Phil McKay produced an admirable solo effort on Saturday at Westshore when taking out the annual Hawkes Bay Gisborne Road Champs. Apart from the first 2km when he had Napier's Robert Strong for company, McKay was left alone out front to effectively produce a time trial for the upcoming National Road Champs in Tauranga. Strong opted to withdraw after that initial burst, leaving the Hastings runner to forge ahead on his own with a trio of chasing Napier runners his nearest company but well adrift of the front-running McKay. McKay kept the tempo up to eventually cross the line in 37 min 41 sec for the 10km. It was 3 ½ minutes before Jeremy Moore arrived in 2nd, having outlasted Eric Phimister and Chris Marshall.
It was a closer battle in some of the other grades with the M16 grade a stand-out. The Napier quartet of Zayne Jennings, Connor Pearson, Dylan Barron and James Mikkelson had set off in cagey fashion over the first of two laps with no one prepared to up the ante. With 1.5km to go of the 5km, Jennings upped the pace to stretch the rubber band on the group. Pearson responded to the challenge with Barron and Mikkelson not able to match the change in speed. Jennings knew he could not ease up and kept the hammer down until crossing the line in a quality time of 18 min 47 sec for the 5km. Pearson arrived 7 sec later with Barron a further 6 sec back in 3rd. The W19 race was also a race long battle with Laura Langley refusing to give up on heading the well-performed Holly Manning. Having dropped Roisin Pearson after the first 2.5km, Langley was not going to let her Napier clubmate get too comfortable and Manning was conscious that she was going to have run an honest race. Manning is a class act and she responded to keep Langley at bay to claim the win in 19 min 22 sec for the 5km with a brave Langley arriving 9 sec later.
The U12 race also went right to the wire with Hastings runner Will Tidswell and Napier's Ayden Jones going toe-to-toe for the 2.4km. Tidswell had enough strength at the finish however to claim the win in 9 min 18 sec with Jones a mere 4 sec behind him. Jenna Tidswell made it a 100% success rate for the family when taking the G14 3km in 12 min 12 sec to see off Napiers' Sophie Hogan.
In other results, Annie Kane continued her dominance of Masters Women to win comfortably from Marilyn Brown and Kim Creagh. Alex Langley made it a good family day to take the B14 3km in 11 min 11 sec while Alia Wentz ran well to hold off Aniele Apperley in winning the Girls U12. Georgia Creagh won the W16 5km and Todd Burnard was first home in the M19.