By Jayman Prestidge
Graham Parker has won his third straight victory in A Grade following a race full of attacking.
Twenty-seven riders raced at Darnum in perfect Autumn conditions. Several new faces were in the bunches with Russell Church in B Grade and Matt Grey in C Grade. David Baillie also made a return to racing after ‘several years’ resting his legs!
The speed was high from the start in A Grade and within 2 kilometres Shane Stiles and Peter Whelan were 300 meters up the road after Paul Yeatman launched a cheeky and doomed attack right from the line. Stiles and Whelan would remain in front until being caught with less than one lap remaining.
The chase bunch behind was reminiscent of a rabble! Paul Yeatman and Graham Parker were the only riders to help when rider after rider attacked. First it was Jason Dastey who tried to attack the bunch but his lack of training saw Yeatman drag him back. Brett Kennedy then attacked strongly, although a dodgy chain resulted in a lot of noise and him nearly toppling off his bike.
Next in the parade of attacks was Jayman Prestidge who for a short time put a good gap between the bunch and himself. Graham Parker came to the fore and dragged Prestidge back. Then Rob Monk launched the first of what would have been at least 8 attacks. He too was bought back to the fold by Graham Parker. The simple fact was that regardless of who attacked, it was Graham Parker who bought everything back.
In fact, the ferocity of the attacks and Parker lead chasing resulted in Stiles and Whelan’s break being reduced from in excess of one minute, to less than 5 seconds at the bell lap. The final lap was a cat and mouse type affair with another flurry of attacks throughout. In the end though, the attacks amounted to a whole lot of hot wind. Graham Parker simply stamped on his pedals and sprinted past the A grade field for victory. Paul Yeatman was second and George ‘Crystal’ Tambassis was third.
The B Grade race was won one by the fast improving Patrick Brett. He is learning the key skills required to be a good racer. His ability to sit on and observe how the race plays out is a skill that many never learn. He saved his energy throughout the entire race and when the final hills outside the Fonterra factory loomed for the last time, he hit the after burners and put the rest of the bunch in pain.
Neo Pro rider Jason Tubnor, who needs to learn from Patrick’s race craft, had spent much of the race on the front and was too exhausted to accelerate when he needed to. Only Russell Church and Geoff Thomson were within striking distance at the races end and rolled across the line for second and third place respectively.
The C Grade race was a relatively sedate affair with Clancy McColl and Colin Manitveld in a long break. They were caught on the Bonlac hill on the last lap. With Steve Muggeridge, Frank Benstead and Matt Grey back in with a chance, it was young Clancy McColl at the last corner who took the initiative. He launched an attack with 400 metres to the line that would see him win by a 30 metre margin from Matt Grey and Steve Muggeridge.
The D Grade race is always great when Terry Kelly turns up. He only races when the sun shines and enjoys him-self immensely. He was joined by Robyn Baker, Mark Mason, David Baillie and Michelle Scurr. Terry showed his ex-professional race skills and took victory ahead of Mark Mason and David Baillie.
On the other side of the State in Harcourt, several Warragul rides participated in the Victorian Country Championships. Macca Parkinson finished 2nd in the Under 17 female event, Cyrus Monk 2nd in the Elite Mens event and Matthew Parkinson finished 1st in the Master Mens 1,2,3 event.
The Club is very proud of these achievements and will welcome them back to the next Club race at Shady Creek on 30 May, 2015.