LEVI Johns was the star of the day at the MIE events on Braidwood Road to start the Optus Nowra Velo Club’s 2014 season on Sunday, February 2.
The program featured scratch races in four grades and a short leg snapping handicap.
Johns (Optus Nowra) won both the A grade scratch race and the 14 kilometre handicap with his strong finishing sprint.
He was over the line a length ahead of Damian Mason (Hanlon Windows) in the A grade event and this started the Optus and Hanlon battle for the major points for the day’s racing.
But Hanlon’s consistency won out for a team win on the day by one point over Optus.
Levi’s handicap win was by two lengths from his brother Nick, also of the Optus Nowra team.
This gave Optus a strong points boost but Hanlon’s were winning in the other grades to keep the challenge strong.
While Jake Whitton (Bomaderry Vet Hospital and Coffeeliscious) and Scott Thompson were the A grade placegetters, Andrew Lowe and Matt Clark were winning the B and C grade scratch races for Hanlons.
Optus hit back with Dave Gray winning the D grade event.
All scratch events were won in bunch finishes where Lowe accounted for Nick Johns, Phil Jones, Godfrey Green and Mitch Cunningham (Bomaderry Vet Hospital/Coffeeliscious) in B grade and Clark cleaned up the C grade event by four lengths from Lawrence Schinella (Optus Nowra), Bruce Jenkins (TLE Electrical), Mark Robbins (TLE Electrical) and Brendon Miller.
Gray (Optus Nowra) took a great lead out from team-mate Kate Darke to round up the bunch and go from the front for the D grade win.
Gray got over the line clear of Steve Daley with Michelle Harris (Bomaderry Vet Hospital/Coffeeliscious) sneaking up the inside run to snatch third from John Cullity (Hanlon Windows).
Kim Waters (TLE Electrical), Chris Rowe and Brittanee Schinella (Bomaderry Vet Hospital/Coffeeliscious) were next over the line and the girls of the green and white team were adding up the points.
This kept Bomaderry Vet Hospital/Coffeeliscious in third team position at the end of the program.
After a short recess the handicap was on the way.
Five and a half minutes covered the field at the start and scratch rider Scott Thompson made it to the front of the race and all riders caught up with less than a kilometre to go.
This 14 kilometre lung buster started with seven differently timed groups and came to the finish with 36 riders on the same time.
Johns and Johns took advantage of the speed into the final 500 metres and jumped together but Levi raced away to the win.
Godfrey Green was back up there in third position ahead of Scott Barrett (Bomaderry Vet Hospital/ Coffeeliscious), Lowe, Cunningham, Mason, Miller, Clark and Peter Kastelien (Optus Nowra) rounding out the top 10 positions.
Scott Thompson finished back in the bunch but recorded the fastest time of 20 minutes and 29 seconds.
The individual points at the end of the program has Levi Johns leading Nick Johns while Andrew Lowe is in third position.
Fourth belongs to Scott Barrett and fifth is shared by Damian Mason, Mitch Cunningham and Matt Clark.
The Optus Nowra Velo Club continues with the 2014 program next Sunday with graded scratch races on the Flinders Estate circuit, starting at 8 am. The Optus Nowra team will be the duty team for this program.