Not at the Races
This series had been incredibly competitive and often a few seconds, never mind minutes, would separate the top four or five teams at the end of seven hours of racing. After managing to secure second at Taree (Round 1) and, with Michael Brown filling in for an injured Mike, we held on to first at Mogo (Round 2) by a mere thirty-eight seconds. As I was racing overseas and Mike was still recovering from a broken collarbone, we missed Round 3 at Awaba but in Round 4 at Nowra, Mike and Michael Brown were able to attain second place by a couple of minutes from event leaders Benny and the Jet (Ben Edols and Mark Hardy)
We came into the round at Kinross Forest, reasonably confident of securing a decent result. In fact, both Mike and I mistakenly believed we could win the overall series, neither of us realising that it is not possible to drop your worst result (our no show at Awaba), as is the case in the solo series.
The opening lap saw Mark Hardy, Mike Israel and Matthew Pandelus come through timing separated by just thirty seconds. I took chase, but immediately knew when I hit the first climb that the legs simply weren't there. I saw my rivals power away into the distance but hoped that they would suffer for their early exuberance. Both Ben and Troy Roberts were a minute faster, putting in blistering laps of around twenty six and a half minutes. Surely, they would suffer later on as the day heated up, the legs wearied and the lungs imploded.
Mike finished our third lap and we were now a minute and a half behind the fortyplusfrothers. The gap was widening and there appeared to be absolutely nothing we could do to rescue the situation. I continued in vain to try to close the gap. My mind was still willing but the body was refusing to cooperate.