Upper Hutt Cossie Club Tour de Whitemans
The day dawned slightly overcast and cool for the final event in the PNP Packn’Sav Summer Road Series, the Upper Hutt Cossie Club Tour de Whitemans. The onset of autumn saw slightly reduced numbers with a total of 75 riders across both the Medio and Grand Fondo events. The course promised to be cracker with multiple climbs up the gut busting 8% average Blue mountains Road (two for the Medio Fondo and four for the Grand Fondo).
Following the neutral rollout from the Upper Hutt Cossie Club, the Medio Fondo started with a hiss and roar with the early pace reflecting the optimism of youth. The peloton had barely left the neutral area when a sequence of attacks and counter attacks were sparked by the U19 contingent, mixing it up were Josh Turnbull, Freddy Dossor, Liam Carson, Stanley Riddle and Toby Braun with Zoe Perry showing her trackie awareness by cruising wheels in their wake.
The early changes in pace were hurting the more mature riders so some crusty older guys including Andrew Ivory, and Greg Cundy made their presence felt taking turns to establish a high but steady pace discouraging any more escape attempts. There were still 30 riders in the lead bunch that arrived at the bottom of the Blue Mountains climb for the first ascent but this is where the pressure went on. Steve Chapman drifted to the front and set a solid pace that started to whittle down the group.
At the top of the climb Chapman, Turnbull and Carson crested alone with a Tarbabies chase group of Gavin Cho, Geo Snelling and Ric van Weede 30 seconds back. After a short chase down the valley the six merged and began working together to consolidate their lead. This team work continued until the foot of Blue Mountains for the final climb when Liam Carson put in a solid attack and quickly pulled away.
As the gap grew it became apparent that Carson might be able to take the win so Chapman set off alone in chase. Carson cleared the top of Blue Mountains 1min in front of Chapman with another minute back to Turnbull and the Tarbabies crew. From here it was on the rivet for all to either evade or chase. Carson was able to extend his lead over Chapman taking the win comfortably. Chapman held on for second a minute 39 back and Snelling took the chase bunch sprint for third. It was a great result for U19 rider Carson in only his second road race and the ride by 15 year old Turnbull to take 4th was pretty impressive as well.
The pace was understandably steady in the early stages of the Grand Fondo with riders facing four daunting climbs up the Blue Mountains Road. This didn’t stop Kerrin Allwood taking an optimistic flyer soon after the flag dropped hoping to get a head start up the first climb. He was a third of the way up before the peloton reeled him in.
The peloton remained relatively intact for the first lap. Matt Webb-Smith made a number of forays off the front trying to break it up. Towards the end of the first lap he got away taking Toby Fuller and Maxwell Wickens with him. The second time up the climb saw Brendan McGrath bridge over to the front three. Once over the climb the bunch rallied and set about a furious chase along the valley floor. The front quartet was pulled in at the top of the valley. Just a few kms later Webb-Smith attacked again just before Wallaceville Hill. McGrath and Boston Bright set about a chase through the back streets of Upper Hutt.
At the start of the third climb, Webb-Smith held a 30 second lead over McGrath and Bright. McGrath was able to catch Webb-Smith on the climb and the two were able to put a significant amount of time into the bunch on the third lap.
The final lap saw McGrath surge away from Webb-Smith up the climb and increase the gap through to the finish taking a well-earned win. Webb-Smith maintained his rhythm through the valley and finished second three minutes back. Back in the much reduced peloton a trio of U19 riders Bright, Wickens and Camden Feint put the hammer down and shot off the front on the final climb. Craig Chambers set off in pursuit. Once he caught Bright and Feint he convinced them to work. They were able to hold off the pursing bunch through Whitemans Valley and catch Maxwell who had made an earlier bid for third place. In a well fought out sprint for the finish at the top of Wallaceville Hill Bright was able to take third place followed by Feint, Wickens and Chambers. Great effort from all concerned on a tough course.
The overall series winner in the Medio Fondo for Women was Renita Vanderhelm followed by Elizabeth Tomlinson in second and Juliette Lister in third. For the Men, Joshua Turnbull took out the series with Nicholas Dunn in second and Glenn Owen in third.
In the Grand Fondo Series Dave Rowlands took the overall win with three race wins. He was followed in second by Brendan McGrath with Steve Bale in third. For the women Natalie Howell took out the series with two race wins with Viv Collier in second and Holly Barclay in third.
The Onslow Tarbabies, with a series of great results, were well deserved winners of the teams’ competition with 1076 points. They were followed by GP Meo (752 points), Bayleys Racing Team (644 points) and Rivet Racing (406 points).
Thanks to Pakn’Sav Petone for sponsoring the entire Summer Road Series along with valuable support from the Infinity Trust Foundation, Pelorus Trust, the New Zealand Racing Board, the New Zealand Community Trust, Mainfreight, The Village Café, and the Upper Hutt Cossie Club. Without the support from sponsors the series would not have been possible.
Thanks to all participants. See you all next season