By Geoff Cuckson
Last Saturday’s road events were staged in excellent weather conditions with cyclists competing in graded scratch races over the Burke St/Landsborough Rd circuit. The competition was fairly low key and numbers were down on previous weeks with several riders using the event as a lead up to various other races being held in Gippsland over the weekend.
The 36 kilometre A grade race was an even affair with all six riders maintaining a steady pace – the final sprint being a close battle in which John Salton again proved too strong at the end. Tim Bernard poked his bike through in the middle of the tight bunch to snatch second ahead of the consistent Colin Aitken, Geoff Thomson, Andrew Palm and Glen Beveridge.
The B graders were worked a little harder with Peter Finlayson attacking repeatedly in the early laps of the event which was also over 36 kilometres. The field of seven had dropped to four for the final charge to the line as Graeme Hanks led out inside the last kilometre. Brad Lester, resuming after illness, took up the challenge and set out after the breaker giving the other two riders, Brian Miller and Paul Yeatman, a perfect trail up to the lead. Just as Hanks was collared by Lester, Miller flashed past and in a desperate finish held out the lunging Yeatman to take the race in a very spirited sprint.
The C graders rode with the A grade juveniles over 24 kilometres in a race that also saw several attempts to break the group, Murray Fenwick being the surging rider on most occasions. The final sprint was similar to that of the B grade with the strong Aaron Nobelius breaking early and attempting a long charge to the line. The daring tactics almost paid off as he held on gamely until picked up inside the final 50 metres by the fast finishing Brad Clark who scored by over a length. Right on the line Fenwick found an extra gear and grabbed second place ahead of Nobelius with Brett Miller and Kevin Ware coming in behind the place getters.
C grade juvenile Ben Cumming rode three laps of the extended King St circuit and with some assistance from a couple of non-competing juveniles, was able to cover the 12 kilometres at an improved rate.