Now in its second year, after running for a number of previous years as the Hector Fletcher Masters & Women's Handicap, the John Lockwood Handicap again proved a great test of rider skill, endurance and handicap race craft.
The cold conditions were tempered by a touch of sunshine as limit rider Virginia Riches (PACC) hit the course with a four minute gap on the bunch of defending 2011 race winner Bob Baird (KCC). And Virginia and the Baird bunch, that containing masters six racer Meriel Custance(SLCC), held their lead until the foot of the long Warren Hill climb. Dave Gomer's scratch bunch had been working hard with depleted numbers and caught the Aaron Pollard block bunch, but not the 5.30m bunch containing among others David Murada(NCC), Bryan McIntyre(SCCC, Robin Parsons(Team Envirosport) and PACC's MRRoY leader Annabel Cox. This bunch had caught the eight minute guys containing Rob Dobson (PACC), Jill Seeman(SCCC), Marcus Hofer (SCCC) and David Tichy (Team Envirosport) about 3 klms from the Williamstown turn. Annabel Cox likes this race having finished fourth in 2011 after being in the lead bunch all day, Annabel had a good placing firmly fixed in her mind for 2012.
It was the foot of the Warren Hill climb that the attacks started, with one of the Envirosport guys putting in the first attack and then David Murada and Bryan McIntyre put in a burst followed by Annabel Cox, Robin Parsons and Rob Dobson. Bryan McIntyre was certainly hoping his bad luck (broken chain at this point) of 2011 wouldn't return and as his race progressed he was hoping a rattling cassette would hang in there.
These leading riders now worked hard to hold off the chasers, having dropped Jill Seeman after the Mt Pleasant turn off. Barry Pollack, Marcus Hofer and David Tichy were now hammering along trying to catch the leaders. But it was not to be as after picking up Jill Seeman, the congested road conditions were not conducive to the chase. David Murada put a small gap into Bryan McIntyre at the line, Robin Parsons took a strong third, Annabel Cox repeated her 4th place from 2011 and Rob Dobson completed the place winners. Dave Gomer worked hard to try and catch the leaders, but had to be happy with his fastest time and Jill Seeman took the first unplaced woman award. See results for the rest of MRRoY points and all places.