The Tour of the King Valley kicked off with a wet time trial at the Motorsports Training Australia course in Barnawartha North, and it was Total Rush’s Jensen Plowright that completed the tight and tricky 1.6-kilometre circuit the quickest, followed by Sam Welsford (ACA) in second and Tristan Ward (BSC) in third.
InForm MAKE’s Raphael Freienstein came in three seconds behind Plowright to secure fifth place in the prologue and in the general classification after stage one. With Tom MacFarlane and Carter Turnbull placing 18th and 22nd respectively, the InForm MAKE boys were warming up for a competitive stage two in the afternoon.
The race headed back to the Motorsports Training Australia track – this time for a 48-kilometre criterium made up of 30 laps – the sun forced its way through the clouds as the precarious track began to dry.
InForm MAKE’s first time NRS riders Rudy Porter and William Moloney-Morton (both under 19’s brought up from the InForm TM Insight team) displayed an aggressive performance, with the young guns showing promise by remaining in the mix and spending time up the front.
Whilst the bunch ultimately stayed together throughout the criterium, a group of about eight cyclists crashed at the half-way point with most re-joining.
With two sprints up for grabs, Freienstein – who cleaned up in the sprints at the Tour of the Great South Coast – yet again flexed his competitive muscle, taking third place in both sprints to score four bonus points.
In a competitive race to the finish, it was ACA’s Welsford who crossed the line first, closely followed by teammate Cameron Scott in second and Jarrad Drizners (SAS) in third.
Freienstein took out fifth place in stage two, followed by teammate MacFarlane in sixth. Coupled with his back-to-back third place sprints, Freienstein’s aggressive performance meant that he was able to climb to fourth position in the general classification.
Tomorrow, we head into Sam Miranda Winery for the start of the iconic 112.4-kilometre Oxley Road Race ‘Strade Nero’ Circuit, where riders are faced with five challenging dirt sections.
Pat Lane, DS:
“It was an exciting criterium watching our two young guys step up to the InForm MAKE team. Our boys all got together nicely and it was good to see the young boys performing for the team. They found good position and were a key part of the race.”
William Moloney-Morton on his first NRS race:
“It was a pretty good experience being up there with the big boys, having a crack and seeing what it’s all about. I was pretty happy with how I was going, unfortunately it came to an end with a puncture, but there’s another day. It gave me confidence because I felt reasonably comfortable. It was a big confidence booster. I was just taking it how it came because I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Before the start of the race, Raph said if you’re feeling good have a crack at some stage and try help out towards the end and in the sprints.”
Rudy Porter on his first NRS race:
“I really enjoyed my first race and getting used to the bunch, learning how to stay up there and support Raph throughout the race. I was really just trying to get some experience and just getting in and amongst it. [The intensity of the race] wasn’t too bad, I thought it would be harder but towards the end it was getting tough with the fast speeds and all the big teams driving it. Being in the bunch and getting a feel for it was the highlight for my first NRS, so it was a good day out there.”