GD Pringle presented by Spoken Cycles have risen to the challenge this year in the Grassroots Trust Team Championship presented by Dynamo Events. After victory in the team time trial in the opening round, Sam Gaze led home teammate Alex Heaney and Dynamo Events’ Hamish Bond in the second round in Tokoroa.
Tokoroa traditionally plays host to very aggressive racing in the Team Championship and round 2 of the series didn’t disappoint. With races seldom being decided by a big bunch sprint, the question of how the race would be won was anyone’s guess as riders tackled the first of two rounds to be held on the South Waikato roads. A mixture of fast downhill segments and long climbs combined to make for a very interesting day on the bike.
For GD Pringle presented by Spoken Cycles their strength in depth really shone through after victory in the team time trial in the first round in Cambridge. By the end of over 2.10 hours of racing over the 93.1km course five of their six riders who took to the start list had made it inside the top 15; including four in the top 10.
At the sharp end of racing the podium places would be decided by a three-pronged attack that contained GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles riders Sam Gaze and Alex Heaney; along with Dynamo Events’ Hamish Bond. By day’s end the three riders had a lead of almost 2 minutes over the nearest chasers; a group containing GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles’ Xander White and Liam Cappel, WBOP Performance Hub’s Toby Atkins, Steve Nicholls of Tank Guy/Bike Box, Nathan Bell of Team Paxton and Ryan Christensen of Team Crediflex Cycling.
The numerical advantage of Gaze and Heaney working together paid dividends as in the finale it was the teammates who came through 1st and 2nd with Bond completing the podium in third. Liam Cappel led the next group home ahead of Atkins and Bell, 1.49mins back on Gaze. The result meant a change in the overall standings as Alex Heaney now took over from Regan Gough as overall leader of the Team Championship.
GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles also grew their lead in the team standings to 8 points after two rounds.
In the category 2 race a small group sprint decided matters with Gordon McCauley of Daikin/Thermal Solutions coming out on top. McCauley distanced Jack Pronk of RCA-PBT and Paul Duynhoven of Velolab Valley Toyota Image Glass to claim the honours and move to within just 1 point of Paul Bishop’s overall lead in the series.
For category 3 GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles were once again in the limelight, taking centre stage with three riders in the top ten. The fastest of those, Michael Black, could do nothing to stop Craig Burke of Signature Homes, though, with Burke taking the sprint for the win out of a trio of riders including Black and Jan Lichtwark of CRM. The battle for the team honours at this stage is taking shape between two teams as GD Pringle p/b Spoken Cycles lead by just 3 points in the series standings ahead of CRM.
One bunch sprint did emerge over the course of the day, with category 4 being decided by a bunch gallop of around 20 riders. Eves Real Eastate’s Steve Neil came out on top in the fast finish, with O’Neill Sinclair of Forestland Wheelers coming through for second and BDO Auckland’s Andrew McKay taking third. While the race results may have been a close result for the riders, the team standings appear to be settling in for BDO Auckland, with their tree riders in the top 8 giving them a team lead of 14 points from Quadrent/PTM.
Two riders broke clear to decide the fate of category 5, with Tony O’Hagan of Steinlager Tokyo Dry/O’Hagan Sport taking out the honours from breakaway companion Russell Thorpe of Team Rayglass GMC. The battle for third place went down between 10 riders and Taupo Cycling Club Blue Team’s Darren Hume was fastest of them. Hume’s team are now 4 points ahead of Bob’s Bikes in the battle for team honours; with 42 points playing 39, with Team Rayglass GMC sitting in third.
Elyse Fraser of Velo Project and Deborah Paine of North Island Women’s Peformance Team emerged dominant in the elite women’s race, with Fraser getting the better of Paine in the finale. Ally Wollaston of Velo Project completed a great day for the team in third place as the team extended their lead in the team series to 15 points ahead of Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Performance Hub.
Nicola Lewis of Surprisycle came away with the honours in the open women’s A grade in a 8-up sprint finish. Lewis finished ahead of CNZ Junior Women’s Emma Hannan and Surprisycle’s Genelle Willers. Meanwhile in the Open Women’s B grade Sophie Hamer of RABBITS – TOOT TOOT BEEP BEEP took the win from Jane Carswell of Bob’s Bikes Pedal Chics and Hamer’s teammate Sam Sedgwick.
Battles for team honours for the open women are very close with CNZ Junior Women leading the Open Women A by just 1 point from Surprisycle, and RABBITS – TOOT TOOT BEEP BEEP holding a 3 point lead from Bob’s Bikes Pedal Chics.
The third round of this year’s series will take a new direction as the Team Championship visits Ngaruawhia for the first time on November 18th.