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Bikers face rain and danger to honour old friend

Nov 24th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, Most Popular, News, Sport

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BAD weather has failed to dampen the spirits of cycling enthusiasts taking part in a race to honour an old friend and fellow cyclist.

Heavy rain and strong wind greeted the cyclists when they arrived for the Kevin Smith Memorial race last weekend. However, many said they were pleased just to be out riding.

The seven lap fifty kilometre race was hosted by volunteers, organized by Rachel Anderson-Smith, the daughter of Kevin Smith, former president of the Port Nicholson Poneke club, who died in 2005.

“I’d like to think that it serves an additional purpose in reminding us that we’re a cycling community and whether a rider, volunteer or spectator, part of our strength is looking out for each other,” said Mrs Anderson-Smith.

The event itself was split into a handicap, with people who were less experienced, younger or less fit, starting earlier than others.

There were several categories, with treats being handed out to the winners, including the trophy for the fastest time.

The overall winner and first to cross the line was Steve Chapman, who was also a volunteer.

He was given the hand-made pounamu trophy, made by Kevin Smith’s son Karl, after the race.

Laura Hollingsworth, who was first woman to cross the line, admitted her spirits were dampened by the weather, but she was optimistic afterwards.

“I almost skipped the race to get out for a coffee and lunch, just to stay warm. I’m glad I didn’t though,” she said.

Volunteer Sarah Barclay expressed similar opinions, but emphasized how much she enjoyed watching the cycling and being part of the team.

“I always like going out. It’s more of a volunteer thing for me. The weather dampened my spirits, but I didn’t regret it at all.”

Andy McKay, who won fastest time, was just glad he got to catch up with his friends.

“It was like fireworks from the get-go, and it was neck and neck towards the end, but I’m glad I got to cross the line first,” he said.

The aim of the track was to provide a challenge with false flat and the inclinations of the New Zealand outback proving difficult said veteran rider Aaron Rusden.

All the riders were invited back to the prize-giving at Otaki-Maori race course, the only Iwi owned racecourse in New Zealand and also where the race started.

Mrs Anderson-Smith said it was fitting, as her father’s fondness for betting on the horses turned into a scientific study.

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