Photo: Rachel Harris
A total of 41 riders signed on for the first night of the Cycling Otago Monday Race Series. Held on the short but challenging Salisbury Circuit on the Taieri the race represents a new idea on the Cycling Otago Calendar.
This race series aims at giving riders in Otago consistent and competitive racing each week, and at the same time introducing newer members to bunch riding and tactics of racing on a shorter circuit based course.
What was fantastic for the Club is that out of the 35 senior riders 13 are new or not yet members, highlighting the interest in promoting a series of this nature, in length, location and Monday night format.
If the racing on the first night is any sign of the weeks to come we are in for an exciting series.
The A grade riders set off at a fast pace for their seven laps of the circuit, and repetitive early attacks were quickly chased down. Mid race a group of three got away, but into the false flat up School and Hazlett Roads the pace from the chasing group was too much so it was brought all back together for a bunch kick. Kees Duyvesten took the first win of the series in the A Grade.
B Grade consistently worked as a group with some strong efforts by Stew Thomas as he tried to animate things in the race. Again this grade was a settled in a sprint for the line with Ewan Syme going from long distance to take the win.
C Grade stayed together for the first part of the race and then splintered with riders coming across the line in groups at the end of the five laps. Todd Redpath taking the win.
In the development grade, a grade focused on rider’s participation and group riding skills the riders set off with the juniors, as they were both doing the same distance. The juniors quickly settled into a rhythm and stretched the bunch out, the development grade splintered, but all enjoyed the challenge.
Thirza Smith showed her strength winning the junior race. Jody Syme had a blinder to finish in 2nd with Grace Hurring 3rd and Mila Rollo 4th. Sarah Ford rode well for 5th place.
While there was a really good feel on the first night of racing there is an issue that must be addressed if we are going to get the real rewards of this series.
Safety is a priority in the racing series and there is a set of rules that must be followed for the races to both run and the STMS obligations met.
These were explained clearly at the race briefing.
The main concern is riders’ crossing the centerline during the race, and on the first night a rider was disqualified when this was pointed out to the race organisers.
It is your responsibility as a rider to maintain control over your bike and stay on the left of the center line at all times during the racing, as there are requirements for the club to gain STMS and run the event, as these are not closed roads for our racing.
Today the road committee have been talking to address this issue and to set a precedent for the racing going forward so that it can continue in the spirit that is intended and for the best benefit for all.
There was a photographer on course last night, and in reviewing these photographs, and in the interest of fairness, a number of other riders also had crossed the centerline.
The road committee has reviewed these photographs and have decided that these riders also must be disqualified from the race, and any points gained for placing not to be awarded has made the decision. These decisions are reflected in the Series Spreadsheet attached.
For all future races it is a responsibility for each rider to maintain himself or herself and stay left of the centerline during the race.
In racing there are occasions where riders unintentionally cross the centerline but if a rider blatantly or intentionally moves across the centerline during the race it is the responsibility of the other riders to report this to the race organisers ON THE NIGHT so that this can be dealt with by the manager(s) and discretion will lie with the manager once the situation has been explained.
Riders can self-manage this in the bunch reminding those who cross over to stay left.
In addition to this if there is a photographer on course during the racing, these photographs may be reviewed to understand the context of the infringing if appropriate. This again is in the interest of safety and the obligations to the event organization.
This is an issue that has huge consequences, but one that does not need to cause harm to the spirit and idea of the race series.
We are actively seeking a resolution in the rules of CNZ and also with STMS to better understand the position of the finishing sprint and once we know what the most current and supported position is we will, as a committee put them into practice for the series.
We are very much looking forward to how this series develops and the kind of excitement that was shown last night is a reflection of the value of these kinds of events.
See you all next week….and bring a friend too.
Full results for the first night of racing are here….