The Main Event
Warragul cycling club finished the year with a teams race. The race was composed of 5 teams with 4 riders in each. Points would be awarded for the first 10 riders across the line with the winning team being the team with the most points.
This format will always lead to tactical racing. As soon a break goes up the road with riders from a few teams the other teams have to do all the chasing, with plenty of gentle discouragement from others thrown in for good measure. There was plenty of banter in the bunch.
Shane Stiles (Bikeland), Pete Finlayson (WCC) and Simon Baxter (RHTBE) were the first to establish a break on lap one. This meant the boys from Chilli and Torq had to do all the chasing or try to get a rider to bridge across to the break. Along Parkers Rd the Torq boys, led by Jimmy Lalor and Charlie Davine, put in some big turns to pull the break back close enough so Jarryd Jones could jump across to it. This was a pivotal moment of the race for the Chilli team. Graeme Parker hesitated and didn’t try to bridge with JJ. Chilli was now the only team with no-one in the break. They’d have to do all the chasing.
Chilli team captain Neil Walker’s South African accent could be heard encouraging his boys to chase. He spared no vitriol on others who were not going to help. The break was too strong though and rode away. George Tambassis (Chilli) mistook himself for Jens Voigt and tried to bridge on his own only to blow up totally and be dropped from the race. Chilli was down to three riders with no-one in the break. Walker’s blood pressure was rising.
The Shane Stiles led break established a big lead by the end of lap 2. Rounding the turn into Hazeldean Rd Simon Baxter was dropped by the leaders. There was much mirth in the chasing pack as Baxter could be seen in the distance coming back to the chasers. This would mean the “sit on sprinters” in the RHTBE team; Rob Monk and Jayman Prestidge would have to now do some chasing and didn’t Walker let them know it.
As Baxter was assimilated back into the bunch in a puzzling tactical move Neil Walker decided the Chilli boys would not help RHTBE chase. As soon as Monk tried to get some organisation happening in the chasers, in an even more bizarre move Simon Baxter attacked his team mates and went up the road on his own. It was clear the breakaway was going to succeed as the chasers were a disorganised rabble, an observation Scott Keeble (Bikeland) was only too pleased to let Monk and Walker know about.
In the break away Stiles had Jarrod Jones in some trouble a couple of times but JJ managed to hang on till the finish.
The Bikeland pair of Thomas Sandner and Scott Keeble tried some solo attacks on lap four but the boys from Torq were fresh after doing nothing all race and were easily able to drag them back.
Sandner was particularly annoying for any team trying to organise a chase as he would constantly sit second wheel and refuse to roll through. Joe Patrick (Chilli) and Rob Monk (RHTBE) had chased hard but as soon as Sandner sensed they were tiring he’d attack them.
The final lap was uneventful as the breakaway was so far up the road that the chasers had given up. Jarrod Jones (Torq) was too quick for Shane Stiles (Bikeland) with an exhausted Pete Finlayson (WCC) finishing third.
The bunch sprint for fourth would decide the winning team. In a move that could only have been conceived by those conspiring against the larger men in the race, the finish line had been moved. Instead of the usual dead flat drag race to the finish, the line was now 1km further up the road at the base of the Mt Worth hill. The final kilometre was now a dead, uphill drag giving the lightweights an outlandish advantage.
RHEBE completed their day of tactical incompetence by blowing the finish as well. Baxter led out the RHTBE team and Monk sprinted for home with 500 meters of uphill grind left. This was always going to be too early and too hard for him. With 200 meters to go Jimmy Lalor (Torq) flew past him followed Clem Fries (WCC), Thomas Sandner (Bikeland), Jayman Prestidge (RHTBE). Rob (RHTBE) managed to hang on for eighth place from, Scott Keeble (Bikeland) and Graeme Parker (Chilli) collected the final point.
Final points were close with Team Torq, 17 points, taking it by one point from Team Bikeland (16). WCC (14) was third with RHTBE (7) in fourth and Chilli (1) fifth.
The C/D Race
A field of 8 raced in C and D grade. They stayed together for the first couple of laps before Matheson Jenkin was dropped.
Lap one saw Paul Yeatman launch an attack along Parker’s road which was doomed to failure. Laps 2 and 3 had Justin Prestidge attack over the hill about 1.5 km after the moved start finish line. The attacks ended too soon to put much pressure on the rest of the bunch. On lap 3 Terry Kelly found the pace too much rounding the turn into Hazeldean and lost contact as well. This left four in the lead pack: Graeme Patrick, Justin Prestidge, Paul Yeatman and Zvonko Maric.
Approaching the finish Justin put in a surge and Paul was in the wrong gear (small chain ting up front) and was unable to respond effectively. Justin powered to victory taking his career race wins tally to one. Yeatman was second with Graeme Patrick third and Zvonko fourth.
Racing returns next year on Jan 7th @ Darnum. In the warmer summer months we will be racing a 9.00am Saturday mornings.