Hume Veterans Cycling Club’s 2018 season finally got under way last Sunday at Benalla for the 21st running of the Anniversary Handicap.
The club was joined by three members from GV Vets and one from Central Vets for the first of the 2018 season of combined Hume/GV Vets racing.
The Hume region’s new handicapper had three groups, with scratch having five riders chasing middle markers at 7minutes and the lone limit man at 30minutes.
This year’s race was contested in extreme conditions; the wind increased in strength throughout the race to hit speeds of close to 40km/h as the race concluded on Samaria Rd.
The 48km race, from Benalla to Tatong and Moorngag and then back to Benalla via Mt Pleasant, had many tree branches littering the roads due to the strong winds.
Middle markers were weakened as they went one man down, and scratch split at Tatong. Despite the splits in the groups, the three remaining scratch riders caught the middle-markers at Moorngag.
At this point limit man Morris was still 10min ahead, and with 15km to go it was set to be a close finish.
However, the winds took their toll on the single rider and scratch caught him with one kilometre to go.
With only three men going for the finish line, even their sprint was affected by the winds as each held back until the last moment. Albury’s Steve Kilpatrick forged to the front 100m from the finish line to hold off Matt Grealy and Dave Boonzaayer, each at one second.
Limit man Tony Morris held on for fourth and Nev Laffy came back strongly to take fifth with Peter McClellend taking the main bunch sprint.
Along with the win, Kilpatrick also took out fastest time with an average speed of 42.92km/h — which, considering the weather conditions, was exceptional.
Results: 1 Steve Kilpatrick (scr) 1.07 (42.92km/h); 2 Matt Grealy (scr); 3 David Boonzaayer (scr); 4 Tony Morris (30); 5 Neville Laffy (scr); 6 Peter McClellend (7); 7 Ian Strang (7); 8 John Milburn (scr); 9 Geoff Morley (7).
Fastest time: Steve Kilpatrick (scr) 1.07 (42.92km/h).
The next Hume club race will be on Sunday, April 15 at Yarrawonga, 53km handicap.
Next combined race: Sunday, April 8 at Dookie, 52km handicap.
Hume club race entries close 9pm on the Friday prior to race date.
●For membership details and/or inquiries, phone Ashley O’Farrell on (02)60408583 or 0422508645 or check the website www.humeveterans.com.au for details.