Rising star prevails in sprint to claim memorial race win
Rising rider Riley Heslop was too slick for his rivals in the annual Ken Ingham Memorial Handicap, winning a tight sprint finish to claim the trophy last Saturday.
The Albany Cycling Club road race travels along South Coast Highway to Youngs Siding and return, with a difficult finish at the top of Balston Road hill.
One of the club’s marquee events, the race is named in honour of Squadron Leader Kenneth Ingham, a World War II pilot who was lost while on an anti-submarine patrol off the coast of Ceylon in 1944.
Thirteen riders fronted the starter on the top of Balston Road in four groups off 27, 18, six minutes and scratch, and headed west into a moderate headwind and a rough resurfaced South Coast Highway.
Five kilometres from the turn at Youngs Siding the 18-minute group of John Manson, Liz Cooper and Paul Terry had caught front markers Lucy Wellstead and Shirley Thurston.
Behind them the six-minute ‘chopping block’ group of Brent Schoof, Mike Gardiner, Matt Bascombe, Jim Watmore and David Beckwith worked well in rotation into the solid headwind to try and keep the scratch markers Heslop, Brett Dal Pozzo and Beau LeFort at bay.
The catch was made just before the turn and on the race home LeFort launched an attack on the long southbound stretch of the Lower Denmark Road and managed to get a 100m break on the group.
Strong riding from Dal Pozzo and Heslop reeled him in and they dropped the rest of the group in the process.
The three scratch riders caught the frontrunners by Rutherford Road and only had John Manson, who had dropped his group earlier in a very strong display, in their sights.
After being passed by scratch, Manson stayed out on his own until the final turn onto Roundhay when he was passed by the remnants of the chopping block group, Schoof, Gardiner and Bascombe.
Dal Pozzo continued his strong ride at the front, dropping LeFort and leading Heslop up to the Balston Road climb but young legs prevailed in the sprint as Heslop won by 12 seconds on the line.
Heslop stopped the clock at 1hr 44min. 11sec. at an average speed of 39.3km/h, in the fastest time of the day.
A gallant LeFort was a further 96sec. back in 1:45.37 followed by Schoof (1:46.51) and Gardiner (1:46.52) while Bascombe (1:48.02) did well on a course not ideally suited to his size. Manson rode strongly to record 1:48.27 and Cooper continued her excellent form to be the first female home in 1:49.58.
Racing will be on again on Saturday, May 29 from 2pm with the Ralph Flowers Hill Climb.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails