By Jayman Prestidge
Twenty-five cyclists raced at Shady Creek on Saturday afternoon in good weather.
Race Director Jarryd Jones sent A Grade away first. Rob Monk, Jason Laird, Leigh Hauxwell, George Tambassis, Jayman Prestidge , Graham Parker, Peter Whelan, Peter Finlayson, Shane Stiles and Brett Rollinson made up the field of A Grade racers. Some of the Clubs best racers were away at the Tour of Turkey and The Tour of the South West. Who would take an A Grade victory in their absence?
Approaching the end of Lap 1 Peter Whelan soloed away. Jayman Prestidge soon jumped across and they worked together until being reigned in up the second climb of Shady Creek Hill. Graham Parker, Leigh Hauxwell and Jason Laird established a gap over the crest of the hill, which was only bought back by strong rolling turns from the ‘big men’ in the bunch.
With the bunch back together on Sthurs Road, it was only a matter of minutes before Brett Rollinson rolled off the front. The bunch didn’t seem interested in chasing. Rob Monk took the initiative and bridged across. The bunch still didn’t seem interested. George Tambassis then took off and reached the duo ahead.
Whilst the bunch were now interested in the 1 minute 10 second deficit at the bell lap, the pure hill climbers in Jason Laird, Leigh Hauxwell and Graham Parker knew that they would pull much of that deficit back on the last climb of Shady Creek Hill.
At the top of the climb the break of Rollinson, Monk and Tambassis maintained a good lead. Behind them the climbers had dropped Whelan, Prestidge, Stiles and Finlayson, who would all finish a minute behind the winners. Parker, Hauxwell and Laird had to work hard to catch the breakaway and did so up the small inclines on Sthurs Road with only 5 kilometres to go.
In the final sprint to the line Graham Parker had too much power and took victory ahead of Leigh Hauxwell and George Tambassis in second and third positions respectively.
The B Grade field included Jason Dastey, Patrick Brett, Lachlan Clarke, Zvonko Maric, Paul Rowse, Colin Brown, Bruce Staben, and Cody Orgill. In an exhibition of how great cycling is as a competitive sport for all ages, the age gap between the youngest and eldest racer was 48 years.
The race was animated on the Shady Creek climb twice, although the expected attack from Cody Orgill didn’t occur. He had been struggling with a cold during the week and would not figure in the race. Instead, it was Jason Dastey on lap two who set the pace on the climb. This turn of speed up the hill seemed to scare the younger inexperienced riders from attacking and the bunch stayed together until the end of the race.
In a bunch sprint for the win an impressive turn of speed from young Lachlan Clarke saw him take victory. Jason Dastey, who is not known for his sprinting prowess surprised the spectators with a strong sprint for second place ahead of much younger rider Patrick Brett.
Colin Manititveld, Clancy McColl, Trevor Rollinson, Rob Waddell, Mark Mason, Greg Sealby and Janine Vaverssuer rode a strong race in C Grade. In a strong showing for the elder statesman of the field, it was Trevor Rollinson who took victory ahead of Colin Manititveld and first time racer Clancy McColl.
Next week sees the Warragul racers take to the Phillip Island Race Track next Saturday as part of the Caulfield Carnegie Cycling Club’s Phillip Island Spectacular.