By Murray Fenwick
Phil Gallagher again proved too strong in the Warragul Cycling Club sprint to take out the weekend’s 50km scratch race after an aggressive breakaway that cut the field to pieces and set up a great win after weeks off the bike. Once again an excellent turnout contested the event with many returning riders and a few first timers putting in some strong performances. The A graders of Geoff Thomson, Phil Gallagher, Aaron Nobelius and Murray Fenwick set the pace early on with B grade riders Travis Fromholtz, Kevin Piercy, Ross Henry, Paul Yeatman, Ian Fromholtz, Grub Melnyk and Stuart Cuckson working in well until the super fit Thomson split the field at the 15km mark. The other three A grade riders managed to hold his wheel but were constantly, struggling to hold the surging rider. It was during one of these surges that Gallagher attacked and created a gap that only Thomson could close.
Nobelius and Fenwick were forced to give chase but couldn’t catch Warragul’s new De Ablo. However it was only in the final sprint to the line that Gallagher was able to shake the veteran racer in a time of 1.21.05.
The remaining B grade field had been left stretched out far behind and it was every man for himself to reform working groups. Travis and Piercy set the pace and put time into the others with a lead of one minute over their nearest rivals. Travis eventually took line honours in a gutsy effort finishing three seconds in front of Piercy in a time of 1.27.01. Henry finished third at 1.28.01 with Yeatman fourth in 1:31:38. Both riders rode strongly and consolidated little time to the eventual winner.
Melnyk and Ian Fromholtz both retired with Fromholtz staring in disbelief at a cracked frame!
The C grade peleton was also split early on over the Christie’s Road circuit as newcomer Matt Hall powered along assisted by Dale Grant. Russ Walker gave chase but was left in no mans land between the breakaway riders and the chase group of Ian De Bryne, Tedd Dunn and Jason Boxall. Ben Fleming, Kevin Mills, Melissa Aarts and Debbie Williams lost contact and retired. Hall, in an effort worthy of a champion clinched the race narrowly beating Grant to the line in a time of 1.12.35. Russ Walker rode in at 1.13.15 with De Bryne and Dunn coming in at 1.15.56 with Boxall just off the pace.
Junior riders Stephen Fenwick and Daniel Dilger both equipped with new bikes rode 19km after losing the C grade bunch. Fenwick improved his previous best time by over 2.30 with the assistance of Dilger. New rider Damien Bridgeland and Shane a Boxall rode 10km with Bridgeland winning by over five minutes in an excellent first ride.
Victorian 100K Title
Warragul’s Aaron Nobelius. Debbie Williams and Marion Ophof competed in the Victorian 100km title with Debbie placing an excellent fourth in the ladies B grade division on her new Giant. Nobelius finished a well deserved 14th in the men’s race and again showed that he can mix it with Victoria’s best.