Finally we had an A grade race in its own right. A battle between Shane Stiles, Kane Walker, Daryl Anderson and Pete Finlayson looked on paper to be an enthralling contest. Roland Elstrom and Pete Whelan were thrown into the mix as it was thought they could make it up the hill with the others. What appeared on paper to be an even contest was soon torn to bits by the usual race wrecker, Shane Stiles.
After setting a reasonable tempo up the hill the first time Kane Walker began to fatigue on the flats. He’s already completed 100k before the race so was feeling a little drained. Shane Stiles rolled off the front of the bunch and Daryl Anderson launched across to him. The ever vigilant Pete Finlayson followed Daryl and the break was away. Kane had nothing left to drag Roland and Pete back and the race fractured. By lap three Daryl had decided to call it a day so Stiles and Finlayson were left to circulate on their own. With Stiles doing the majority of pace-making and Finlayson giving him the occasional break, they were not going to be caught, especially after Kane and Daryl both called it quits early.
In the sprint Stiles led it out and accelerated slightly. Finlayson gave it all he have for 3 pedal revolutions then decided he didn’t have enough. Stiles won again. Can anyone stop this man? If you ask him the answer is “No”. If you want to know how good Shane Stiles is, just ask him.
It was a great ride from Pete Finlayson for second. Pete Whelan and Roland worked together to keep away from B grade which they managed to do at the finish.
B and C grade combined with 11 riders in the field. Normally in a bike race, riders work tactically to minimise the amount of work they do relative to other riders. Paul Yeatman is not a normal bike rider. Yeatman looks at his power meter and heart rate data. If it is below his “threshold” he goes harder. He takes no notice of the others in the race. They may as well not be there.
Yeatman took off from the bell riding all of Lap 1 off the front. He quickly established a large lead. The others in the bunch had to eventually work together to catch him. Even the sit on sprinters Thompson and Monk rolled a few turns. Jayman Prestidge didn’t. At the bottom of the hill on lap two the climbers decided Yeatman needed to be reeled in.
Neil Walker, Jimmy Lalor and Leigh Hauxwell set a hard tempo on the hill. Yeatman’s lead evaporated and first Matt Kennelly then Justin Prestidge were blown off the back of the chase group never to be seen again.
Yeatman was caught at the top of the climb and rested up on the decent. He must have looked at the powermeter at the bottom of the hill and it told him he could be going harder. Yeatman dragged the whole bunch around for much of lap 2 and 3, never looking back or asking anyone else to do a turn. He was dropped on the hill on lap 3 and 4 but fought back each time. Yeatman rode like a machine. By the bell lap he was pretty well spent and the race rolled toward the inevitable conclusion; a bunch sprint.
Jayman Prestidge found he was on the front a long way from home and opened up the sprint 400 meters from the finish. The bunch jumped with him. Thommo waited and picked his way through the field. Thommo’s timing was impeccable this week. He was doing his best work at the line and took the win. Glen Marriott had followed Thommo’s path through the weakening riders in front and took second place. Rob Monk was finishing fast but had left his run a little too late and managed third place. Yeatman ground it out for fourth. Then followed Neil Walker and Leigh Hauxwell.
D and E grade combined to race over three laps. They kept it together for most of the first lap. Each time up the hill it was clear that visitors Tom and Gary Lucas were strong and the locals relied on John Davine and Andrew Jackson to drag them back to the Lucas boys.
By lap 3 Frank Benstead and Adele Whelan had been dropped from the main bunch. Kate Prestidge was strong on the hill.
Approaching the finish, Gary Lucas attacked with one kilometre to go. Only his son Tom was able to respond. Gary went on the win from Tom as the field strung out behind. John Davine finished third with Andrew Jackson fourth and Kate Prestidge in fifth.
The E graders were with the D graders for a while. Andrew Gordon was the strongest and took the win from Adele Whelan.
Next week’s race is a handicap at Cloverlea. Riders are asked to pre enter via Facebook.