By Rob Monk
A great field of 43 riders contested the first of 4 races in the Voyage Fitness Handicap Series at Darnum on Saturday. With many first time races in the field getting the handicap right was always going to be a challenge.
The limit group of Duane McDondald, Rod Cheyne, Michelle Scurr and John Beech started eleven and a half minute in front of scratch. They rode superbly and would not be caught by any of the groups completing 5 laps. They finished 1 minute in front of the fastest group of the day but at the end could not catch the riders who had to complete only 4 laps.
Next away with 11 minutes on scratch were Linda Tubnor, Annette Cunnington, Carolyn Turner, Mary Aldren, Heath Foster, Boyd Makepeace and Zoe Waddel. This group had to complete 4 laps. They worked hard to stay together over the first three laps to make sure they were close to their target speed of 28km/h. Turner, arguably the oldest debut racer in the history of the Warragul Cycling Club, and Waddel and Foster were the only riders who were dropped from this group before the finish.
Annie Pryjmak, Kerryn Milner, Jennifer Campbell and Janet Leman did four laps and started 6.5 meters in front of scratch. Jennifer struggled a little but Annie, Kerryn and Janet were super strong and caught the limit group of four lap riders before the bell.
Scratch group Cy Monk, Shane Stiles, Matt Parkinson and Chris Joustra would have to ride a course record to win and they set off at record pace. Joustra was dropped on lap one as the scratch group caught the group of Graeme Parker, Clem Fries, Brett Rollinson, Will Lumby and Paul Makepeace on lap two.
By lap three they had reeled in Rob Monk, Paul Yeatman and Pete Whelan who had already caught Geoff Thomson, Jason Tubnor and Matthew Grey. Cy Monk and Matt Parkinson drove the huge group on, averaging 42km/h for the last 2 laps. Despite catching the group of Jason Dastey, Zvonko Maric, Matt Williamson, Colin Manintveld and Craig Taylor near the end of the last lap they would not contest any of the paid positions. The outmarkers would contest victory.
Late in the final lap the group of Macca Parkinson, James Williams, John Van Heuven, caught the outmarkers. Adele Whelan had worked hard with them for the first 3 laps but let them ride away on the hills at the end of lap 4.
Sixteen Year Old Macca Parkinson may have been one of the youngest riders in the field but she had more race experience than John Van Heuven, Brett Williams and Kerryn Milner. Macca had let the inexperienced riders do plenty of work on the front in the final lap. Macca then attacked on the final hill and managed to gap the others. She took the lead into the final bend and was just too strong in the run to the line. Kerryn Milner had ridden a great race and rode strongly to take second place. Then followed the improving John Van Heuven who is at the contrasting end of the age scale as Macca. First time racer James Williams was fourth and will benefit from the experience. Other novice racers Janet Leman. Annett Cunningham, Linda Tubnor and Mary Alded were also in the money. Cy Monk took fastest time but could not catch the leaders.
Race 2 of the series is on Next Saturday at Darnum.
Anyone who would like to try racing is invited to register on the clubs Facebook page or website. Pre enter each Voyage Fitness Handicap race here. Novice racers are welcome. Handicaps are a great way to start racing.
Sunday’s CX Race
Shane Stiles turned the tables on arch rival Matt Parkinson in Sunday’s Cyclo Cross race. Cyclo cross has elements of road cycling, mountain biking and even BMX. It is ran on a small circuit with many obstacles including log jumps and mud bogs. Parkinson had beaten Stiles easily in the previous race but Stiles turned the table on Sunday. Paul Yeatman was third with Cy Monk fourth. Michelle Scurr was the best of the female riders.