THE weather and AFL grand final kept a few riders away from the final Peel Districts Cycling Club road race of the season, the President’s Handicap, on Saturday.
While the numbers were down the quality of the field was definitely not.
Stephen Hall of the Pennsylvania Lightning, the three-man National Junior Team for the 2016 UCI Road World Championships, two exceptional Peel riders in Matt Peterson and Conor Leahy, as well two other well-credentialed WA riders made up scratch.
The final bunch in the handicap race was tasked with chasing down all other riders.
The strong wind was good training for the National Junior Team for conditions they will likely face in two weeks time in 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Qatar.
The winds favoured the big strong scratch group as they chased and caught all groups in front of them on the final lap, with one exception.
The limit group, the first group off, with a 22-minute head start on scratch, was quickly reduced to Oliver Bleddyn and Nick Cowie.
The pair surprised everyone, lapping at a minute faster than expected and stayed away for the whole race.
Bleddyn took the win from Cowie.
In the bunch sprint behind, Hall powered away to take third, with Macgregor Carter of the the National Junior Team fourth and Leahy fifth.
The strong winds continue on Sunday for the West Coast Masters grade races at Dog Hill in Baldivis.
In A Grade Sam Smith attacked and got a gap on the bunch in the first lap.
On the second lap, David Sumich bridged across to Smith. The pair managed to eke out a gap despite the conditions and stayed away for seven laps.
Smith took the win from Sumich and Thom Perry took out the bunch sprint for third.
While B Grade was an aggressive race, the bunch was together at the bell.
There was a late attack by Gavin Wark.
He fought it out with Mark Welford to the finish, with Wark taking the win. Welford was second and Michael Buytels took out the bunch sprint for third.
C Grade was another aggressive race, with the wind keeping the group together.
It looked like it exploded when they received the bell with a lap to go, however, the strong wind on the back straight saw the group reform.
In the bunch sprint it was Jason Hapeta first, Melissa Robinson second and Eddy Pope third.
With no D Grade, Bob Stephens being over 70 was allowed to race in E grade.
Stephens then showed the difference between a D and E grade rider, by riding away from the other riders and putting in almost five minutes a lap.
Stephens took the win, Andrea Hind was second and Denis Robinson third.
For the full results visit pdcc.asn.au and wcmasterscycling.asn.au