The WCC decided its club champions for 2006 on Saturday with a large turn out and a mass start. Early race favourite Shane Stiles arrived late but looked confident to take out the open title. With the ‘aging’ Mat Malacarne now in the masters category it would be left to the young James Henry to dig deep and challenge.
In the masters, Thommo as always was going to hang on for grim death and sprint for the final glory but Mat, Peter Finlayson and Pete Bailey would attempt to spoil the party.
Barring accident or mechanical melt down, Monique Hanley had the women’s category secured but it was great to see several women contesting the event this year. As their fitness improves so to will their ability to challenge Monique in coming seasons.
It was also an exciting day for the juniors who conducted their first road race in some time.
With a mass start the race was under control until the decent towards the first and major climb. It was here that the bunch predictably separated. Basically dividing into two groups comprising A and B graders in one (with a couple of notable exceptions) and C and D graders in a spread out line behind. Those that hung on were in for a fast lap as the bunch pushed ahead along the flats and up Sthurs Rd. Whilst a few tried escaping they never got too far in front. Here is how it unfolded at the pointy end of the race:
Lap 1 (Jason Kruger was up the road)
The bunch saw Kruger go up the road on lap 1 without too much action from others. Stiles, Henry and Malacarne each attempted several times to shake the bunch and bridge to Kruger, the alert pack ensured that their efforts were not successful and shut down all attempts. Tim Lee spoiled Kruger’s chances by pulling the bunch back towards the finish of the lap.
Lap 2 (Chris Beales was up the road)
The bunch let Beales get a substantial break on lap 2, several big attacks from the bunch saw him swallowed by the peleton by the end of the lap.
Lap 3 (Some good tactics on last climb)
With so many riders still in the bunch, a big hit on the last climb up shady creek hill was inevitable. Stiles started the assault early with just Henry and Walker in tow. Henry took over from Stiles with 400 to go changing up 2 gears and lifting the pace considerably – after the race Henry revealed that he had to unload Walker to maintain bragging rights on return to school on Monday (James and Kane both go to Drouin Sec College). Further back Malacarne had bounced out of the bunch and was powering across to the now two leaders, Thomo managed to hang onto his back wheel and joined Henry and Stiles to form the winning break.
Finish (Stiles started the sprint)
Contesting his first sprint in a while, Stiles was notably edgy and jumped probably too early. James being renowned for his quick acceleration managed to get into his slipstream and was realing in ground as the finish approached. A finishing D-Grade cyclist had James’s line has he produced a never say die kick at the end. It was a touch of wheels however that killed off the momentum and meant Shane didn’t have to hit hard again to secure the victory. Thommo claims to have hit the brakes to let Mat Malacarne secure the Masters title but it was a deserved win for someone who is a part-time competitor with a genetic talent for cycling.
Monique Hanley road an excellent ride to hold on to the leading bunches and take out the women’s title of club champion. Pam, Glenda, Vicki, Tammy and Gita also had fantastic rides and thoroughly enjoyed their stoush.
Kane ‘sandshoes’ Walker got an honourable mention from Staf as one to watch in the future.
The junior race was held under control with lead and tail cars, as well as being under the watchful eye of several parents. Without a crash on the track the entire season it had to happen sooner or later and so it was that a couple came down with a touch of wheels. Bravery prevailed however and they jumped back on the bikes to continue the race in earnest. James Lalor put the power on up the final sprint to the finish to hold off Cyrus Monk and Rupert Hudd-Baillie.
Open Shane Stiles (1st overall- 1.22.34) James Henry (2nd overall - ST) Tim Lee ? Masters Mathew Malacarne (3rd overall - 1.22.37) Geoff Thomson (4th overall - ST) Peter Bailey 1.23.44 Female Monique Hanley 1.27.50 Pam Bensted Ellie Watson Juniors James Lalor Cyrus Monk Rupert Hudd-Baillie Joe Patrick Reuben Hudd-Baillie Rene Patrick