More than 130 riders fronted for the Heretaunga Building Society-powered Ramblers Cycling Club's first race of the Spring Series on Saturday.
With next month's annual Tour of the Bay funride fast approaching, riders were keen to get some kilometres into their legs. Starting from Bridge Pa School, graded racing was held on the Valley Rd-Raukawa Rd circuit.
A to D grades raced two laps for 67km while E, F and G grades completed one lap for 33km.
Despite some sunshine, there was a distinct lack of spring-like temperatures, with an official maximum of just 12C recorded.
As the first race of the series, many riders had changed grades, which saw some different names featuring at the top of the results.
The B grade was the strongest grade numerically, with 26 recorded starters. The size of the race, combined with a variable northerly wind and cold starting temperature, worked together to split the race early as a fast pace was set.
In the front half of the race, line honours were decided by a sprint finish, with Austin Mortimer edging out Doug McIntosh. Patrick Barry was third.
A small G field rode a full 33km lap as opposed to the advertised 25km out and return distance. The extra distance was completed by all riders, with youngsters Mitchell Heney and Sophie Chote taking the top two places in a close finish.
Nicholas Kelly, a 13-year-old, had to fight for first place in F grade with Winter Series G grade victor Baylee Lingan.
These two, with Matthew Truebridge, finished almost 1m30s clear of Rob Stephenson, who in turn crossed the finish line 1m24s in front of Dave Chote in fifth place. Kelly made up for the disappointment of a mechanical problem last week to time his finish to perfection to secure victory and the series leader yellow jersey.
Four riders were awarded the same time in a 15-rider C grade sprint finish. Chris Macaulay had his timing tag this week and repeated last week's victory as he pushed Steve Salkeld, John Price and Nick McCarthy into the minor places in that order.
Mark Waldin started the E grades series the same way as his Winter Series, with another 15-point series haul for first place. It was a close finish, though, with Ian Geary, Mick Cull, Caroline Thomson recording identical times to Waldin.
Waiting for Winston Briggs to change his wheel after he suffered a puncture on the start line meant the A grade enjoyed a relatively sedate pace in the opening kilometres until Briggs joined the race. Once racing started, Blair Heney was again to the fore, with a number of breaks which were closed down despite a largely disinterested and incohesive following bunch.
After 67km of riding, nine riders were left to battle for the early series lead, and William Green achieved this just ahead of Josh Page, with Darryl Strachan taking third place and Briggs fourth.
With the majority of D grade finishers together at the end of the race, irregular sprinting was reported, which saw a number of riders disqualified.
Woody Foster earned first place, followed by Marie Walters and Daniel Mouatt.
Racing on Saturday is from Maraekakaho School on the Kereru Rd out-and-return course.