Strong showing in Albany Cycle Club’s Redmond Gravel Handicap as Turbill takes first victory

Albany Advertiser
Shirley Thurston, Brett Turbill and Alex Poulton.
Camera IconShirley Thurston, Brett Turbill and Alex Poulton. Credit: Albany Cycle Club

The Albany Cycle Club held its Redmond Gravel Handicap on Saturday, June 24, in glorious conditions.

The roads were so good that competitors who opted for road bikes, as opposed to gravel or mountain bikes, were at no disadvantage.

The 41km course along Hunwick Road, Norton Road and Redmond Road West was nearly 90 per cent gravel and lumpy enough to put some hurt into the legs of the 20 racers who contested the event.

Alternative event formats such as this gravel race and the fondo-style gravel courses continue to prove very popular.

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A highlight of this event was the number of new and returning riders.

As a handicap race, riders are grouped according to ability with the aim of having all riders arrive at the finish about the same time.

With the field split into seven groups ranging in size from four through to one, riders were sent on their way from the start line at roughly the mid-point of Hunwick Road.

The ‘go’ group of Shirley Thurston, Brett Turbill, Lucy Wellstead and Jill Bascombe had a six-minute start on the next group of Paul Terry, Phil Stan-Bishop and newcomer Alex Poulton, who confessed to “riding a bit” — that turned out to be a bit of an understatement.

Right from the start these two groups set a pace that was going to be hard for the following riders to overcome.

At 10 minutes another newcomer, Zachary Van, led his group of four away from the line and rapidly reduced it to two, with only Paul Gibson able to hold his wheel.

On 14 minutes Brendan Holmes benefited from his decision to go with a road bike and rode away from his partner and scooped up most other riders on his way around the course, expertly guiding the skinny tyres around the few potholes.

On paper, the 18-minute group of Brent Schoof, Mike Staude, Greg Newton and returning member Josh Dallimore looked very likely to produce the winner.

Working cohesively, they got around the course at just a shade under 32km/h, with Newton showing off his fast legs to lead them home, but they weren’t fast enough to take the win, with the top three already sipping on a cup of tea.

The last two groups to go were Camrin Maguire teaming up with Vince Bascombe, and finally Brett Dal Pozzo riding solo.

For Maguire, the distance was probably at least 100km too short and he had barely warmed up before it was all over.

Vince Bascombe and Dal Pozzo zipped around the course in 35km/h and 36km/h respectively but even they weren’t quick enough to erase the deficit.

Turbill took his first win by half a wheel from Thurston in a ferocious sprint to the line, while Poulton was third in his first race for the club.

The ACC thanked volunteers for the signs, manning the start-finish line and marshalling the corners.

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