LEVI Johns led the Optus Nowra team’s chase for the top of the leader board in the MIEngineers 2014 Team Challenge series at Flinders Estate on Sunday.
Johns won the A grade race over 60 minutes around the Flinders circuit after an aggressive event where Tristan Ward attacked the field from the drop of the flag.
Aaron Lauder added to the Optus larder with a bunch sprint win in C grade over 50 minutes, while third placed Peter Kastelien in B grade and Dave Gray in D grade also added important points for this challenging team.
TLE Electrical won the day after Lawry Byrne and Bruce Jenkins were the top two placegetters in D grade, along with Sean Oaten being second and Dion Carter fifth in B grade, Mark Robbins third and Mark Bagnall fifth in C grade, and Aaron Coghlan sixth in A grade.
At the end of the day’s racing Optus finished second overall to the well represented TLE team but ahead of series leader, Hanlon Windows.
The day’s gains for Optus puts them just 10 points off Hanlon’s lead at the halfway point in the MIE 2014 series.
Mark Astley was keeping Hanlon in the frame with a win in B grade following a break up in that field after the midway sprint.
While Sean Oaten took out that sprint for The Watts Factory points, he was placed second to Astley in the final dash over the line.
After the A grade race exploded in the first lap the field was well strung out with only Dylan Oaten (Hanlon Windows) going with Ward’s initial attack.
Johns chased hard to get across the gap and then took the mid race sprint after Oaten dropped back to the chasers.
Damian Mason (Hanlon) chased hard to the finish for third place, Oaten was fourth ahead of Jake Stuart (East Coast Ultimate) and Coghlan.
Chris Harrison (Optus) bolted away to take the Watts Factory sprint points in C grade while Lauder and Rob Pickard were the minor placegetters at this point.
Harrison came back to the field and a full bunch sprinted at the finish where Lauder was a length better than Brendon Miller (East Coast Ultimate) on the line.
Mark Robbins was third ahead of Mel Kilby (Hanlon), Bagnall, Pickard, Chelsea Oaten, Hubert Driehuis (ECU), Mick Thompson (Hanlon), Tarni Cunningham (ECU) and Harrison.
The D grade event broke up early and five riders went clear with Byrne and Jenkins in this move along with Gray, Jo Chalain (ECU) and Greg Showell (Hanlon).
Byrne grabbed the midway Watts Factory points from Jenkins and Showell and then Showell was out with a puncture.
Byrne was dominant at the race finish from Jenkins, Gray and Chalain.
Pat McSwiney (ECU) cahsed in for fifth ahead of Brian Corrigan (Hanlon), Rod Pierce (TLE), Kate Darke (Optus) and Kim Waters (TLE).
The Optus Nowra Velo Club returns to Braidwood Road next weekend for a 53 kilometre handicap event starting at 9am from Wugan Street.
The Hanlon Windows team will host this event and provide the officials for the day.