Great Northern Combine race on the weekend. The John Sewell Memorial Handicap presented by the Brunswick Cycling Club drew a full-house by the Wednesday prior, and the trash talking had begun early.
Soawyer, Duggan and D'alfonso managed to get entries. However with D'alfonso pulling a Mills and forgetting a wheel, and then a helmet on the drive up, it was left to Soawyer and Duggan to hold the fort for TDR.
Soawyer was off 9 minutes. Duggan off 7 minutes. The 5 minute bunch looked very strong and we didn't hold out much hope of holding off scratch either.
|This guy won the sock competition. Easy.|
The 7 minute group worked well together for the majority of the first lap, with people only starting to miss turns after about 20 km.
|9 minute bunch working hard. Soawyer never far from the front|
We rounded the 9 minute bunch up and the pace slowed, with lots of stragglers hanging on. The pace dropped dramatically, and after a bit of chat about not wanting to get caught, Soawyer attacked with Duggan on his wheel and managed to shake the chaff off the back of the bunch.
|Paddy Mc started with Soawyer in the 9 minute bunch and finished well for 10th|
Last lap and we catch the 13 minute bunch at a rail crossing. Someone yells "Scratch is on us!" and it's on. It's actually the 5 minute bunch and they filter to the front as the stronger riders try to maintain good position in the now enormous bunch. Soawyer drags Duggan up and drops him off into a good position for the sprint finish. Duggan goes marginally early and is pipped by half a wheel on the line by BCC's Ian Clarke.
Wait, why are they needing to get placings down to 20th? Turns out about 1/3 of the field has been disqualified for white line infringements cornering. This was a message to riders to tighten behaviour up before the 3DT this week.
Unfortunate, but definitely required. We're happy to cop one if it ensures the longevity of the Combine.