By Geoff Cuckson
Last Saturday saw Warragul cycling club entertain 21 senior and four junior riders who competed in Criterium events of up to 36 kms. The long weekend and the opportunity for cyclists to compete at other major carnivals no doubt kept numbers down where only two senior grades were formed. Ten A and B graders combined to cover 12 laps of the small circuit with a little confusion occurring when a couple of riders experienced gear trouble.
After puncturing in the third Up, Aaron Nobelius took two laps to repair and rejoin the event whilst Ian Miller lost a lap with chain failure. With both then being a lap down, Nobelius attempted a few surges to regain the lap but was covered by the bunch on each occasion.
Again the youngsters Travis Fromholtz and Brett Miller worked well in the bunch whilst older campaigners John Salton and Anthony Radcliffe offered assistance to the less experienced..
In a fairly run event, Nobelius led the field over the finish line ahead of Radcliffe and Ian Miller – Radcliffe taking out the race in a time of 56.24. Second place went to Paul Yeatman ahead of Rohan Watts, Brett Miller and Fromholtz who were all close together. Salton finished some 12 seconds off the back ahead of Ian Fromholtz with Stuart Cuckson over four minutes away after losing the bunch with, over ten km to ride.
The C and D grade riders covered 27 km with three of the eleven riders failing to complete the course. The race turned into a battle between the old head of Wilf Tampaline and Brian Miller and the strong but less experienced Ross Henry and Peter Standfield. In the final sprint home, Henry again got clear but the superior sprinting of the former State champion Tampaline proved too much as Wilf went on to score narrowly in a time of 44.52. The very consistent Henry held on gamely for second with Miller finding another breath to come over the top of Standfield for third. A big ride in the event was that of veteran Walker who, after six km, had lost the bunch and appeared to be struggling. However a strong third lap enabled him to regain the bunch and he battled on very well for fifth against some strong opposition only six seconds off the winner. Bailey followed him in, whilst Dale Grant and Anthony Vogrig after losing the bunch early in the event, both rode consistent lap times on their own.
The four juniors covered 12 kms with the consistent Jason Boxall and an improving Ryan Ritchie riding together at the front for most of the race. Although the time was a little slower than in previous weeks, these two boys had a tight finish with Jason taking the upper hand 100 meters out and holding to win by a narrow margin. Third place went to another new rider in Leigh Pallant who, after dropping 30 seconds in lap two, pushed hard to just fail to regain the leaders by the bell. The effort told in the last lap but his ride was full of merit for a first up performance.
Although race numbers were down, it war great to see many other club members in attendance to help out or to support the riders.
Phil Gallagher on 47 still holds a commanding lead from Cuckson (38), Henry (35), Yeatman (33), Watts (31) and Bailey Dunn and Walker (29 ea).
Boxall leads the juniors ahead of Fleming, Keeble, Byers and Ritchie.
The summer road series continues next week with a double header scheduled – a 12 km individual trial followed by short criteriums.