Today was our first Saturday race without Hugh and as well as remembering him with a minute's silence before the graded scratch races, there were many anecdotes flying around before and after the event.
Most of the big field of 32 must have had him in mind on the way around the 39 kilometre loop - the racing was ferocious in all grades, aided by a raging southerly which saw the A Grade field smash the KOM from Newbridge to Bridgewater at speeds close to 70 kph, in pursuit of Hudson Crothers and abetted by numerous surges from Brent Gibson, Leigh Wallace and Peter Cavallaro. Hudson succumbed to the headwind not far out of Bridgewater and several breakaway attempts were smothered before Llanelly. The whole field then lined up before Leigh Wallace jumped with two kilometres to go. He was hung out to dry for a while before Hudson Crothers, Peter Cavallaro and Brent Gibson surged clear, finishing in that order after some tactical disagreements were sorted out between them. B Grade was an equally exciting battle. New member Andrew Bos seemed pretty content to sit on the front for much of the race and went clear at the Llanelly corner, taking Ian Stringer and Tony Coombes with him. Stuart Laing managed to bridge the gap, so that for a brief moment there were four away until Andy's efforts took their toll and he dropped off. The three survivors worked together in the run-in to the finish where Stuart proved way too strong to win from Ian and Tony. C Grade saw a solid pace the whole way around without any damage done until the last couple of kilometres Cheryle Barker continued her winning ways with a convincing win ahead of David Hare and Peter Body. D grade was smaller but similarly competitive, and with no successful digs off the front, most of the field was there at the end. Ross Ogilvie saluted the judges - literally - clear of Susan Jennings in second after a great ride and Di Jane in third. A fitting day's racing in the circumstances.