By Rob Monk
The final race of the year for Warragul Cycling Club members were the Club
Criterium Championships. In cool conditions riders contested on the Burke St
The open championship would be contested by anyone under the age of 45. It
was some of the riders in the younger master’s categories who showed the
elite riders how it was done. Shane Stiles was in his usual combative mood
and spent 95 percent of the race off the front either on his own or with
anyone who would join him. His first half a dozen breakaway attempts were
not successful but eventually he was joined by Matt Parkinson. This was
always going to be the most dangerous combination for the rest of the field
to chase down. They were being reeled in but on the hill Glen Marriott
jumped over to join them. All it took was three words, “We’ve got a gap.”
and the race was over for the chasers. Stiles, Parkinson and Marriott rode
strongly for the second half of the race and never looked like being caught.
The prerace favourite Brett Kennedy, fresh from a second in the sprint
competition at the Tour of Bright, didn’t fire a shot and was one of the
first riders beaten. He looked like a race horse in need of the spelling
paddock after the race. Paul Yeatman, Simon Baxter and Daniel Bishop
sprinted strongly for 4 fourth place. They should have used this energy in
Stiles chose to lead out the sprint and when Matt Parkinson came off his
wheel with 200 meters to go the race looked to be his. Marriott seems to
have found his sprinting legs and made it a close thing on the line. Matt
was first with Glen Second and Shane third.
The Masters 4 plus race started at a steady pace and gradually increased in
tempo until lap 5 on the King St Hill. Peter Whelan put in a surge. George
Tambassis was locked onto his wheel and Graeme Parker jumped hard to join
them. Rob Monk was caught near the back of the field and had to work hard to
get across to the leading trio. Monk, Tambassis, Whelan and Parker then
swapped turns for a few laps and opened a big gap on the chasers. Col Brown,
Ross Henry and Neil Edwards chased hard but could not make up any ground.
Pete Whelan was always in trouble with Monk, Tambassis and Parker quicker
than him in the finishing sprint. Whelan’s only hope was to get away on the
King St hill or drop Monk and Tambassis in the corners. He tried as hard as
he could but they would not be shaken. In the sprint Graeme Parker was
easily the quickest with Rob Monk second and George Tambassis in third.
Tambassis deserves special mention as just two weeks ago he was in hospital
with head injuries after a serious race crash. His comeback has been
commendable. Pete Whelan was fourth.
The women’s club championship was a close race. Kristen Theile lasted half
the race before going off the back of the bunch. Robyn Baker forced the pace
up the hills and had Adele Whelan and Kerryn Milner in trouble a couple of
times. Macca Parkinson had all the answers though and took the victory in a
sprint from Adele with Kerryn Milner in third. Macca’s win made it two out
of two for the Parkinson family. Male and Female club criterium champions
from the same family. That is a WCC first.
Racing returns on the Jan 10th with the Summer Super Criterium Series.
Racing will move to 8.15am on Sunday Mornings on the Burke St circuit. All
riders can be racers. Merry Christmas and see you all on Sunday mornings in
the new year.