By Rob Monk
The event was conducted as a mass start, a total of twenty five Juniors, Elite riders, Masters and Women’s categories all started together. Twenty four finished despite the tough conditions. Only Jayman Prestidge lacked the intestinal fortitude to complete the course. The favourite to take the club championship trophy was Brenton Jones who recently won two stages of the tour of Korea. The mass start format meant that if you could beat Brenton you could be the champion.
The elite riders kept the pace moderate the first time up the hill and most of the field stayed together for the first of three laps. Constant driving rain and 8 degree temperatures did little to dampen the spirits of the riders. Approaching the second time up the climb Jimmy Lalor tried to sneak off the front so he would have a head start on the hill. He was reeled in and spat out the back and the bunch split slightly on the decent. Lalor, Duane McDonald, Neil Edwards, Paul Rowse and Sam Abbott were dropped on the decent as riders tried to scrabble back out by the top.
After a series of attacks going up Sturs Rd the elite quartet of Cy Monk, Brenton and Jarryd Jones and Jayden Manintveld finally rode off the front. Cy Monk tried to put the pressure on up the climb on lap three but the Jones boys had no trouble holding his wheel. Jayden was dropped and this left only three at the head of the bunch. Jarryd Jones seized the initiative and went up the road and Brenton made sure Cy would have to do the majority of the chasing. Cy managed to catch Jarryd three kilometres from the finish. As if reading the racing playbook, Brenton attacked immediately and Cy had to chase again. In the end Brenton was just too strong and took out his fourth club championship in five years. Cy managed to distance Jarryd to take second. Jarryd was third.
The Masters 123 race came alive on the hill on lap 3. Jason Laid set a solid tempo at the bottom of the climb. He paused to see the damage he’d done half way up. He seemed pleased with the level of discomfort he’d generated so far but still took off again. Only Matt Parkinson was able to follow him. By the top of the climb this duo held a 400 metre gap on the rest of the field. They worked together to maintain it while behind them Paul Yeatman and Shane Stiles moved into chase mode. At the turn into Sturs Rd the chasers were gaining ground but Yeatman broke a spoke and had to get off his bike to adjust his brakes to stop the rim rubbing. He was 250-300m down by the time he got back on his bike. Stiles was left to chase alone as the Masters 4+ riders with him were not going to help. Parkinson sensed that Laird was tiring in the home straight and went on the attack. He bridged across to Jayden Manintveld who had come off the back of the elite bunch. Parkinson went on to take the victory with Laird in second and Yeatman flew past Stiles in sight of the line to take third.
The Masters 4+ race was always going to be a tactical affair. It was clear early on that no-one was going to do much but try and sit on the younger grades. After the third time up the hill the championship would be fought out by Pete Finlayson, Geoff Thompson, Rob Monk, George Tambassis, Pete Whelan, Greg Spencer and Graeme Parker. Parker was the favourite. Stiles and Yeatman towed this bunch along in pursuit of their own championship race but when Yeatman had his mechanical Stiles launched a series of attacks. After his third surge Rob Monk took a change and went up the road. Even though it was still five kilometres to the finish he hoped the bunch dominated by “sit on sprinters” would let him go just far enough until he was too far to be caught. This proved to be the case. Monk was allowed to establish a sizable break before any organized chase was started. Although dying quickly Monk held on to take the win. Thommo finished strongly to take second from Pete Finlayson in third.
Sam Abbott survived the second time up the hill with the leaders but was dropped on the decent after some nasty work from Rob Monk. It mattered little though as she was the women’s club champion; the rest of the girls were at home preparing for the Baw Baw Cyclist Ball.
In the Junior race Mitch Jones won the boys section and Abby Taylor won the junior girls race.
Brenton JONES 1
Cyrus MONK 2
Jarryd JONES 3
Matt PARKINSON 1
Jason Laird 2
Paul YEATMAN 3
Rob MONK 1
Geoffrey THOMSON 2
Peter FINLAYSON 3
Sam ABBOTT 1
Alana ABBOTT 2
Mitch Jones 1
Abby Taylor 2