Hot weather greets riders

PODIUM: Winner Miles Latty, third Niel van Niekerk, fastest time Jami Buckly, second place Craig Andrae. Picture: SUBMITTED

AFTER race 6 of the Mount Gambier Cycling Club’s season was abandoned earlier last week due to low entry numbers, with a combination of a long weekend and the forecast high temperatures possibly the reason, 13 riders signed on for the seventh race of the Brew Summer Series.

Adelaide’s Miles Latty joined the group for the race after taking part in the HPV Super Series at MacNamara Park the day before.

The Summer Series race lived up to its moniker as riders were greeted by high 20-degrees temperature and an easterly wind that would provide a headwind or crosswind for all but the final four kilometres of the race along Caves Road towards the border and back to Yahl.

First riders away were Jen Buckland, Michael Dethmore and Troy Mustey, given a six-minute head start over Spek Peake, Mike Bakker and Ethan McKenny.

Elmer Buckland, Miles Latty and Craig Andrae waited a further two minutes before being given their orders to chase, followed another five minutes later by Niel van Niekerk – back on the road after his success at the Track National Championships earlier in the month – and Tim Koopman.

Finally, after a four-minute wait, the final pairing of Jami Buckley and Scott Waters were given their leave to depart, 17 minutes after the first riders had left.

As the riders headed down on their first leg towards the border, Latty, Elmer Buckland and Andrae quickly had the group ahead of them in their sight and were able to make the catch within 8km.

However, soon after, Buckland was forced to abandon the race with his recurring chest issue, leaving Latty, Andrae and Peake – who had joined them as they surged past – to continue the chase of those ahead.

The turn onto Border Road, as well as after the turnaround allowed the riders the chance to see how quickly they were eating into the gap ahead of them.

Jen Buckland, Dethmore and Musty were working strongly in front, but the gap was quickly dropping to those behind them and it looked like it would be a tight finish.

Once the riders began their ride back towards Yahl and at the turn back onto Caroline Road for the final 16km, it was becoming clear Andrae and Latty, after Peake was dropped off, were in a position to catch the riders ahead, but would need to work hard to hold off the riders behind.

Van Niekerk and Koopman continued to ride strongly, keeping the chasing duo of Buckley and Waters at arms length.

With about 8km to the finish line, Andrae and Latty powered past the leading group of Musty, Jen Buckland and Dethmore and while Musty tried to hold their wheel as they passed, he quickly realised they were too strong and eased back to work with his group.

Latty was able to outsprint Andrae coming toward the finish line and had enough time to look back and celebrate his victory as he crossed the line, with Andrae following 14 seconds later.

With the finish line in sight, Dethmore and Musty were daring to dream, only to have to contend with Van Niekerk flying past them to take third place, with Buckley claiming fastest time.

The next race on the calendar, on March 24, is a 20km race along the Overland Track, followed by a 2km climb up the eastern side of Range Hill to the finish.