They say it’s a race that can unfold in many ways, and the 59th David Reid Homes Grafton to Inverell proved that yet again. A course that highlights the intricacy and ever surprising nature of racing, the G2I was a spectacle from beginning to end.
Constant attacks and ever-changing breakaway groups were made all the more challenging by difficult hill climbs, cross and head winds, and debris on the long and infamous road from Grafton to Inverell.
With this level of animation, picking a winner for the 228km race was impossible right up until the finish line.
Having won the event in 2018, Nathan Elliott had a target on his back all day. Where he made moves, many followed, making it hard for the strong rider to ever truly get away.
While Elliott finished with the front group, it was a two-man race to the finish line between William Hodges and Dylan Sunderland that saw Hodges claim his first National Road Series win.
Elliott was in the strong chase group that nearly caught Hodges and Sunderland with Nick White, Troy Herfoss, Peter Milostic, Liam Magennis, Brendon Davids, Liam White, and Marcus Culey.
With no one willing to attack too early, it became clear that Sunderland and Hodges were going to stay away and take the race all the way to the line, with Nick White winning the bunch kick and Elliott crossing the line in ninth.
“It was quite an exciting race with the situation constantly changing,” Elliott says.
“We had Raph and Marko represented in the main early moves that were dangerous then Carter and Rudy did a monster effort chasing and putting me back into contention at the front.”
In an impressive example of teamwork, the InForm TM Insight MAKE boys rode smart all day.
Mark O’Brien was hugely influential to the race, and the experienced rider worked tirelessly for the InForm TM Insight MAKE boys as he rode up the front at many stages throughout the day. Freienstein animated the race early riding up front with O’Brien in the first breakaway group of the day.
Rudy Porter held his position impressively, and both he and Carter Turnbull powered at the front throughout many moments of their first Grafton to Inverell. Pat Lane set them the task to bring the breakaway group back, and the two 18-year-olds got to work.
Just as Elliott rode for Turnbull at the Tour of East Gippsland last weekend, Turnbull worked hard to get Elliott back into a strong position after falling back a bit at the hill climb, which had him looking strong for the finish.
While Elliott was disappointed not to podium, the G2I specialist (he’s finished in first, second and third over the years) rode an extremely strong race for a man that was being watched closely.
As DS Pat Lane put it, “that’s just bike racing. The boys did everything they could today and they rode very well as a team. Some days you win, some days you don’t.”
Elliott’s disappointment yet again proves his commitment and care for his team.
“Unfortunately we missed the front three that got away, I gave it a good crack at bridging to them on wire gully and got within 10 seconds but didn’t end up making it,” Elliott says.
“I was really proud of how the boys rode and despite not getting the result that we deserved I think we can be happy with how we rode as a team. “
With Grafton to Inverell the final one-day classic on the 2019 NRS calendar, many of the InForm TM Insight MAKE boys now have their sights set on a month of training and racing in Europe before an action-packed Tour season kicks off in August, with the Tour of the Tropics.