The fourth round of the BikeFit Marlborough Summer Road Series took place on Tuesday evening with graded road races at Fairhall. The course included anti-clockwise laps of the Ben Morven circuit and then a finish up on the top of Marlborough Ridge Drive. A and B grades completed 4 laps, C grade 3 laps, and D grade 2 laps. Blustery NW conditions and the short and sharp hill climb to the finish line made for some good tactical racing throughout the grades. A common theme throughout all grades was an early split/break-up in the first 3 km with the head/cross wind taking its toll. The stronger riders in each grade generally making it to the left-hand turn into Paynters Road within their leading group.
The A grade saw plenty of attacks off the front from Brodie Catterick and Dylan Vile. Four riders remained in contention for the final sprint with Brodie Catterick using his superior form from racing in the recent Tour of Southland to claim the win. Jeremy McKenzie finished 3 seconds adrift for 2nd, and Sean O’Neill a further 3 seconds back for 3rd.
A large field of 17 riders in the B grade included an appearance top local rowers Ian Seymour and Tufi Sele of the Central Rowing Performance Centre. Sele unfortunately punctured early in the race forcing him to pull out. A strong lead group of 7 riders hit the Ridge climb and it was Seymour who took a tight sprint finish over Luc Cowley on the line. Junior rider Callum Caughey finished just 1 second behind for 3rd place. Michelle Gammie-Catterick was first woman home in 5thposition.
C grade also attracted a big field of 18 riders with a good mix of juniors/experienced masters/new senior-masters. It was the experienced junior riders who formed a 4 strong leading group early in the race that were able to stay away from the chasing groups and contend for line honours. Hugh Trollope took 1st place by 4 seconds over Niels van Antwerpen in 2nd and Ezra Wells in 3rd.
A smaller field in the D grade proved tough for the riders in the windy conditions. A lead group of three broke away and contested the finish. 11 year old Katie Batt stole the show with a fantastic sprint up the hill to claim 1st place with Brittany Lucas 16 seconds behind in 2nd and Lucy Trollope a further 5 seconds adrift in 3rd.
Full Results available here: