Sib­lings cruise to win Homer race

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By NATHAN BURDON

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

Photo: BARRY HAR­COURT

Tough bat­tle: James Wil­liamson, of Alexan­dra, leads Jim Hawkridge, of Queen­stown, dur­ing the 120km Milford Moun­tain Clas­sic on Satur­day.

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