By Rob Monk
The major Trophy Handicap Race of the Year was contested by Warragul Cycling Club Members on Saturday. The 10th running of Tim McArdle Handicap resulted in a thrilling finish.
First away off the limit mark of 14 minutes in front of scratch were the group of Glen Ogilvy, Dave Armour, Matt Williams and John Davine. Limit bunches often go out too hard meaning their early lap times are much quicker than lap 4 and 5. The experienced Davine made sure his bunch kept the pace steady. Matt found the pace a bit quick and was dropped early but Glen, Dave and John worked well together.
Col Manintveld, Greg Selby and Andrew Jackson started 8 minutes in front of scratch. They stayed away from the chasing groups till lap 3.
The group with 6.5 minutes on scratch struggled for cohesion from the start. Zvonko Maric was strong but surged through. Jayman Prestidge was weak and clung on. Brooke Radford and Neil Walker were smooth and Brue Staben was good too until he punctured.
The 5.5 minute group comprising Paul Yeatman, Col Brown, Rob Monk, Shane Stiles and Geoff Thompson suffered from too many chiefs and not enough acquiescent Indians. They lapped well early catching Prestidge’s rabble before the end of lap one. By lap three cracks in cohesion were evident and their lap times lengthened.
The large group 3.5 minutes in front of scratch were quickly gathered in by the 2 minute chopping block group of Jayden Manintveld, Leigh Hauxwell and Greame Parker. These three were flying and only Stuart Battley and Pete Finlayson from the 3.5 minute bunch could hold them.
At the beginning of lap 4 the limit group still held a 6 minute lead but the scratch men were coming fast. National Road Series Riders Kane Walker, Jarryd and Brenton Jones had averaged well over 40 km/h for the first 3 laps. All groups had come together by mid lap 4 except the 3 limit riders. A scratch victory looked inevitable.
Dave Armour and John Davine had other ideas. Glen Ogilvy lost contact with them by the bell but Davine and Armour kept it together and didn’t look back. A huge bunch chased hard past the Milk Factory bearing down on Davine and Armour. Kane Walker launched a big attack on the second last hill gapping most of the riders. Brenton Jones dragged a few back. Davine and Armour held a slender 200 meter gap rounding the last corner.
Dave Armour went for home leaving John Davine struggling. Dave took out the win, the biggest in his short career, from John. Seconds later Brenton Jones flew over the line in third place. Then followed Jayden Manintveld 2mins, Kane Walker Scr, Leigh Hauxwell 2 min, Pete Finlayson 3.5 min, Paul Yeatman 5.5 min, Stuart Battley 3.5 mins and Neil Walker 6.5 mins rounded out the top 10.