Fine but windy conditions greeted the Warragul Cycling Club on the challenging Fishers Rd Circuit. The prestigious Tim McArdle Trophy was up for grabs. This race is contested annually and named in honour a Dr Tim McArdle, a member of the WCC who was killed while on a training ride. Given the recent events in Germany it is timely to remind both cyclists and motorists of the shared responsibility that have to look out for each other while on the road.
D Grade set off first with an 11 minute head start on A grade over the 40.8 km circuit. The group of six consisting of Steve Jackson, Paul Kennedy, Chris Herreen, Brendan Pridmore, Emma Beverage and Dave Axford completed their fist lap in 27:42 with only Steve finding the pace too much. The bunch broke up over the Fishers Rd wall the 2nd time but they still had a reasonable lead on the chasers.
C grade set off 4.5 minutes in front of scratch and worked up the hill at a solid speed. The first casualty of the race was Simon Cuckson who broke a spoke after travelling less than 1 km. Steve Hall was back to defend the trophy he won last year and despite a lack of training he managed to keep up with the bunch for the first lap and a ½. C – Grades first lap was completed in the reasonable time of 24:25.
B-Grade consisting of Pete Finlayson, Chris Jones, Allan Beverage and Steve Twining started 2.5 minutes in front of scratch and flew around the first lap in 23.03. Every bike race has a pivotal moment; a time when the race is won or lost based on the decisions a rider makes. This week’s moment occurred on the Fishers Rd wall at the start of the 2nd lap. Finlayson was the strongest rider in the B grade bunch and he made the key move in the race on the wall. He realised his fellow B-graders, Jones and Beverage were struggling so he made an all or nothing jump across to the C –grade bunch as they neared the Fishers Rd Decent. He made it across and with Col Brown, Bill Murray, Paul Yeatman and Michael Pridmore they worked together down the hill into the savage headwind. Rob Monk, Steve Hall, Alan Beverage and Chris Jones chased hard but made no impression on this group. The gap opened up and the race for them was lost.
Finlayson and the 4 C-graders hauled in the D graders on the Picnic Point hill the 3rd time up and knew they only had to stay away from A grade to win the race.
The scratchies Jason Kruger, James Henry, Thomas and Steve Sandner and Geoff Thomson completed their fist lap in 22:56. They caught the remnants of the C, and B grade bunch Rob Monk, Steve Hall, Chris Jones and Allan Beverage on the wall the third time up and chased hard but the combined B and C grade group finished 56 seconds in front of them.
Pete Finlayson took out the race blowing away the C Grades in the final sprint. Second was Paul Yeatman from Bill Murray and Micheal Pridmore. The A grade bunch was led home by Geoff Thomson in the fastest time of the day.