A Grade Report by Jayman Prestidge
Twelve A Grade racers took to the start line on Burke Street with almost equal representation from Latrobe Valley and Warragul Cycling Clubs. The pace was on from the start with Brett Kennedy taking off at the gun.
The first lap up the 400 metre long King Street hill was explosive with 16 year old Stefan Michalicka of Slovakia dropping that much power into his pedals that his rear wheel was slipping as it tried to get traction. This theme continued for the first three laps with various short-lived breaks getting up to 100 metres up the road. Brett Kennedy, Stefan Michalicka, Jayman Prestidge and Brett Rollinson each had a go at setting the pace.On the fourth lap Daniel Furmston followed Stefan’s wheel around the corner into King Street with the other competitors following all gasping for air. Whilst the weather was perfect, Michalicka’s attack was like a crack of thunder! He accelerated away that quickly that seasoned old timers like Chris Joustra, Craig Skinner, Matt Parkinson, Jayman Prestidge and Matthew Malacarne could only imagine shaving twenty or thirty years off their age so they could keep up.
Daniel Furmston is carrying good form, and whilst he is twice Stefan’s age he was able to hold onto the back of Stefan’s wheel. The race for the rest was over as these two were away and with a further two laps would not be seen again.
Back in the chasing bunch the pace dropped to one that suited the age of the weary A Graders. So slow did they travel that they did not pass the B Grade support race. Brett Rollinson became bored so accelerated away up the King Street hill with 25 minutes to go and was not caught.
Stefan paraded to victory with Furmston in second place, with Brett Rollinson taking third.
The time gap between the top three positions and the battle for the remaining points for the top five finishing position was large. Brett Kennedy sacrificed himself for Jayman Prestidge with a strong showing into the last corner. Prestidge jumped around Spiteri and Skinner about 350 metres from the line and showed good speed but in a typical tactical brain fade he sat up in the sprint too early allowed Spiteri to take fourth whilst Prestidge had to settle for fifth.
B Grade Report by Glenn Marriott and Paul Yeatman
Some fast early laps were ridden and almost immediately, the B grade race fell into a consistent rhythm with Glen Marriott attacking on the King St hill, and being closely followed by Big Jim. The occasional co-conspirator would join these two from time to time, but the bunch just kept on catching them. Mostly as the attackers would sit up at the top of the climb. Now and then an attack would take place down the hill and would not be caught until the pinch past the church.
This pattern continued for much of the race, with no break getting more than 100 m clear. This was of course until perennial break away expert and tactical mastermind Rob Monk tried his hand at getting up the road after asking the bunch to take it wasy up the hill. Monk soloed off the front for more than a lap and the bunch seemed more than happy to leave him there. Previous laps were ridden a t 38-39kph. Monk was left cooking at 25kph.
Up the climb, Marriott decided Monk had suffered long enough and he seized the opportunity to bridge across solo in order to secure what they thought was a two man race winning break. But alas the bunch was having none of it and quickly reeled in the dangerous pair, both well renowned for their strong TT capability. Big Jim tried his hand at dropping Monk after the catch. Monk hung on.
After laying low for much of the race, seasoned climber Roland Elsdon, tried his hand at a late break with only a handful of laps remaining. This break was one of the more substantial of the race with five riders off the front and the rest off the back. It looked like this break might stick (and it should have given the talent and numbers in it), hwever as had been the case throughout the race it was all brought back together on the bell with one lap remaining.
The final lap was the fastest at 41kph. Pete Whelen was dropped on the final climb and around the final bend, Steve Muggridge started the sprint. It was Graeme Parker who finished it off, with a well timed late kick with fresh legs. Graeme was effectively unsighted for the entire race, with some saying they didn’t even know he was in there! George Tambassis was second with Dave Smith in third. It was the day for the sit on sprinters. Then followed Leigh Jamieson and Paul Yeatman.
C Grade Report written by C grade winner Jason Dasty.
In probably the best Sunday morning Warragul has seen for 8 months riders gathered at Burke St for the full Steam Ahead Carpet Cleaning Series. A total of 8 cyclists took to the start line in C grade. In reality there may as well only have been 4, because that all that were capable of winning this race. Pete Finlayson was looking fit as usual but was also spouting about how good he was feeling pre race. An admission of feeling guilty about riding in such a low quality field was curtailed when he saw Jason Dastey wheeling around the car park also with an orange number on. For his part Dastey was looking good if not feeling poorly despite the fact he’d forgotten to do his signs duty and Rob Monk had to pick up after him as usual. As for the others in C grade, Ross Henry looked fresh despite a week away cycling with Annie in Honolulu. President Dilger looked to be carrying some condition but despite this was probably the fastest sprinter in the field. Dastey decided there was no chance that Dilger would see the finish line with rest. Half a dozen efforts up King St hill are all he can muster these days. Bryce Edhouse displayed his usual pre race confidence but the real worry was the young cyclist, Jacob DeKlerk who has recently been trying to make a cyclist of himself on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Could that form transfer into a real race?
Things took off at a blistering 30km/h pace before Ross and the young cyclist Jacob became bored after a lap and went to the front. For 3 laps they upped the tempo and dragged the others around before Bryce took over for the next 3 laps. At the halfway point Dastey decided enough was enough and it was time to get rid of the fastest bloke in the field. He wacked it along the back straight and opened up a gap, Bryce went with him. Finno recognised the danger and dragged the rest back just before King St but Dastey wasn’t finished, Dilger was still there so he went whack again up King St and by the time the bunch hit Burke St again it was mission accomplished, Dilger gone leaving Finno and the unknown sprinting ability of the young cyclist as his only obstacle to another famous win.
For the next 4 or 5 laps it was cruising pace, until the bell lap. As usual Ross went to early. He smashed it up king St as though the finish line was the soccer club and was never seen again! The young cyclist showed his inexperience and naivety by going to the front and towing the bunch around until the sprint was to open up on Burke St. The sprint was at snail’s pace as 6 riders spread across the road each waiting for another to open things up. Eventually it was Dastey who though “bother this”, I’m in B grade next week’s and smoked them to the line. Minor places were filled but that’s not important, what is important is that Dastey won and is finally back in his rightful place in B Grade.
Minor placings in C grade were 2nd Young Cyclist Jacob De Kerck, 3rd Zvonko Maric, 4th Pete Finlayson and 5th Ross Henry.
The battle lines are drawn for the final race of the series next week at Burke Street, Warragul 8.30 start. Please pre enter online.