Illawarra local David Deitz has won the 64th Ken Dinnerville Memorial Handicap from a starting mark of 27 minutes.
Deitz (Illawarra CC) won the sprint in Gunning ahead of fellow Masters Malcolm Pettett (Southern Cross CC) and Terence Wall (Illawarra CC) as the outmarkers just stayed away over yesterday’s 90km race.
The victory was contested between Limit [37 minutes], Bunch 8 [32 minutes] and Bunch 7 [27 minutes], who defied the backmarkers after a strong chase across the Cullerin Range.
Lillee Pollock (Illawarra CC) placed 4th overall to be the first woman home, edging her wheel ahead of Rose Vassel (Sydney Uni VC) in the sprint for line honours.
It was an outstanding result for the host club, which placed five riders in the top ten, including two on the women’s podium.
Having started 37 minutes behind, Scratch closed down all but the final 23 seconds to just miss out on the win.
NSW criterium champion Sean Whitfield (Canberra CC) led the sprint to take fastest time, completing the course in 2:03:15 at an average speed of over 43.5km/h.
Last year’s fastest woman Gina Ricardo (Sydney Uni VC) repeated her feat, winning in 2:19:15 from Bunch 4 (14 minutes). It was an impressive result considering the Sydney Uni-Staminade racer did it in borrowed mountain bike shoes and pedals after accidentally leaving her kit bag at home.
With clear, blue skies and barely a breath of wind, conditions could not have been better for the 64th edition of the Dinnerville, a classic handicap held in honour of a local junior cyclist who died during a training ride in 1956.
As it has since 2019, the race was held on two out-and-back laps of Cullerin Road from Gunning to Breadalbane; a total of 90km.
With a 37-minute head start, Limit led the way with host club president Terence Wall among them. Wall had been the last of the outmarkers to be caught in 2020.
The remaining eight bunches filed out of Gunning with 4- or 5-minute gaps between them, until all 159 were on course.
According to the Cycling NSW bunch tracker, Scratch rode the first half of the race almost exactly to schedule, halving the deficit to 18:21 by the end of the first lap. However, Bunch 6 was having a difficult day, losing time to Bunch 7 from the beginning.
With 30km remaining and 10 minutes to the front of the race, Scratch caught Chopping Block and was bearing down on the next three bunches.
Ahead, Wall was determined to be the last man standing once again. He had dropped the rest of Limit to lead solo through the final turnaround in Breadalbane, with 22km to race.
With just 10km remaining, however, Wall was caught by Bunch 8. Two riders, Keith Nicolle and Mark Hanover (Waratah Masters CC), struck out for glory, gaining a gap of 30 seconds while Bunch 7 reached touching distance of their Bunch 8 companions. By that stage, Scratch had caught all the remaining bunches, but were still over 3 minutes from the front of the race.
In the closing kilometres, Bunch 7 charged through the front, reeling in Nicolle and Hanover with just enough time to prepare for the sprint finish.
In the long uphill drag to the line, Deitz hit out early and hard, gapping the field and holding on to win by over a bike-length to Pettett. Wall’s efforts were rewarded with a podium finish, placing third in the sprint to just hold off his junior clubmate Pollock.
The backmarkers had ridden valiantly, to the point they could see the sprint unfold along the finishing straight ahead, but would have to settle for fastest time as Sean Whitfield led them home 23 seconds adrift.
Full results: https://my.raceresult.com/171640/results
Words by Ryan Miu
Photos by Rosanne Brooker