Leaders’ jerseys may change hands across the three race categories as the Trust House North Island Teams Series race three takes place this Sunday and all eyes will be on a 2km section of gravel road in Martinborough with riders completing two laps of circuit.
Race director Jorge Sandoval says the circuit should once again prove very challenging to all riders as racing on gravel is not everybody’s cup of tea.
Riders will start the 80km race from Martinborough heading to Tora, turning back after 36km of racing just before the gravel road. Entering Martinborough, riders will turn left onto Shooting Butts Rd to start an 8km circuit that contains a 2km gravel section. All riders will complete two laps of this circuit and the gravel road could have a major impact in the race.
“Racing on gravel roads could make or break anyone’s lead as punctures and crashes are easier to occur,” says Sandoval. “Riders will have to concentrate more as bikes respond different to gravel roads and the riders’ bike handling skills will play a major part. Team managers will also have to make sure their team mechanics are on hand for any requirements every time they go past this point in the circuit.”
Racing on gravel is becoming popular in major cycle races overseas, especially in races like the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and the other major one day races who try to emulate cyclists of years ago racing entirely on gravel roads.
Several leading riders are looking forward to racing this circuit again on Sunday and they all have their own ideas of what may happen. There are very few points separating the first five riders in each grade so changes after this Sunday race are predicted.
The two local Wairarapa Tararua Builders Racing teams will be out in force to try and gain points to move up on the team’s classification. Dominic Green in the masters two grade is the best placed rider at this stage with an opportunity to move up if he has a good race on Sunday.
In masters three the local team will be represented by only four riders after a crash in race two left Peter James and Paul Wallace out of this week’s race due to suspected concussion.
This is a perfect opportunity for people to come out and watch the race with great vantage points for spectators at the gravel section at Shooting Butts Rd, the first riders should get to the circuit around 11.45am.