Nicholas Lawler retained his tight grip on the Henk and Marg Stoffers trophy by sprinting to victory yet again this morning. The uphill finish to Ferguson Falls Winery was testing but he managed to overcome his younger Satalyst team mate, Bryce and take the win for a record third time.

The slightly shorter circuit proved challenging enough for most and made it difficult for the handicap groups to get into a rhythm. The limit markers were always going to struggle to reign in the enthusiasm of the young guns with Harrison, Lowan and Josh putting the group under pressure each time they went to the front. Vern who is understandably still recovering from his recent 24 hour effort found the pace a bit hot as did the two Pauls. Working well with Tim and Frank Calcei, the youngsters still had almost 3 of their 6.5 minute headstart at Gnomesville, but by the ‘Y’ on the way home, this was down to just over a minute, no doubt partly due to their disadvantage with restricted gears on the descent.
After a pep talk by Steve Roberts about the importance of teamwork in a handicap event, Kim attacked the 4 minute group up the first climb taking Pete Frawley and Darren Wallis with him. These three worked well together and held off the rest of their group and also the scratch bunch until the top of the Gnomesville climb.

The scratch group had lost Chris Howard and Vikram early on, but the rest stayed together until they had Kim and co in their sights at the top of Gnomesville. It was at this point that Bryce put the pressure on over the top of the climb with Busselton’s Joel Bertram showing good form jumping across with Nicholas.

These three put in some quick turns on the descent to extend their gap and bridged to the front markers by St Aidens, around 1km from the Pile Rd turnoff.

At this point tactics started to come into play with the three attacking each other to put themselves in a better position heading toward the uphill finish. In the end Nicholas was too strong however and sprinted over the top of Bryce who is currently taking a short break from training. Behind this pair, an inspired Josh Commons gave it everything he had powering past Joel and surging up the hill true Robbie style. Finishing in a well deserved third place he was totally spent and proceeded to lose his breakfast on the side of the road, showing he takes after his father in more ways than one!! ?
Joel crossed the line in fourth place ahead of Marten Howes, Darren Wallis and Iain Ferry with Mark Benson, Pete Frawley and Des Shearer rounding out the top 10.

In the participation event, the females certainly outnumbered the blokes and with Jessica and Sandi leading the way, all had a good ride.
Back at Ferguson Falls Tim quickly changed from race mode to being the perfect host and had the coffee flowing. Keeping the long standing tradition established by Marg Stoffers, Laura produced some first class Anzac biscuits and also her ever popular cinnamon scrolls.

Efforts from the Marg Stoffers midweek ITT series were recognised including Bryce’s course record in Busselton and points placings for consistency and improvement in the short and long course time trials. The Ferry family cleaned up with Lowan taking out the prize for the short course and Iain who had his improvement curve perfectly timed, taking out the long course prize just ahead of the super enthusiastic Vern Merchant with Steve Camarri in third place. Behind Lowan in the short course Busselton’s Courtland Wood tied with young Isabella Commons for second place. Great efforts all round!!

Many thanks to Brian Kennedy and Leonie for marshalling at the Stoffers race, Suzanne for running the event and Robbie for setting out the signs and flags and of course Mark Thomas for all the work he puts in in the background.
Nicholas took home a great new trophy courtesy of Crank’n’Cycles but one wonders how long he can retain his domination with the likes of Josh Commons putting in efforts like today!!

Great to see and a fantastic morning celebrating the end of the summer season as a club and looking forward to the winter calendar of events. Don’t forget to get entries in for the Tom Lowry by midnight Monday 2nd May.