Siblings cruise to win Homer race
Alexandra’s Williamson siblings, James and Sophie, dominated the Milford Mountain Classic alpine bike race on Saturday. The Distinction Hotels-sponsored event made a welcome return to the full 120 kilometre distance from Milford to Te Anau after last year’s race had to be shortened because of concerns about rockfall around the Homer Tunnel. The pace was on from the start, with the field stringing out in the shadow of the 20km climb to the tunnel. Queenstown veteran multisporter Jim Hawkridge, a noted climber, powered his way to the top of the climb to take the King of the Mountain honours, with Williamson in pursuit and defending champion Tom Hubbard behind them. Williamson and Hawkridge have done plenty of riding together in Central Otago club races and they worked hard to press home their advantage, building a lead that would never be challenged. Williamson dropped Hawkridge when the senior rider began to tire with 10km to go and went on to take a comfortable win. As well as his sister Sophie, a professional rider with the United States-based Vanderkitten team, coming home as the first female, Williamson is in a good cycling frame of mind after having his past two professional teams fold on him because of a lack of finance. The Homer Hundy podium, a new 100km addition to the race starting from the Homer Tunnel, was an all-masters affair, with Dan Bentley winning in 2:38:47. Kylea Gough won a tightly contested 65km Eglinton Challenge, edging James West by one second, with Nicola Stevens third, three seconds in arrears. Results Distinction Hotels Classic Men: James Williamson 3:12:47 @1:34 2; Tom Hubbard @11:04 3. Women: Sophie Williamson 3:25:01 1; Helen Beattie @24:02 2; Aileen Campbell @53:11 3. Ricoh Homer Hundy: Men: Dan Bentley 2:38:47 1; Neil Vanner @8sec 2; Phil Tisch @11sec 3. Women: Bailey Saville 2:43:44 1; Phoebe Swale 14:41 2; Polly Buchanan and Helen West @14:42 3=. Meridian Challenge: Kylea Gough 1:51:21 1; James West @1sec 2; Nicola Stevens @3sec 3.
1; Jim Hawkridge
Tough battle: James Williamson, of Alexandra, leads Jim Hawkridge, of Queenstown, during the 120km Milford Mountain Classic on Saturday.