Race 5 of the 6 race spring Handicap series for the Warragul Cycling Club started in sombre fashion on Saturday. The big field held a minutes silence in honour of club member Karen Munro who lost her battle with Cancer on Friday.
Karen, a state cycling champion on the track, was diagnosed with lung cancer just under two years ago. She was given a 10% chance of surviving 12 months but she refused let that stop her. Her motto was to “get on with living rather than wait for dying”. After her diagnosis she has traveled the world including the tour de France, continued to ride and started a charity called “Ride Hard to Breathe Easy”. She has raised thousands of dollars for lung cancer research.
Karen was a wonderful person and she will be sadly missed and fondly remembered.
It was fitting that the day’s race was won by a rider wearing the “Ride Hard to Breathe Easy” colours. Matt Kennelly dedicated the win to Karen who he said was an inspiration to him.
Handicapper Shane Stiles decided to start the big field in 5 separate groups. With 22 minutes head start on scratch the limit group consisted of Colin Manitveld, Renee Patrick, Andrew Gordon and Mathieson Jenkin. They completed lap one in a respectable 22 minutes but were unable to latch on to the scratch guys as they started.
Ten minutes later the group of Dave Baillie, Mariah Dastey, Paul Kennedy, Zvonko Maric, Kate Prestidge, Matt Williamson, John Davine, Grant Neilson and Michael Blackwood started. They completed lap one and two in an impressive 19’30” and kept most riders together.
Five minutes later with 7 minutes on scratch the group of Ross Henry, Matt Keenelly, Jayden Manintveld, Greame Patrick, Justin Prestidge, George Tambassis and Neil Walker started fast completing lap 1 in 18 minutes and lap two in 18’30”.
On the chopping block was a large group consisting of Simon Baxter, Charlie Davine, James Lalor, Cyrus and Rob Monk, Thomas Sandner, Geoff Thomson, Peter Whelan and Tristan Marut. Tristan was making a return to racing after a long layoff. This group struggled for cohesion completing lap one in 17’40” and lap two in 17’50”. They had only taken a minute out of the group in front after two laps and it was clear they were not going to catch them. Marut was struggling and Davine had been dropped.
The scratch group were flying. Kane Walker aka Carrot Man was back from the Tour of Murray, and a big race in NSW. He’d been in training camp with the pros and he smashed it on lap one to record a time of 16’40”. Pete Finlayson, Jim Timmer-Arends and Justin Gravett were required to do a turn once every three minutes when Kane needed a rest.
The scratch group caught the chopping block bunch early in lap 3 and it was all aboard the Kane train. He towed a line of 10 riders around lap 3 in 16’30” and soon the limit bunches were in sight. The Dave Baillie Group had caught all the limit riders and were looking good but were joined mid way along Parkers Rd by the Justin Prestidge led 7 minute bunch. After the catch they slowed a little and Kane train was closing quickly.
Justin Prestidge showed some good race sense for a change and encouraged some others rather than him, to roll through and do some pace making so the scratch men would not catch them. This gave him a rest and a change to hatch a death or glory plan.
With the scratch bunch bearing down Justin Prestidge attacked out of the bottom corner and gapped the field. In typical sprinter fashion, Tambassis, Walker and Kenelly looked at each other and waited for someone else to chase. Matt Williamson took up the chase with the stronger riders sitting on. Prestidge was going for home.
Corner marshal Jayman Prestidge made sure his brother was a chance to win when he was forced to stop the scratch bunch at the corner ending any chance they had of catching.
With 400 meters to the line Kenelly finally decided enough was enough and he flew across to the floundering Prestidge passing him within 20 meters of the line. The Karen Munro Inspired Ride Hard to Breath Easy rider fittingly took the win.
Justin nearly fell of the bike with fatigue but managed to wobble over the line for second. Grant Neilson took third from Jayden Manintveld, Zvonko Maric, George Tambassis, Paul Kennedy, John Davine and Ross Henry. Pete Finlayson took out fasted time after riding the Kane train for 4 laps and dropping him at the finish.
The series concludes next week with the Tim McArdle Handicap. The battle for the overall series winner is close. Top five riders
- MONK Cyrus 27
- MANINTVELD Jayden 23
- STILES Shane 22
- BROWN Colin 22
- ROLLINSON Trev 22