by Jason Tubnor
With a large contingent of riders away in Bright stoically representing the club, Race 4 of the WCC / Warragul City Motors Criterium Series was always going to be an open event across all grades. The Endeavour Street Hot-Dog circuit was bathed in sunshine for the duration, in what was considered the perfect day for racing.
The A Grade race saw professional rider Brenton Jones enter and as expected, he was victorious, with Leongatha’s Will Lumby the only person able to go with him until the end. Jones and Lumby also placed one and two for the sprint prime in a race of two bunches. Despite their best efforts, the other riders were blown away in the first lap, with Brenton, Will and Luke Morrison attacking off the front and establishing a race-winning break. After lapping the rest of the field in the company of Jones and Lumby, Morrison tried his best, but was eventually discarded by the stronger riders. The procession rolled around to the finish,
with Graeme Parker taking the bunch sprint for fourth.
B Grade was a closer race with a larger bunch. Ollie McLean of Leongatha performed a number of his trademark attacks – he was on a flier! Experienced campaigners Col Brown, Mark Mason and Pete Finlayson ensured that Ollie’s youthful exuberance was decisively
countered and he was not permitted to establish a break away. Ollie took the mid-race prime, with Col Brown also in the points. The bunch rolled around in unison and kept every rider in check, until the final lap, where Ollie attacked strongly out of the bottom turn and went for a long sprint towards the line. Mark Mason was the only rider able to follow his wheel and Ollie managed to take the win, with Mason in second and the effervescent Pete Finlayson using all his guile to take a comfortable third.
The C Grade bunch consisted of five racers and welcomed the return of Nicole Summerfield, who has been away from competitive riding for a while, which resulted in her losing contact with the bunch midway through the race. This left Waddell, Maric, Walker and McDonald to fight it out and Waddell took the mid-race prime over McDonald. All four riders attacked one another at various times, with Neil Walker producing a number of very strong moves that served to unsettle the bunch, but never managed to stick. Walker’s do-or- die attacks ultimately took their toll and he was unable to fully contest the final sprint, with McDonald taking the win, followed by Waddell and Maric.
The D Grade race incorporated youth, skill and experience; in no particular order, with a small field, but a very hotly contested race. Tom Fitzgerald from Leongatha took the mid-race prime over Andrew Nicholls. Leongatha’s Lea McLEAN, Warragul’s Kristy Rollinson and Annie Pryjmak lost touch near the end of the race, but soldiered on and all three finished strongly. Eventually, Tom took the sprint win over a very competitive Frank Benstead, who let everyone know he was coming up the road, but just couldn’t push his wheel past Tom’s. Andrew Nicholls rolled in for third.
Next Saturday sees the series head back to the Burke Street circuit, which is a fantastic course. Old and new racers are encouraged to come down and have a go in Gippsland’s premier racing series! See you there.