The Lillico circuit greeted a good field of 18 riders from the Warragul cycling club on Saturday.
A grade were in for a quite day as Thomas Sandner was returning from illness and did not take off from the start at his usual break neck speed. It took A grade over 18 minutes to complete their first lap. This is over 2 minutes slower than their usual pace. James Henry was the first to put some pressure on the bunch as the approached the start finish line the 3 rd time. He jumped up the short but steep hills just before the finish line and had Chris Beales and Matt Malacarne in trouble. Matt managed to get back in contact with the bunch by Chris had had enough after 3 laps and headed for home early. Thomas tried to shake the bunch a couple more times on the last lap but Geoff Thomson and James Henry easily covered his attacks. At the final corner Matt Malacarne let a gap open and planned to use his superior descending speed to catch up. Thomas Sandner noticed the gap and immediately ended Matts chances by sprinting down the hill. Into the prevailing head wind it was always going to be a challenge for him to stay away. Thommo and James Henry locked in behind him and as they crested the brow of the final hill James accelerated away. Thommo threw it into the 53 -11 and ground past James just in time to take out another A grade win.
In B grade a field of 8 riders raced over 4 laps. The “in form” Pete Bailey and Pete Finlayson were always going to be hard to beat. They shared a lot of the work in the first 2 laps. Bailey must have had a bad experience at the Warragul “Drive In” as each lap he was slow approaching this site but always in a colossal hurry to get up the hill once the group passed it. His acceleration up the hill the second time was enough to unseat Dave Baillie from the bunch. Paul Yeatman and Pete Bailey did the lions share of the pace making with occasional help from Ross Henry and Pete Finlayson in the 3rd lap. Rob Monk, Trent Brown and Justin O’Conner were rarely near the pointy end of the bunch. Finlayson attacked on the hill before the finish of the 3 rd lap and that was the end of the race for Rob Monk. Yeatman countered after the turn and the field strung out but remained together. The final time up the Bloomfields road climb Justion O’Conner managed to cramp in both legs. So bad were the cramps he had to get off the bike. You’d think a lecturer in Physical Education would keep himself in better shape. No further moves were made until the finishing straight. Paul Yeatman knew that leading the field up the final hill into the wind was not the place to be but no-one would come around him so that is what he had to do. He was caught by Pete Bailey first and then Pete Finlayson timed his run to the finish perfectly to make it 2 wins in two weeks.
C and D grade combined and raced over 3 laps. Bill Murphy and Simon Cuckson fought out a titanic battle over the whole race. Roger Bell stuck with them and Travis Parker rode a long individual time trial. Bill tried hard to shake the others each time up the “drive in” hill but Simon and Roger stuck with him. The final time up the Bloomfields Road hill Bill made the decisive move near the top of the climb. He gave it everything and dropped Simon Cuckson and Roger Bell. They chased him hard by Bill went on to win by 4 seconds over Simon and Roger. This was Bill’s first win with the Warragul Cycling club.
Next week is the Tim McArdle memorial handicap. It should be a great race.