Lawrence Maskill – Tuesday August 9 2005
Forty keen, frost and wind-resistant secondary and upper primary school children from across the Gippsland region lined up for this year’s VCSS Gippsland Zone qualifier, with the lure of a placegetter’s medal, a funky bright green and yellow Uno winner’s jersey and entry into the finals to be held 15 October as the feature event of the Herald Sun Tour final day in Carlton. Fortunately the forecast rain held off, although the wind was strong and bitter, making for some tough riding and cold marshals, teachers and parents. The participants were divided into three groups, with the novice and racing classes together within the groups. This made for strong bunch riding and some clever tactics by some riders.
Warragul Cycling Club had three representatives: Steve Sandner in the M U19, James Henry in the M U17 and Zoe Atkinson in the W U15. Zoe was in the second group sent out and was blown down the fatter end of a well-populated pack by a strong wind and recent months spent riding her horse instead of her bike. It must be said one corner marshall clocked this group’s first lap as faster than the older third group’s, so the pace was on to sort the lucerne hay from the clover! Zoe put in a very gutsy ride over the two laps, and persistence succeeded, gaining young Atkinson a first place and winner’s jersey to prove it. Hopefully this success will encourage Zoe back onto the bike on a more regular basis (although if she wants some horse-riding lessons, the Junior Development chairperson can oblige!).
James Henry and Steve Sandner went out in smaller but strong third group. Three laps saw a little shuffling at the pointy end of the small pack, with James finding himself jostled and pushed to the outer to face the wind on occasion. Steve found better positioning, tucking himself on the inside, saving energy he would use later to lead James out for a first across the line. Being a Sandner, Steve was guaranteed of a berth into the finals but also scored himself a jersey to add to his wardrobe.
Congratulations and well done to Zoe, James and Steve for their gold winning efforts.
Finally I would like to thank Graeme “ lead man” Fricke, Karin “hotdog with sauce” Atkinson, Zoe Atkinson, Ross “hopster” Henry, James Henry and Steve Sandner for their assistance on the day and the support and enthusiasm they gave to the event.