By Rob Monk
The teams race brought out big numbers of riders in cold, windy and at the end wet conditions at Darnum on Saturday.
Riders were divided into 3 teams. Team Chilli, Team Bikeland and Team Wiggle/PBK. Most riders would race 7 laps of the 8km circuit at Darnum. The C and D grade riders started at the same time but only needed to complete 6 laps.
Team Chilli started with a numerical advantage of one extra rider. After about 300 meters of racing Team Wiggle/PBK lost Captain Pete Finlayson with a puncture. Those cheap tyres he’d picked up on the internet let him down.
The Wiggle/PBK boys asked Bikeland Captain Phil Gallagher and Chilli Captain Kane Walker for an extra rider to make it a fair and even numbered contest. Gallagher was magnanimous in agreeing. Walker though thought a sheep station was on offer so refused to surrender his numerical advantage in the spirit of fairness. He justified his “win at all costs attitude” by suggesting in the Tour De France riders would not change teams mid race. It was pointed out that a club race at Darnum is a long way from the Tour de France but Kane would not be swayed.
Kane tried some early attacks and it was clear the Cy Monk from Bikeland and Leigh Hauxwell were the riders designated to go with him. No-one else seemed capable. Eventually this trio rode away much to the delight of the rest of the riders.
By lap 3 a small break was allowed to roll off the front. Passing the start finish line Rob Monk put the pressure on at the field split. In the break was Jimmy Lalor, Joe Patrick, Pete Whelan and Greame Parker from Chilli, Rob Monk, Jayden Manintveld and Glen Marriot from Wiggle/PBK and Phil Gallagher and Jack Walk from Bikeland. The bikeland and PBK boys were outnumbered but the break stayed away for two laps.
Finlayson was back circulating after repairing his tyre. He managed to drag Thommo (Wiggle/PBK) and Tambassis (Chilli) back to the break with two laps to go. Tambassis(Chilli) was pretty well cooked when he got back on so Rob Monk (Wiggle/PBK) picked up the pace ensuring the Greek Chilli would ride the last two laps alone
The C and D graders were locked in their own battle. Wiggle/PBK had dropped a rider back to try and help John Davine get off the front of his bunch. Try as he might he was unable to get away. The Chilli girls Kaylene Chaproniere and Louise Clark were not letting the boys from Bikeland or Wiggle/PBK get anywhere up the road. After repeated breakaway attempts John Davine and Col Manintveld went to plan B. Col went up the road and John was able to sit in and rest for the finish. Again it was the Chilli girls who chased Col back.
At the bell lap it looked like the C and D grade bunch would be battling out for the major points but Kane Walker had other ideas. He mowed the outmakers down passing Little Moe River Road. Hauxwell and Cy Monk went on to catch them on Sturs Rd.
Kane took the win and 20 points for Chilli, Cy (Bikeland) beat Hauxwell (Wiggle/PBK) in the sprint for second. Greg (C4) Horbowicz surprised all by taking the sprint for 4th while Xavier Prestcott finished 5th. Bikeland had 2nd, 4th and 5th and were looking good. Kaylene(Chilli) was next over the line with John Davine and Col Manintveld taking 7th and 8th for Wiggle/PBK. It was still anyone’s race.
It was going to be finishing order of the main group on the road that would determine the overall winner. Points are offered down to 20th place so riders have to keep battling to the end. Chilli dominated the main group in the finish. First Jimmy Lalor (Chilli) went up the road. Jayden Manintveld (Wiggle/PBK) was unable to match him so his team was forced to chase. Graeme Parker and Pete Whelan had done little pacemaking all race so were fresh when it mattered. Parker passed a tiring Lou Clark on the line to lock in 9th and 10th place for Chilli. Then followed Jimmy Lalor (Chilli), Glen Marriot and Geoff Thompson (Wiggle/PBK). Joe Patrick flew by a tiring Rob Monk to get more points for Chilli. Then followed Pete Whelan, Jayden Manintveld, Jack Walk and Phill Gallagher. Tambassis picked up the final point for Chilli 5 minutes later.
In the end the loss of the Wiggle/PBK captain proved the difference between the first and second placed teams.
Final points: Chilli 81, Wiggle/PBK 72 and Bikeland 57.
The team’s race always brings out the tactics and the talk. A great win by Chilli and good fun race for all.