Warragul cycling club racers headed for Jindivick for the fourth race of the Gippsland Combine Series.
The A grade field of 11 riders started down the Jackson’s track decent at a solid tempo. Connor Bagot has been a solid A grade rider but his infrequent training regime has him headed for C grade. He was dropped from the A grade bunch on West Jindi Rd on lap one and was subsequently dropped from the B grade bunch as well.
The pace was increased on the Jindi Cheese Factory hill on lap three and four seeing riders displaced frequently. Ash Ray suffered a mechanical mishap whereas Matt Parkinson’s issues were all physical and he withdrew at the end of lap three. On lap four Tom Reid, Shane Stiles, Chris Joustra and Leigh Stott gapped the field on the Jindi Cheese hill. In the crosswinds on West Jindi Road, Chris Jousta and Tom Reid broke away and established a good gap. The uphill finish favored the hard man Joustra and he had too much grunt for young Tom Reid. Stiles was third with Stott in fouth. Craig Skinner, a heavy set sprinter, was a distant fifth and offered some free advice to the Warragul Cycling Club, suggesting we “Never race this circuit again.”
B and C grade started together and the first time up the steep Telegraph Road pinch C Graders Alex Gardner and Edward DaBinett dropped B graders Rob Monk and Jayman Prestidge. Monk and Prestidge used gravity to their advantage after the climb and rejoined the front group. Dave Smith looked like the rider to beat on lap one. He charged up the steep climbs and had to wait for the field at the top. Friztlaf, Henry and Smith spent most of the race on the front while Tambassis, Finlayson, and Parker hid in the wheels and Monk lassoed off the back on the hills and rolled back onto the bunch of the descents.
On the final lap, Smith’s strong form disappeared suddenly. He suffered the ignominy of being dropped by Monk on the final time up the Telegraph Rd Hill. Smith, a climbing specialist, couldn’t find a course better suited to his capabilities. Where to from here for him? Monk tried some attacks in the West Jindi Rd straight but he was going nowhere and was dropped on the final climb before the finish. The B grade finish was battled out by the usual suspects. Graeme Parker and George Tambassis were too strong at the end.
Tambassis just got past Parker on the line to take the win. Henry was third, Finlayson fouth and Fritzlaff fifth.
Edward DaBinett and Alex Gardiner fought out the C grade finish after holding on to B grade for a lap and a half. They also managed to drop B grade rider Jayman on the run up to the finish. Alex was just too quick for Ed on the uphill finish. John Taylor was third. Donnal Innes Wardle was the D grade winner.
Racing continues next week at Poowong on Saturday Afternoon.
At Caribbean Gardens on Sunday, round 6 of the Victoria Road Series saw Juliette Haddow win Women C in a dominant performance. Glen Walker came 8th in the Master C Men prologue and 2nd in the main event.