By Rob Monk
Small fields and hard racing were the order of the day at Labertouche on Saturday for the first of four races in the B&T Plumbing Criterium Series. With a new Garmin 520 cycle computer up for grabs for the winner of the series, racing was going to be ultra competative.
The flexible grading format for this series means even numbers of riders are placed in each grade based on rider rankings. Grades will change each week depending on who turns up. Seventeen entries for the first race of the series meant that 3 grades would be formed.
In A grade Cyrus Monk looked to maintain his form after finishing Second in the Grafton to Inverell race two weeks ago and second in the Eildon Road race last weekend. Cy won the first intermediate sprint narrowly from Brett Kennedy then went on the attack taking Jason Laird with him. Jarryd Jones worked hard to get over to the break towing Brett Kennedy with him. JJ blew up and Kennedy couldn’t hold the two lightweights on the hill. Glenn Marriott missed the move and blamed Matt Parkinson who was having a shocker. Cyrus and Jason rode away from the chasers. Jason rolled over Cyrus in the sprint giving Cy second place 3 weeks in a row. Brett Kennedy toyed with Glen Marriott in the sprint for third. Marriott has a touch of the diesel engine about him. Goes well for a long time but lacks that bit of a punch when it is required.
B grade saw Thommo whining again. The flexible grading system saw Rob Monk and Shane Stiles who are usually at the bottom of A grade placed at the top of B grade. Thommo likes to be the top of B grade. Monk and Stiles certainly didn’t race like A graders and could not catch Col Brown when he went away a lap before the intermediate sprint and took it out. Monk was second and rode over to Brown encouraging him to stay off the front. Neil Edwards chased them down with the help of Shane Stiles. Monk went again on the hill and Thommo joined him but would not give him a single turn to help. In the finish Stiles led out the sprint and looked to be doing enough until he cramped. This allowed Monk to take the win with the very strong Col Brown in second. Stiles hung on for third.
In C grade Dave Thomas took out the intermediate sprint from Rob Waddel. Col Manintveld kept his powder dry and rode away to take the final victory. Rob was second with Dave in third. Robyn Baker was fourth and first female. Bruce Evanson rode strongly to take out 5th.
This week racing moves to Endevour St Warragul opposite the velodrome. The course is flat and easy so everyone is encouraged to come and have a race. There will be a junior race at 1.30 with seniors starting at 2. Please register online here to race or via facebook.