The Australian Pursuit Returns.

 by Tony Butler

In the past few weeks the “The League International” has adopted a tried and tested form of racing enjoyed for many years and previously known as “The Australian Pursuit” Today it is simply known as a handicap road race. What are the rules ? The handicap races are run for all ages and abilities, the format is 3 groups starting minutes apart and all racing to the finish. First group off is Master Veterans racers ( over 60 years old ) and novice racers, 2nd group experience racers followed by the Scratch group. This is very tough racing with no quarter given.

It was very exciting to see the “Worcestershire evening handicap” road race series get under way. With 2 events. The first event near Pinvin saw 3 Stratford Cycling Club riders taking part in race on a rolling circuit. Keith Walton a master veteran was off 1st with Tim Print and Matt Pearce in the following group with a 5 min timed gap between each group with the race distance being 35 miles. The experience of the Veteran roadmen soon came to the fore when 4 of them including Walton pulled away from their group and with them working well together the 2 chasing groups had to step up the speed to pull them in and it was at the start of the last lap the remains of the 3 groups formed one pack which including the Stratford riders ,  now at the serious end of the race the pace was raised as the finish line approached Walton and Pearce slip off the back in the final kilometres to finish 21st and 20th just seconds down with a great ride from Print finishing 16th in the pack sprint

The second event was at Welland near Malvern on a multi lap course which included 2 sharp banks on each lap ,a shorter total distance and the time gap reduced to 4 minutes between groups,once again the Master Veterans worked hard from the start and got themselves organized and after 3 laps 5 riders including Walton had opened up a gap and these riders stayed clear to the end of the race and with the finish line in sight all 5 sprinted for the win it was a tight finish with a wheel distance separating them all, with Walton taking 5th,it was a great effort by them all to stay clear .The chasing groups finished minutes down with Tim Print taking 22nd spot .