By Rob Monk
The third race of the DJ Salton Tiling and Waterproofing series was held over the Cloverlea on Sunday.
The A grade field was boosted by the return of Leigh Hauxwell and Matt Parkinson after both missed a large block of racing due to injury. It is always a long road back from injury. Hauxwell had been injured in a serious crash when he clipped Shane Stile’s rear wheel in a criterium and hit the deck hard, fracturing his pelvis. After half a lap of his comeback race Hauxwell and Stiles were off the front of the bunch again. Their lead was nearly a minute and the chasers were beginning to worry. History looked like it would repeat though as Haxuwell took the fast corner into Parkers Rd a little too quickly. He locked up the back wheel and skidded across the road. His tyre left the rim and he hit the bitumen again. Undeterred he was quickly on his feet. He repaired the broken tyre and as the bunch went past he gave chase. After half a lap in pursuit he was back in the race. Stiles was his usual combative self. Brett Kennedy won both versions of the intermediate sprint and was strong in chasing down Chris Joustra whenever he went up the road. Jayman Prestidge was pathetic and was dropped after one lap. Pete Whelen suffered from the frequent accelerations on lap 4 and called it a day early. Matt Parkinson joined him to watch the finish. Parkinson is a shadow of his former greatness. Rob Monk had a couple of short lived jaunts off the front on the final lap but Hauxwell was happy to chase him down. The field rounded the home turn together and all waited for the obligatory Chris Joustra home straight attack. Joustra’s late attack is like the plot of a bad movie you know what is going to happen but you watch it anyway. Stiles went with Joustra. Joustra tried to follow as Stiles put the power down but couldn’t hold his wheel. Brett Kennedy set out in pursuit and was gaining on Shane but the finish line loomed and Stiles was he winner. Kennedy was second with Will Lumby third. Then followed Graeme Parker and Rob Monk.
The B grade race featured a strong performance from Jimmy “Come Back” Lalor. Jimmy, a former junior star, is on the come back trail. He has been “coming back” for a number of years now but this win could be the breakthrough moment. Lalor was keen to force the pace at every opportunity. Col Brown and Ross Henry chased him down often. Young Lachie Mushet was also keen to animate the race. Col Brown lit out for the finish line early and looked the winner for much of the home straight but “come back” Lalor rode him down and held off a fast finishing Jason Fritzlaff. Col was third with Lachie forth and Ross fifth.
Mark Mason is making a habit of winning in C grade. He was beaten in the intermediate sprint by Daniel Bishop who possess a handy turn of speed. Daniel’s chances in the finale were dashed when he dropped his chain on the run to the line. Mason won the sprint form Leigh Jamieson with Mariah Dastey in third place. Duane McDonald had given everyone a solid lead-out but only managed fourth. Nicole Summerfield was fifth.
Many Warragul members are heading to Creswick next week for the Victorian Road Series races. The following week is the Gippsland 3 day tour. Warragul is hosting day 2 of the tour on June 12th at the Shady Creek circuit.