy. Five points separate these two riders.

The Apley Rd circuit helped split up the C grade race with Andrew Pickering and Keith Burden leading the field home. Both riders recorded the same time with Pickering given the nod to secure his first win of the season.

D grade was dominated by the quartet of Noah Mason-Smith, Shane Louie, Douglas Young and Mark Riddell. Mason-Smith and Louie contested line honours. In his second race of the series, Mason-Smith made it two wins from two while Louie repeated his second placing of last week.

The E grade race saw Brent Chamberlain improve on his second place of last week over recent G grade rider James Medina with a large pack of riders hot on their heels.

Having to contend with the wind, the F grade field powered down Swamp Rd at speeds of over 50km/h to give riders in junior gears a good leg workout. However, with an uphill finish, it was the younger riders to the fore with Baylee Lingan and Nicholas Kelly involved in another close finish. This week's victory went to Lingan to make the series score two all between these riders in their one-two finishes but Kelly retains the series lead.

Sophie Chote retained her G grade series lead as she recorded a 2m 21s margin over second place finisher Bayley Stephens-Ellison.

The spring series continues on Saturday from the Arohanui Christian Centre in Havelock North on the Te Kura Road circuit.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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