When Brad Rayner injured his ACL three years ago playing hockey, he had no idea it would lead to him claiming bragging rights over two of the Central West’s finest cyclists.
On Sunday as the Bathurst Cycling Club staged the eighth and final round of the 2018 Road Series, Rayner beat home both club stalwart Mark Windsor and European professional Tim Guy to claim the A grade honours.
It was a win which also sealed his overall victory in the series, beating out Windsor for the A grade crown.
Former Australian Superbikes competitor Rayner positioned himself on Guy’s wheel as he jumped first in the sprint to the finish line on the tough Caloola Range Course, then surged past him in the final metres to take the win.
He was delighted to have got the better of Ljubljana Gusto Xaurum rider.
“It’s really good when Tim’s back from his overseas racing that he comes out and does a bit of club racing. It’s always nice to race with someone like that with all that experience and his season’s not over yet, so he still had good legs and a bit of form,” Rayner said.
“The race was probably one of my favourites from throughout the series in that I was racing against Tim and Mark and all the tactics that went on during the race.
“Those races are really fun when not only do you have to ride hard, but you have to constantly be thinking and work out what everyone else is thinking – it’s a matter of trying to outfox everyone.”
Rayner took out the opening round of the series in late June and though Windsor got the better of him in round two, he remained in the outright lead.
Winning the Sutherland Drive and Hurt On The Dirt rounds which followed put him in a solid position with a 25-point buffer over Windsor, and from there Rayner went on to a comfortable overall victory.
“In the lead up I’d been training pretty hard, so it came at the perfect time of year for me. I planned to peak for that time of year for some bigger races that were happening, so it fitted into my schedule really well,” he said.
“It’s obviously difficult to beat someone like Mark because of all of his years of experience. You can always rely on Mark to read a race really well and know what’s going on, it’s pretty hard to pull the wool over his eyes.
“You have to be stronger than him to win because you are probably never going to trick him.”
Rayner said he was a fan of the eight-round format – which also included an individual time trial – but nominated the fourth as his favourite.
“It’s good to see who has been the most consistent over a couple of months instead of who was the best on one day,” he said.
“All the races were quite similar with them all being scratch races, so they all suited me pretty well. I often think that’s one of my strengths, the tactical side of racing.
“One of the better days was when we had the Sutherland Drive finish, it was quite windy so it was a hard race with no-one wanting to do any more work than anyone else in the wind.
“I thought it would be easier to get away myself then I could play the race out how I wanted and yeah, I managed to stay away to Sutherland Drive and hold on.”
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