WHAT a difference a winter storm makes to rider turnout.
There were 120 racers in the sunshine at Dog Hill the previous week.
This week, only 25 riders braved the elements at Casuarina for the President’s Cup handicap on Saturday.
Instead of racing in a group graded by ability, a handicap involves all riders racing together, with the start time based on ability.
The handicapper’s aim is for all riders to finish together.
The riders’ aim is to work together in their group to catch and pass the groups in front of them, while staying away from the riders behind.
Calum Milne, the youngest rider in the race and lone representative of D-grade, started first as the rain stopped.
Milne was in for a tough day – he needed to ride alone for 53km in tough conditions to win, or hold on to a group as they passed and hopefully get dragged to the finish.
Rain tends to wash stone chips on to the road, resulting in more punctures in a wet race.
The group of seven behind Milne lost one rider on the second lap to a puncture, then two more on the third lap.
This was when Milne was caught and the rain started again.
The third group worked well – as the group ahead and the two behind started losing riders, they kept together and managed to ride at the same speed as the riders behind.
On the fourth lap, just as the heavens opened, the third group caught the second group and gained reinforcements in the form of two of the stronger riders from that group.
Now the lead group, they rode away from their chasers, who in theory were faster riders.
The lead group lost a couple of riders on a flying final lap, but they were never going to get caught.
In the sprint, it was Jordan Dawson first, Shannon Sime second and Oliver Bleddyn third.
For more, visit pdcc.asn.au.