By Murray Fenwick
Arguably the best junior road rider in Victoria, Warragul’s Wayne Kestle took on the best Australia had to offer in the junior Australian road championships held in Devenport on the weekend. Kestle who finished fourth was unlucky not to place when he punctured in the final kilometre in the lead up to the sprint of the gruelling 104km event. The three place getters were dragged clear as Kestle powered over one of the many climbs on the 26km circuit. The Institute of Sport rider kept the pace high aided by team-mates who were blocking the main field. His puncture robbed the pursuit champion of a much-deserved medal in the race. Wayne also placed sixth in the individual time trial and third in the team’s event.
Aaron Nobelius finished in the top 20 in the road race in an excellent effort for a first year junior rider.
Back on the home front, a typically windy and icy day greeted Warragul’s 50km scratch race contenders. The large A grade field of eight riders took some time to thaw out in the wintery conditions but it wasn’t long before Anthony Radcliffe and veteran Dave Redman split the field. Geoff Thomson, Graeme Hanks, Ross Henry and Murray Fenwick were forced to give chase followed by Paul Yeatman, and David Cairns not far behind.
The field quickly reorganized and another attack was soon to follow. A small group was dragged away consisting of Thomson. Redman, Fenwick and a surprise inclusion in Radcliffe who hasn’t been on the bike in quite some time. The chasing riders couldn’t close this gap due to the field being strung out behind the front-runners. Cairns slowly reeled in Yeatman and Hanks but then suffered from a blown tube in the final lap. This left Yeatman with a wheel to work with and was to take him on the line much to Hanks bemusement.
The four riders out in front didn’t work in well together and were lucky to hold their lead.
Constant attacking and a lack of willingness to work in turns resulted in cat and mouse style tactics coming into play. In the final climb before the finish Fenwick managed to slip clear and hold off his opponents to take the event in 1.26.10. Thomson also broke clear on the climb and powered through for second 12 seconds behind the winner Radcliffe, in the ride of the day, came over Redman for third despite having broken a spoke and pacing the bunch with some lengthy turns in the final kilometres.
Another great ride was that of Ross Henry who battled on alone for much of the race and came through only a minute behind Redman.
The B grade sprint finish was a pearler with Dale Grant inching Peter Finlayson to the line in 1.36.35 with an excellent third to Bruce Mason. It was early in the race that Grant set up the win when he forced the pace and dropped Rohan Watts and later on Stuart Cuckson. Again Grant and Finlayson broke clear with Mason chasing hard to hold the leaders, this move dropped Brett Williams off the back. The three then eased up somewhat in the lead-up to the great finish, Cuckson battled on well to take fourth in 1.43.33.
Six riders started off the C grade event joined by junior riders Stephen Fenwick and Daniel Dilger. Scott Keeble took out the event after having dropped the rest of the field when chasing after Jason Boxall who had rolled off the front. Keeble’s time was 1.21.22 with Boxall a further 16 seconds back. Mellisa Arts finished third in 1.23.50 after having lost contact in the second lap. Anthony Vogrig and Marion Ophof failed to finish after also losing contact in the same lap. Fenwick and Dilger completed their 20km with Fenwick again holding off Dilger to the line.
Riders and supporters are reminded that the winter season will culminate next Saturday with the running of the club’s 1993 road championships. Senior and junior under 19s are to cover 78km with the junior under 17s to ride 39 and the women, if sufficient starters, 49kms. Presentations for the road series will be made at a get together in the clubrooms beginning at 6.30pm – attendees are asked to bring a casserole and/or sweets.