Round 8 of the BikeFit Marlborough Summer Road Series was raced on Tuesday evening in mild conditions with a brisk easterly wind. The graded road race on the Benmorven circuit with Marlborough Ridge hill top finish was well supported by riders returning from the Christmas/New Year break.
Several riders changed grades from where they were racing pre-Christmas which made for some different dynamics within the four grades A to D.
The A grade 41km event turned quickly into an interesting race with an early break of two riders off the front. Top performer in recent months Brodie Catterick was not a part of this early break but he eventually bridged the gap on his own to then push on with Jeremy McKenzie at the front. The chasing group of Sean O’Neill, Gerard van Antwerpen, and Nick Batt were not able to make any headway on the leading group and Catterick took the line honours by 5 secs from McKenzie, and O’Neill lead in the chase group 1min42secs further back.
The B grade race also over 41km saw the field stay intact for the majority of the race save for two riders who were dropped. The strongest three riders up the Marlborough Ridge finishing climb were Luc Cowley in 1st, Dave Grono in 2nd, and Brent Ackroyd in 3rd.
The C grade field was the largest of the night with 18 riders and they also largely held together for the duration of their 32km race. This grade is a real melting pot of ages and experience with junior riders as young as 13 years old to masters riders either with only a few races under their belts or some wily racers with 20 to 50 years racing experience. The hill finish really went in favour of the younger and lighter junior riders with Niels van Antwerpen taking a convincing win by 12 secs from Sam Morgan and a further 2 secs back to Joel Madsen-Clark.
The small D grade field tackled a 23km distance and saw the rivalry between Katie Batt and Brittany Lucas continue, with Batt too strong on the hill finish taking the win from Lucas by 43 secs and Christine Dew took 3rd place.
Full results can be found here: