Budget Forklifts may not have taken the win on Saturday at the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic, but the team’s performance, courtesy of determined rides from youngsters Brian Mcleod and Luke Davison was certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
Davison ended up finishing fifth on the stage, but early on that seemed unimaginable with the 21-year-old yo-yoing off the back of the main field on Mount Gibraltar as he struggled to cope the accelerations of the lead group. To his credit, Davison hung on, riding his own tempo up much of the climb and eventually managing to rejoin the main field on the descent off the summit.
It was only then, surrounded by teammates that the former junior track world champion began to think he could do something at the race.
"Once I got over [Gibraltar] I would’ve been happy with top 40," said Davison. "I’d suffered a lot and been dropped so many times that I just wanted to do whatever I could still do for the team. I tried to recover, had something to eat, and just as the break formed I found myself on the front on one of the descents.
"I had a lot of speed, and thought ‘what the hell - I'm more use there than here' and just ‘bombed’ across the gap as hard as I could. I just made it on to the back and from there just rolled through with the break."
With Mcleod already in the break that put Budget Forklifts in the box seat for a big result in the classic. As the kilometres ticked by, and with the finish looming, it appeared that with Davison's fast finish for the sprint, and Mcleod's strength on the climbs, the team was even poised for an unlikely victory. Fatigue however would prove to be the duos undoing.
"I talked to Luke with about 25 kilometres to go," said Mcleod. "I told him I wasn’t in a good place, but he pretty much told me the same thing. After that we both just tried to hang in there over the last few climbs."
"When Jory and Jamieson attacked [on Gibson’s], Luke blew himself to get me across the gap, and then I just had to bite the bullet and go with it. Full credit to Luke though for getting me across, he did an awesome job."
Though Mcleod finished third on the stage, he was happy to have performed as well as he did considering how he was travelling in the final kilometres.
"I’m just happy I could finish it off for us and grab a spot on the podium. Obviously, I would’ve liked to have won, but third is a solid result."
And although Mark Jamieson won the event, Budget Forklifts did taste some success by capturing the team’s classification – perhaps fittingly considering the camaraderie displayed by Davison and Mcleod.
"With this team, everything is well structured, it’s well organized," said Davison. "It’s great when you’ve got a nice environment in a team. When you wake up and there’s no tension, it makes it a lot easier to go out there and do well, and I think we did that today."