Race Report – Presidents Cup 10 October 2015 Casuarina

The final race of the road race season is the President’s Cup a handicap race, were everybody is racing over the same six laps of the 8.5km Casuarina circuit. Their start time was determined, by their race grade, with the intention of everybody finishing together.

Last year, the race was won by 78 year old Ken Portman, who cut 4 minutes off his previous time, to win convincingly. Portman was back to defend his title and was going to need to beat his last year’s time to win. Portman was joined on the start line by the only slightly younger Derek Crowther and the much younger Calum Milne. On the first lap Milne, only a junior could not keep pace with the more experienced riders and was dropped. Milne showed perseverance to complete the gruelling race. Within a couple a laps, it became apparent Portman was not going to repeat his win this year, as Crowther rode away from him.

Last years winner Ken Portman and so close this year Derek Crowther

Last years winner Ken Portman and so close this year Derek Crowther photo by Colin Rose

Ten minutes later D grade started, unfortunately the group did not communicate well and after a fast first lap, the bunch disintegrated on the next lap. Leaving riders scattered all over the course. While there was not a lot of talking in C grade, it was a much more workman like performance as the group put in some solid times, while only shedding a few riders.

Only 50 years age difference between and Jordan Dawson in C grade photo

Only 50 years age difference between Ron McArthur (front) and Jordan Dawson in C grade photo by Colin Rose

The biggest group of the day was B grade, which made their bunch uncoordinated. While they were slowly gaining on C, by the halfway point it looked unlikely they would catch them. Meanwhile, A grade set a blistering pace in excess of 42 kilometres an hour for the first three laps to catch B grade on the fourth lap. The pace slowed for A, but picked up for B. With one and half laps to go, Luke Pledger and Wade Longworth attacked up a slight rise. The bunch did not chase and the pair rode away.

Wade Longworth (front) and Luke Pledger making the race winning attack

Wade Longworth (front) and Luke Pledger making the race winning attack photo by Colin Rose

Pledger and Longworth, caught C grade with less than a lap to go, and while some riders tried to hang on, some with more success than others. Pledger and Longworth just rode them off their wheels. With only a couple of kilometres to go, the pair caught and passed Crowther who had ridden most the race alone. In the end Pledger just rode away to take the win, with Longworth second.

The bunch had now swelled to over 30 riders, with a mix of A, B and C grade riders, they caught Crowther in sight of the finish. In the sprint for minor placings it was Conor Leahy third and Ben Blacklock forth.

Luke Pledger receives the Presidents Cup from Race Director Adam Wise

Luke Pledger receives the Presidents Cup from Race Director Adam Wise