By Murray Fenwick
Austrlian Cyclist Of The Year Awards
Warragul’s Wayne Kestle gained recognition for his excellent achievements on Friday night at the prestigious Australian cyclist of the year awards held in Melbourne. The award recognizes a rider’s performance over the year and is separated into five categories with one rider being selected as the overall rider of the year. Wayne won the award for the junior under 19 division and was surrounded by fellow champion award winners including Tour de France professional Phil Anderson, Gold Medallist Kathy Watt, Amateur champion Billy Joe Shoarsby and overall winner Gary Neiwand.
Dargo Mountain Biking
Another weekend winner was Phil Gallagher who overcame all expectations in coming second in the grueling 150km mountain bike time trial held in Dargo on Sunday. Gallagher placed second t o Australian road champion Steven Drake who blew the field apart over the hilly course. Phil placed well ahead of many mountain bike legends and Victorian institute of sport riders in his best performance in a long while. All Gallagher had to say was “It was the hardest race I have ever ridden”.
Saturday’s Warragul club racing saw a fairly poor turnout considering the conditions with small bunches in all grades.
The six man strong A grade field didn’t take long to split with riders not slowing at all in the smaller bunch. Three riders broke away on the first of three laps with Aaron Nobelius taking Wayne Kestle and Murray Fenwick well clear of Paul Yeatman, Darren Spiteri and Chris Kypriotis. Yeatman was the only one of the three to be dropped who continued on with Kypo and Spiteri retiring. The leading three still did not slow and the finish was quickly upon them. Nobelius decided he wasn’t slowing for the stop start tactical battle that has occurred over the last few races and took off early for the line.
Kestle was quickly on his wheel and then waited till Nobelius used up the last of his energy before making his bid for the line. Kestle finished an easy first with Fenwick second and Nobelius third.
The B grade event was more evenly contested with the bunch holding together for much of the first of the 12km laps. Unfortunately Stephen Fenwick clipped a wheel and crashed out on the first climb of the day with John Salton also stopping. Brett Williams, Jason Boxall, Stephen Twinning and Danial Dilger failed to stay with the leaders over the hills on the second lap leaving only four riders to contest the finish. Dale Grant would have been favorite to take the sprint from youngsters Scott Keeble and Ben Fleming had it not been for the dark horse in Anthony Radcliffe. Radcliffe who has been off the bike for the last month was not given the attention he deserved and when he made his bid for the line no one stopped him.
Grant came within a wheel of Radcliffe for second with Fleming third and Keeble fourth.
Vic Spunner proved too strong in the C grade event where a small field resulted in the group being completely split in the final laps with Vic Spunner powering home for a well-deserved victory of more than 15 seconds. Ted Dunn came through in second with Luke Langlaan a much-improved third place not far behind.
The junior division saw a dead heat in the time trial with Michael Maunder and newcomer Scott Byers coming through in 20.15 over the 9km time trial. These two seem to be fairly closely matched and a strong rivalry seems assured. Third place went to Anthony Young in an excellent effort in 22.00 with new rider R. Honeyman finishing only 10 seconds further back. Jason Spunner finished just off the pace with Matthew Young coming through for sixth.