INJURY prevented Bathurst’s Craig Hutton from making another appearance at the Road Nationals but he was able to enjoy some home city success for the new year.
Hutton had to make the difficult call to his GPM Stulz team prior to Christmas that he wouldn’t be able to take part in nationals due to a back injury caused by a motorbike crash.
His recovery between that call and the new year was strong enough that he could still enjoy A grade scratch racing with the Bathurst Cycling Club last Saturday.
He beat home Brad Rayner and Mark Windsor to the A grade victory.
Hutton said it was a tough call not to take the journey down to Ballarat for nationals.
“The incident pinched my sciatic nerve in the back of legs and my lower back. It took me three weeks get over it but it wasn’t enough time to be ready for Bay Crits and nationals,” he said.
“It was probably three days before Christmas when I had to make the call. I went out for a training ride and realised that I wasn’t putting out anywhere near enough power in one of my legs … which isn’t ideal heading into these sorts of races.
“It seems to have been sorted through massage and physio. I’m moving past that now and looking forward to a good 2019.”
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Hutton said it was great to be able to get out on the bike on a local level and continue his recovery.
“The power is slowly coming back. It’s not quite there yet but it’s returning,” he said.
“It was a great club race. We had a couple of younger guys step up and race up a grade. They did really well and they’ll learn a lot of lessons from that which they can use for their campaigns this year.”
Dan Googe and Luke Tuckwell were those younger riders who filled out the top five in A grade.
Graeme Peadon won B grade ahead of Drew Carter and David Reece while C Grade honours went to Toireasa Gallagher ahead of Kalinda Robinson and Bruce Hutton.
He may not have had the chance to head down to nationals but Hutton has been paying close attention to the racing action.
The efforts of Bathurst Cycling Club rider and former teammate Will Hodges – now riding for UCI Continental team Oliver’s Real Food Racing – earned Hutton’s praise.
“Will’s a definite talent. I noticed it a few years ago and that’s why I pushed so hard to get him onto the team. I knew it would be a stepping stone for him and GPM have done really well with him over the last few seasons,” he said.
"His work was rewarded with a continental ride so hats off to him.”
Hodges was in the leading bunch during the closing stages of the under 23s road race before he was caught up in another rider’s crash, ending his chances.