Last Saturday was the annual President’s Cup Handicap run over six laps of the 8.7 kilometre Casuarina circuit. Unlike graded racing were riders race against riders of similar ability. A handicap has all riders racing together, with their start time based on their ability. If the handicapper gets it right all riders should finish together.
The last group of riders to start is known as scratch, in the past they have completed the 52 kilometres in a little over one hour and ten minutes averaging close to 45 kilometres an hour. Which means all the riders know how fast they need to ride to avoid being caught by scratch and hopefully catch the riders in front.
Halfway through the race, with three laps to go, the 18 minute group were in the lead, they had lost a couple of their riders, but still had close to nine minutes over scratch. Behind them was a bunch of 25 to 30 riders. There were five groups between three and ten minutes, early in the race some hard riding by the three minute group saw them catch the group ahead, with twice the number of riders working, they easily caught the next group gaining more strength and they keep going. They were gaining on the leaders and staying clear of the bunch behind.
The two minute group could not close the gap to the big group, but scratch was closing on them.
The next lap saw scratch catch the two minute group, and the margins between the remaining groups close.
With a lap to go the four riders in the front had two minutes on the big group, with scratch a further forty seconds back. With about four kilometres to go scratch caught the big group and attacked, dropping a number of riders from the now combined group. However, ihere were still 25 riders, lead by scratch chasing down the four leaders. As the four leaders were about to turn on to Orton Road one kilometre from the finish they were caught.
Clint Thompson took the opportunity to attack from the bunch. The other riders hesitated and that was all Thompson need to take the win. Stephen Hall chased hard for second with Matthew Wardynec third.
Jay Lindorff was the first Peel Districts Cycling Club member home in fifth, secures the President’s Cup with fellow members Paul Prottey and Alastair Evans in close pursuit and all three will be receiving be rewarded at the end of the season