Mayo Survives Tough Finish
Concongella Morrl Morrl Handicap
Sunday 13th May 2012
Ararat cyclist Peter Mayo toughed out the cool blustery conditions last Sunday to take out the difficult 58 kilometre Grampians Vets Concongella Morrl Morrl handicap.
With some riders battling various stages of colds, and others a bit low on training, an eventful race saw frequent changes in fortune for the various bunches.
Mayo headed off with fellow limit riders Meg Parnaby, John McIntyre and Shirley Hetherington, but only got a few kilometres down the road before Hetherington pulled out, succumbing to the effects of her cold. With one rider down so early in the race, the limit riders were going to be battling to hold off the chasing riders, and at the half way mark had lost three and a half of their five and a half minute start over the eleven minute riders Drew Heard, Tony Rathgeber and Laura White.
At this point, the eleven minute riders had made good time, and were still six minutes in front of the scratch riders Peter Wemyss, Danny Monaghan, Dean Hayward, Rod Hetherington, Sean Prins and Crystal Wemyss, but with the homeward journey all head wind, a situation favouring the backmarkers, things looked likely to change.
Ten kilometres later, with the riders back onto the Navarre road, the eleven minute riders were closing in fast on the limit riders, and caught them not too much further down the road, while the scratch riders had reduced their deficit to four minutes.
However with seventeen kilometres to go, Crystal Wemyss punctured, and another four kilometres up the road scratch lost another rider when Danny Monaghan's cold finally caught up with him, leaving the bunch severely depleted.
With ten kilometres to go the combined limit and eleven minute riders were still working well, and even though scratch was now only 2 minutes behind, their speed was slowing noticably. With five kilometres to go, the leading riders looked like they would stay clear, but another two kilometres later they started to break up, with scratch also loosing another man.
With all the bunches fragmenting over the final few kilometres, and riders strung out along the road, Drew Heard and Peter Mayo made a break for the line, managing to hold off a final charge from scratch rider Peter Wemyss, for Mayo to take out the race. Wemyss finished 15 seconds later, with Rod Hetherington crossing the line third.
Peter Wemyss recorded the fastest race time of 1 hour 35 minutes.