CYCLING: Strong entries for 2016 National Road Series opener

CYCLING: The 56th Grafton to Inverell Cycle Race will be conducted on Saturday.

In excess of 270 riders have nominated for the 228 kilometres classic, including 14 teams comprising over 100 riders in the National Road Series A-Grade.

The Grafton to Inverell will be the first races in the National Road Series, and dual-winner Sean Lake will be back with new team Avanti Isowhey.

Grafton Cycle Club will be represented strongly with 12 riders on the start list.

Dion Wilkes will ride in B-grade, while in C-grade Nicholas Stevens, Colton Tooth, Greg Allen, Bradley Cooper, Bryan Crispin, Garry Reardon, Jye Reardon, Peter Hughes, Benjamin Smith, Steven Wiblen and Rick Winters will face the starter.

The race will start adjacent to Memorial Park, Grafton, at 7.30am with the NRS field to be flagged away by local mayor Richie Williamson.

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis will send B-grade on their way at 7.45am and Grafton Cycle Club vice-president John Harrison will do the honours for C-grade at 8am.

A minute's silence will be held prior to the start in honour of Inverell cycling legend Ian "Blue" Manton, who passed away recently. He rode 24 Grafton to Inverell events.

The Jack Griffin Memorial Shield will again be presented to the race winner and Sean Lake will be invited to lay the paver bearing his name as the 2015 winner on the Winners Walk in Inverell.

Local farmer to ride first Grafton to Inverell: Cattle station manager Bryan Crispin lives only several kilometres from the base of one of Australia's most notorious cycle climbs, the Gibraltar Range. The 46-year-old will attempt his first Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic in C Grade this Saturday, 24th of October, 2015. Video by Bill North / The Daily Examiner