By Geoff Cuckson
In warm conditions, last Saturday’s cycling again saw a front marker get away from a comfortable handicap victory. Covering two laps of the tough Landsborough Rd circuit, relative newcomer Dale Grant showed his improved race fitness to bolt in by two minutes in a net time of 45.04.
Thirty two senior riders had started the open event with A and B graders to cover 36 kms and the C graders 24.
The junior lads also rode over the big circuit with the seniors, but in their separate event, covering 12 kms.
Grant broke clear of his fellow limit markers past the Warragul West school taking youngster Matt McLean with him before riding off on his own with 15 km to travel.
Dale started six minutes in front of the C grade back markers and, although tiring towards the end, came in to score well in only his fourth ride with the club. In an excellent sprint for second, Ross Henry, off the C grade back mark, grabbed three minute marker Anthony Vogrig right on the line whilst fellow back marker Tony Lorback showed a strong return to racing to come in fourth some 35 seconds back. Ted Dunn finished fifth with Sue Van derveen grabbing sixth after a great tussle with newcomer Steven Kerekes in the straight. Debbie Williams continued her good form to tip out Peter Standfield for eighth just ahead of the rampaging A grade back markers.
Phil Gallagher, off scratch, again belted along the outside of the road to take tenth and fastest in a net 53.46 and hold out a determined Geoff Thomson (off one min), Rob Farquarson (three mins) and Aaron Nobelius (scr).
C graders Kevin Mills and Peter Bailey battled hard to stay away but were swamped in the straight whilst Russ Walker battled cramp as he tried to hold out the stronger back markers.
Limit markers in the B grade group Paul Yeatman and Travis Fromholtz also each battled on well in mid field.
Newcomer Colin Keeble and Marian Ophof had a tight battle to the line as did Brett Williams and Murray Fenwick and the final group of Brett Miller, Stuart Cuckson, Ian Fromholtz and visiting rider Kevin Williams. Wilf Tampaline and Simon Cuckson came in down the track whilst three other riders failed to complete the course.
In the junior race McLean, after losing Grant at the hospital battled on well and despite a strong finish, just failed to catch 11 year old Dean Wilson who was handicapped to cover six kms. Ben Fleming and Scott Keeble, who had both given McLean three minutes staged a terrific sprint in the straight with Fleming grabbing the upper hand inside the final 30 meters to take fourth and fastest some one and a half minutes behind the winner. Jason Boxall who had started with them came in fifth another half a minute away whilst eight year old John Dent rode well to cover six kms.
The points for the summer series are building and now see Gallagher take a good lead with 21, ahead of Rohan Watts and Henry (14ea), Bailey (13)and Stuart Cuckson, Dunn and Grant, 11 each. Fleming has joined Boxall on 17 points in the juniors ahead of Keeble (14) and Wilson (10).
Friday’s track racing was again down in numbers with middle marker Ewin Williams taking out the open handicap from Brett Williams and Andrew Palm.
Other events were shared with Chris Ray from Sale/Maffra and Nobelius performing well in A grade and life member Ron Grant scoring a good win in an earlier B grade handicap. Juniors Fleming, Daniel Wright and McLean renewed their battles and are showing continued improvement each week. All boys held on well in the final event – a combined senior/junior 15 lap scratch.
Among other open events around the state, local riders and supporters are reminded of the Leongatha Track Open to be held Saturday evening, February 13. Generally a good carnival, it would be well worth having a look.
Next week’s road events are scheduled as graded Criteriums and another large turnout of both riders and spectators is expected.