Strong win for Dal Pozzo after mastering gravel roads to win Albany Cycle Club’s Lowlands bash

Albany Advertiser
Riders at the start of the Lowlands Gravel Bash.
Camera IconRiders at the start of the Lowlands Gravel Bash. Credit: Albany Cycle Club

Brett Dal Pozzo produced another impressive display, claiming top honours in Albany Cycle Club’s Lowlands Gravel Bash last Saturday.

Despite the solid rainfall during the week, road conditions were exceptional.

Slightly tacky, smooth, brilliant gravel that no one could have any cause to complain about. All the squealing about bikes and grit and whatever evaporated away as competitors flooded to participate in an awesome event on the roads around Lowlands Beach.

Quite simply, it was a spectacular day to be on the gravel bike in the countryside, racing around, maxing out heart rates and maxing out wattages.

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Featuring a mass start at the car park overlooking Lowlands Beach, racers descended on the gravel before hitting the short bitumen climb that lead to Francis Road, through the Munda Biddi single track back to Thompson Road, and another left turn to complete the square — a smidge over 10km per lap, of which there were three.

This year’s start had the feel of the pro-peloton’s neutral zone, a measured pace before the commissaire waved the red flag and it was pedals to the metal.

At this point the front of the race split into distinct groups, dominated by the gravel bikes.

The front five — Dal Pozzo, Greg Newton, Mike Staude, Brent Schoof and Matt Bascombe — opened up a gap on the following group of Jimmy Watmore, David Beckwith, Marius Coetzer, Steven Lee and Brendan Holmes.

Brett Turbill dallied with the second group for a while before finding a more comfortable pace with following riders including Alex Poulton and Dave Warren.

Behind the sea of gravel bikes, the mountain bikes of club sponsor Brad Smithson, Liz Cooper, Keith Symes, Jill Bascombe and Ted Lord battled for fat tyre supremacy.

Smithson took the honours at an average speed of 25.5km/h, with Cooper claiming second in that category and also the fastest female on a mountain bike.

Shirley Thurston was the fastest woman on a gravel bike.

Having established a healthy gap on the second group, the front five held together for most of the three laps before Dal Pozzo, eased his way off the front with about 4km to go to take the win at an average speed of 31.2km/h.

Schoof and Matt Bascombe, both of whom had been ‘bounced’ in recent sprints kept their wits about them and stayed up-sun to take second and third respectively, and relegate their erstwhile foes to podium onlookers.

The only minor drama of the day came in the second group on lap two when Watmore lost his front wheel in a sandy section but fortunately made a soft landing and was able to carry on and finish, taking out the super-veteran category, albeit at a slightly reduced pace.

The ACC thanked Impulse Cycles for their sponsorship of the event and marshals Keith Symes, Simon Barrett, John Manson, Vince Bascombe, Jim Lie and Tammy Stone who set out and collected the signs, manned the start-finish and ensured that all racers stayed on course.

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