Hetherington Takes Out Memorial
Greg Smith Memorial Handicap
Sunday 1st May 2011
Visiting Ballarat rider Rod Hetherington blasted to the front 100 metres from the line to take out the Grampians Vets Greg Smith Memorial handicap, held over a 60 kilometre course near Horsham last Sunday.
With visiting riders from Ballarat and Bendigo boosting local numbers, a good field of 26 riders lined up in mild, calm conditions, ideal for racing.
First away off twenty-two and a half minutes were Shirley Hetherington, Jason Logan and Merv Thompson, followed six minutes later by Tony Rathgeber, Damian Rabl and Meg Parnaby. These two bunches made good time early on, but some strong turns by Rathgeber ensured the gap closed quickly so that the two bunches came together with about 20 kilometres to go.
Further back, the 5 minute riders Danny Monaghan, Sean Prins, Dean Johns, Rod Hetherington, Shane Wall and Daryl Elliott had set a searing pace from the start, and had picked up the 7 minute riders Glenn Ford, Crystal Wemyss, Brian Howlett, Drew Heard and Gerard O’Brien about a third of the way into the race, then charged on to gather up the 10 minute riders Alan Barnett, Dean Logan, Richard Clarke and Tom Eldridge by the half way point.
This large combined bunch then made the job of the scratch riders Dennis Kelly, Paul Dynon, Glenn Farrow, David Hair and Rick McIntosh much harder. Although scratch had reduced their deficit by almost half at the mid point of the race, they only gained slowly thereafter.
With nine kilometres to go, the combined five, seven and 10 minute bunches caught the leading riders, bringing the whole field together bar the chasing scratch riders.
With the pace gearing up well out from the line, Rod Hetherington used his vast experience to time his charge to perfection, hitting the front about 100 metres from the line, and taking out the win from Sean Prins. A gutsy effort by Crystal Wemyss stole her third place on the line from Donald rider Shane Wall.
Scratch finished soon after with Dennis Kelly taking out the sprint for fastest time ahead of Bendigo rider Paul Dynon, in a time of 1 hour 30 minutes and 14 seconds, averaging 40kph.
This set a new course record, beating the previous one held by Rod Hetherington by about 32 seconds.