Blue skies were a welcome change from the previous edition of this race and a strong field lined up for the contest. Numbers were down slightly due to several of the Murwillumbah CC riders competing up the Coast but all in attendance were treated to some great racing.
With no A Grade riders, B Grade got to strut their stuff and lit up the course after a couple of riders almost missed the Start.There were a couple of mid-race surges that threatened to split the field but these were neutralised and all came back together until the Bell Lap. As the group was coming upthe last climb, Craig Morley (GCCC) broke away Connor Gibney (BBCC) hot on his heels but unable to catch him, a two-way sprint for between David Boutkan & Ritchie Duncan ensued with David edging Ritchie out to take 3rd Place. B Grade covered 52.5km in 1:35:00 giving the Winner an average speed of 33.15kph or a little over 13 1/2 minutes per lap (7.5km).
C Grade was the largest of the Grades with 11 Starters who managed to stay together for the first 3 of their 5 laps before the cracks started to appear. BBC young gun Ben Hogan got off the front with Johnny Nicholls (MCC) and Neil Scott to form a 3 man breakaway on the 4th Lap with the rest of the riders fighting to get back on. A second group of 5 formed but couldn’t catch the break and the lift in tempo dwindled the chasers down to 3 riders on the last lap. With the carnage done, it was up to the leaders to sort out the podium and young fresh legs won the day with Ben taking the top step, Neil Scott putting in on the finish straight for 2nd and Johnny content to take 3rd. A 3 way sprint for 4th place was testament to how much the riders relished the challenge. C Grade complete 5 Laps for a total of 37.5km with an average of 31.69kph or about 14 1/4 minutes per lap.
With a small field of D & E Grades, the two were set off together with D completing 3 Laps while E only 2. It started sedately enough but it wasn’t long before form started to show. Denise Bennett (BBCC) rode away from from the rest of D Grade to a commanding position on the first Lap with Jeffrey Finnigan (MCC) also getting off the front but not able to get across. Leaving Belinda Caldwell & Cameron Johnston (both BBC) on their own. Meanwhile in E Grade, first timer Bernard Thomas (BBC) also rode off the front of his grade marker, Richard Brown (BBC), to leave them each to ride the course on their own. Denise managed to gain almost 4 minutes on Jeffrey to take 1st Place with a fast finishing Cameron & Belinda contesting a sprint for 3rd with Belinda emerging the victor by a tyre width. Bernard took out E Grade 3 1/2 minutes in front of Richard.
A few riders caught the attention of the Handicapper and raised a couple of eyebrows with a further sorting in the wind.
A big thanks to all the volunteers and and Marshals and a special thanks to Dave Scully from BBCC for acting as a Traffic Controller and Garry Creighton as Chief Commissaire, without all of whom we would’ve been unable to race.