Hetherington Snatches Last Minute Victory
Concongella Campbells Bridge 53km Handicap
Sunday 26th August 2012
Scratch rider Rod Hetherington blasted past lone limit rider Meg Parnaby only one hundred metres from the line to snatch victory in the Grampians Vets fifty-three kilometre handicap last Sunday.
The race produced one of the most exciting finishes for the year, gradually building from the turn at Campbells Bridge with the last one third of the race to go.
At this point, time checks showed that limit rider Meg Parnaby was very close to expected handicap time, still with a bit over 8 minutes lead over scratch riders Hetherington, Peter Wemyss, Geoff Richards and Sean Prins. If both bunches maintained their current form then it was going to be touch and go who got up to win.
At this same point the second scratch riders Shaun Blackie, Dean Hayward, Les Dunn and Crystal Wemyss were about thirty seconds ahead of scratch, after losing a fair amount of time to them on the trip across from Greens Creek, but they then dug deep to resist being caught until ten kilometres to go.
With about six and a half kilometres to go, Parnaby’s lead had been cut to two and a half minutes, and after the very long uphill drag back through the outskirts of Stawell, to one minute, with the remaining four kilometres mostly downhill.
After repeated attacks on the hills into Stawell by Peter Wemyss, the chasing combined bunch had now dwindled to about four or five riders, and at first it seemed that Parnaby would have enough lead to stay clear.
However, the legs were already feeling like jelly after the long uphill climb, and the chasing riders were closing fast. Around the final turn with about seven hundred metres to go, Parnaby was only about 80 metres in front, and after putting up a very gallant effort was swamped by the chasing riders only 100 metres from the line.
Rod Hetherington shot past to take an effortless victory from Peter Wemyss, with Crystal Wemyss third.