Kelly Storms Arapiles for Narrow Win
Greg Smith Memorial Handicap - Mt Arapiles
Sunday 6th May 2012
Horsham cyclist Dennis Kelly stormed to the top of Mount Arapiles last Sunday to snatch victory in the final few hundred metres of the Grampians Vets Greg Smith Memorial handicap.
One of the highlight events on the annual race calendar, the course was changed this year to start on the outskirts of Horsham, and make its way via Noradjuha to the top of Mount Arapiles, a distance of about 42 kilometres to the base of the mountain, followed by a testing 4 kilometre climb to the finish line.
In the dead calm conditions, Kelly, along with fellow scratch riders Shane Clarke and visiting Maryborough rider Daryl Stewart, had their work cut out to make up their three minute thirty second deficit over the strong second scratch bunch of Steve Monks, Wayne Klauss, Peter Wemyss and Danny Monaghan. After the first 25 kilometres out to Noradjuha, they remained 2 minutes behind second scratch, with third scratch riders Shaun Blackie, Crystal Wemyss, Rod Hetherington and Geoff Richards a further 30 seconds up ahead.
At this point the limit riders Meg Parnaby, Peter Mayo and Shirley Hetherington were still ten minutes in front of scratch.
However, soon after Noradjuha, second scratch rider Peter Wemyss punctured. Ten kilometres later, the nine and a half minute riders Drew Heard, Gerard O’Brien and John Hunt also lost Daryl Elliott with a puncture, but picked up 16 minute rider Alan Barnett.
At the bottom of the climb, the limit riders still had a one and a half minute lead over the nine and a half minute riders, with all the other bunches each thirty seconds behind the bunch in front.
Once on the climb, though, all the bunches soon disintegrated, with the climbers starting to come to the fore.
Giving the limit riders a three minute start, Kelly immediately showed his class, flashing past riders as if they were standing still. Nearing the top, Meg Parnaby was still in the lead, with Steve Monks and Crystal Wemyss doing battle a little further back. However Kelly was gaining rapidly, first passing Monks and Wemyss, and then finally reeling in Parnaby in the last few hundred metres.
Kelly took out the race in a time of one hour, twelve minutes and twenty six seconds, an average speed of about 38kph, including the long steep climb at the end. Meg Parnaby finished twenty seconds behind, with Crystal Wemyss just holding off Steve Monks for third place, another ten seconds further back.