Rangitumau Hill took no prisoners in hot and humid conditions for round four of the Trust House North Island Team Series.  In the Masters 1 race it was David Rowlands who reigned supreme, with Huib Buick and Richard Sutton taking out Masters 2 and 3 races respectively.

It was a hot day of racing in the Wairarapa with temperatures reaching 30 degrees as the riders approached the hill top finish at race 4 of the Trust House North Island Team Series. Billed as the Queen stage of the series, it was always going to be fiercely contested amongst the Masters One field with only a handful of points separating the top three riders, Gavin McCarthy, Brent Backhouse and Steve Bale. 

A three man break, consisting of David Rowlands (MeoGP), Andy Hagan and Tristan Thomas (both Wheelworks) forged ahead approximately 10km into the 82km race. These riders weren’t high up in the series points rankings and so there wasn’t a lot of incentive for the peloton to form a strong chase effort behind.  The trio were able to form a race-winning margin and contest the top three places, but there was to be no stopping David Rowlands who claimed the win ahead of Andy Hagan and Tristan Thomas.

With the podium positions all filled, the race for 4th place was all on between Backhouse (MeoGP), Bale (Fitlab) and McCarthy (Wheelworks). Approaching the final 3km and up the Kaka Amu Rd climb the series leaders were all together with Bale’s team mate, Matt Frecklington setting a solid tempo on the front of the group. With approximately 400m to go Backhouse attacked out of the group pulling out a good gap on Bale and McCarthy and they finished in that order.

This result means that the gaps between the top three riders are even closer than before with everything on the line for the final race of the series on Sunday 17th November. 

In Masters two grade, the largest bunch in the race, three riders managed to gain a lead over the chasing bunch up the Dreyers Rock hill road after 15 kilometers of racing but at the turn outside the Alfredton School the whole bunch was all together with riders looking to save energy for the climb up Dryers Rock on the way back.  From here a group of 14 riders went to the front and controlled the race waiting for the big showdown up the finishing hill.

In this group most teams were represented at the front including the overall series leader Matthew Stevens, as well as most riders in the top 10 position so the pace was hot heading towards the final climb of the race.  At the bottom of the Rangitumau hill local resident Dominic Green riding for Tararua Builders team was the first to attack gaining a few meters in front of the front riders but Matthew Stevens, last year’s winner Robert Kilvington from Capital Cycles – Best Build and second placed Huib Buick from Fitlab raised the tempo and in the end it was Buick who took the race with Kilvington coming in second and Masterton’s Derek Roberts from Capital Cycle – Best Build in third place.  Buick took the lead in masters two with one race to go.

In the Masters Three grade once again it was all about Optimal Performance, placing five riders in the top seven at the finish of what was a very well controlled race by the Optimal Performance team.  Most of the riders were together at the bottom of the Rangitumau hill but at the finish there were big gaps in the field due to the severity of the final climb.  Richard Sutton took the victory and race lead, with Brent Copeland taking second place and Thomas Boeschenstein in third, all from Optimal Performance team.

Race director Jorge Sandoval said Saturday’s race was demanding with all riders endorsing the circuit.

In all grades, all winners of the Series will be decided in the final race on Sunday 17th November. Race five will see riders complete a 92km race from Masterton to Alfredton and back.

The heat and hills took their toll and mean the finale will be decisive across all categories, photo Di Chesmar

Results:

Masters One:

1st: David Rowlands – Meo GP

2nd Andy Hagan – Wheelworks team

3rd   Tristan Thomas – Wheelworks team

Leader: Gavin McCarthy – Wheelworks team

Masters Two:

1st  Huib Buick – Fitlab

2nd Robert Kilvington – Capital Cycles – Best Build

3rd Derek Roberts – Capital Cycles – Best Build team

Leader: Huib Buick – Fitlab

Masters Three:

1st Richard Sutton – Optimal performance

2nd Brent Copeland – Optimal performance

3rd Thomas Boeschenstein – Optimal Performance

Leader: Richard Sutton – Optimal performance

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