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Evans backs up Benchmark success
Oct 15th, 12. After a great race last weekend in the Benchmark race 6, Cycling Otago's Brad Evans has scored first and fastest in the Kelvin Hastie 120km event last Saturday.
Brad Evans took the overall win with first and fastest time and in a repeat of the recent tour de Taieri, Tayla Harrison and Reta Trotman were fastest junior and fastest woman, and Mark Spessot showed his enduring classas fastest veteran.
The annual event, sponsored by Ricoh, attracts riders from all over the lower South island. The course follows the main highway from the Millers Flat bridge to Gladstone Rd, Mosgiel, a distance of just over 120km.
The weather conditions were tough, but there was some quality riding.
In the pouring rain, 54 riders set off in six bunches. The limit bunch was given a 1hr 10min head start on the scratch bunch, with the others staggered in between.
With Jo Chapman, James Williamson, Tim Rush, Evans, Spessot and Tom Vessey in the mix, this bunch was always going to be hard to beat. By the time they hit the feed zone, 5km past Lawrence, they had already made up half an hour on the limit bunch and had the break bunch in their sights. Breaks were collected at the start of the Manuka Gorge and left behind on the subsequent climbs.
Meanwhile, at the front of the race, Carl Haddon and Timaru veteran Kevin Hessel had escaped from second limit and were gaining on the limit bunch of Jan Brosnahan, Tracy Havard, Hilary Lennox and Liz Williamson. Hessel rode away from Haddon just before the SH1 junction, overtook the limit riders at Milton, and put on the pace for the homeward leg.
Behind him, the scratch bunch was powering through the field, claiming the second and third break bunches on the flood-free highway just past Waihola. The limit bunch was dispensed with soon after, leaving just Hessel in their sights.
With only 8km to go, Hessel was finally caught and the still intact scratch bunch now had the win secured. It was just a matter of who would have the legs for the sprint finish.
It was Evans who got the jump on the field when he bolted as the group turned into Gladstone Rd. He was hotly pursued, but had made a big enough gap to claim the win.
Chapman gave his signature smile and wave to the field as he rolled in for second.
With sponsorship secured for another year, the event looks set to maintain its status on the racing calendar.
Otago Daily Times
1st Brad Evans Otago
2nd Joe Chapman Otago
3rd Tim Rush Oamaru
4th Tayla Harrison Subway CHCH
5th James Williamson Pure black BikeNZ Alexandra
6th Scott Thomas Otago
7th Tom Vessey Alexandra
Fastest time Brad Evans
Fastest Junior Tayla Harrison
Fastest Women Reta Trotman Otago
Fastest Vet Mark Spessot Otago
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