Murphy in a class of his own
James Murphy rode to a dominant solo victory in the Hawera Cycling Club's Mountain Road handicap race on Saturday.
The 34-year-old farmer from Oeo rode the final 20km alone to win in 1hr 31min 57sec, from Hawera's Janice McCallum and an eight-man chase group at the finish line in Normanby.
Local veteran Peter Schrafft rounded out the podium for third place after breaking away on the final ascent of Old Mountain Rd before dropping into Normanby.
Murphy's victory came on top of a run of hard triathlon training where the day's aim was to get more miles in.
"I was not really thinking about winning the race," Murphy said.
"I was just going for a hard day in the saddle. With the gap at 30 seconds I was trying to take it second by second and not to push it right away to one minute."
New Plymouth's Darry Stevens continued his good form this season to take fastest time, of 1hr 17min 5sec, after breaking away from fellow scratch riders Vaughan Smith (1hr 41min 17sec) and Mike Lock (1hr 20min 1sec) in the latter stages of the 48km race.
Phil Hulse finished only fifth in the final race of the George Wharehoka Memorial points series.
However, it was good enough to hand him the overall series title.
The Egmont Village rider finished the series on 51 points, just one more than runner-up Wally Brown, with Noel Ashcroft, on 42 points, in third.
Les Thorn, riding off the 24-minute mark, won the final race of the series over the challenging Kent Rd/Alfred Rd circuit, finishing in 55min 46sec.
Second and riding off the 21min mark, was Michael Parker, who clocked 1hr 1min 36sec and third went to Wally Brown (1hr 7min 42sec) riding off the 15min mark.
Fastest time went to scratch rider Anthony Visser (53min 33sec), ahead of Jason Thomason (53min 45sec) and Murray Arthur (53min 45sec).
Taranaki Daily News