Nelson cyclist Henry Jaine, centre, with the NBS Milk and Honey trophy after his win on Sunday. With him is Cameron Jones, left, who finished third and George Bennett, who finished second. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

George Bennett beaten by more local talent

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Nelson rider Henry Jaine managed to do what some of the world’s best cyclists failed to do this year when he edged out George Bennett in a desperate finish to the NBS Milk and Honey race on Sunday.

And Henry broke his own race record in the process, completing the road cycle from Takaka to the top of the Takaka Hill, and technical mountainbike down the Rameka Track back to Takaka, in just 2hr 33min 40sec.

George, who was predictably first to the top of the  Takaka Hill and led to the bottom of the Rameka,  slipped off the pace in the final kilometre to finish in 2hr 34min 47sec, with  top junior Cameron Jones third in 2 hr 41min.

Henry’s win was based on superior mountainbike skills through the Rameka, where George rode conservatively to ensure he got through the rocky trail unscathed.

However, Henry admitted he was concerned he may have dropped too far off the pace during the tough climb up the Takaka Hill.

“I don’t know if I’m not fit enough yet or I was just having a bad day but I struggled up the hill. I felt sick, but I knew if I could hold on I’d have a show of catching George on the mountainbike.

“I was fourth or fifth to the top and then I just started picking off the leaders. I caught George at the bottom of the Rameka and from then on it was always going to come down to a sprint.”

George admitted the race was a lot tougher than he expected with the change from a road bike to mountainbike proving challenging.

“It was hard. I even got cramp – I haven’t had cramp for 10 years.”

Wellington’s Sasha Smith won the women’s race riding the entire course on a mountainbike in 3hr 38 min 24 sec.

Alison Mander was second in 3 hr 48 min with Mel Chick third in 4 hr 5 min.

Niamh Fisher-Black won the Queen of the Mountain.

Patrick Higgins rode a mountainbike the whole way to win the men’s Treadly race ahead of Ollie Whalley with Jace Christie third.