The final round of the South Island Cup was in Nelson, a similar course to last years nationals with almost the same conditions to keep us all honest…..MUD, and lots of it! Approaching this race I was aware it was going to be a challenge with more competition than the last 2 rounds. New Zealand Champ Stu Houltham was racing, plus on form rider George Bennett along with a handful of North Island riders.
The race started fast on the main climb which split the field straight away, the pace was a little fierce for me so I backed off and found my own rhythm. At the end of the 1st lap I was in 4th but soon went to 5th when flying Junior Richard Anderson came past and left me wondering if I was having a good day. My descending was appalling and I was loosing time. I was starting to panic but soon got my mind into the race and got the flow going by the start of the 3rd lap where I put in a surge in the big ring up the main climb and pulled back some time. From there I knew I’d grovelled back into the podium positions.
The last 2 laps were good and finally passing Stu Houltham moved me into 3rd spot, fast closing down on my team mate Carl Jones who was riding really well. To get 2nd I had to climb like a demon and catch Carl by the top of the climb before we got into the descents but just couldn’t quite do it had to settle for 3rd. George Bennett was 2 and a half minutes ahead of Carl. I was 15 seconds behind Carl.
I was happy with 3rd. I raced hard and was pleased with my last half of the race, I know where I messed up and will work on that over the next month.
I’m now looking forward to some weekends off racing and staying put in Wellington with Bex for the next three weeks. One of the goals is to do a recky of the Karapoti course plus some good ride time on the Nationals course at Mt Vic.