By Geoff Cuckson
In perfect weather conditions, Warragul Cycling Club completed its summer road series with an enjoyable wind up after the events last Saturday.
Over 70 people attended the presentation evening confirming the popularity of the road series in particular and the resurgence of club racing in general.
The battle for placings on the summer points table was very close going in to the final event with up to 10 of the 31 competitors in with a chance of filling the top three positions. With Phil Gallagher looking to protect his lead, eight A graders rode off to cover 40 km, including a 25 km lap of the arduous Hunters Rd circuit. The hilly terrain took its toll on riders as Chris Joustra and Aaron Nobelius attempted to split the bunch on several occasions.
These two finally got away past Marist with 12 km to ride and it took some determined chasing by Gallagher and Geoff Thomson to pull them in by Warragul West Primary. A gutsy Murray Fenwick had also been dropped but put in a long solo effort to pick up the bunch with five km to ride. Not satisfied with just being in the bunch, he kicked clear at the hospital in an attempt to steal the race.
The final stretch in Burke St saw the other four pick him up and settle in for a short, sharp sprint home. Again the classy Gallagher kicked clear inside the final 100 and despite another spirited attempt by Thomson, went on to an excellent victory, which ensured him the summer series title. Nobelius came in third with Joustra fourth, Fenwick fifth and Dave Redman a long sixth – well behind the winners time of 1:05:09.
Thirteen B graders also included a lap of Hunters Rd in their 31 km trip with the field being split considerably by the 20 km mark. In a great battle at the front, four of the club’s most improved riders, Paul Yeatman, Rohan Watts. Ross Henry and Travis Fromholtz climbed strongly and then set up a close finish. The least experienced, Henry, gave plenty of cheek in the straight until nabbed by Watts who in turn was overtaken by Yeatman for a winning time of 53:34. Travis battled on very well for a close up fourth with Kevin Piercy coming in fifth ahead of the other riders who were strewn out over up to five minutes behind.
It was good to see John Pettingill and Wayne Proud back on their bikes as both are gearing up for the longer autumn and winter road races.
Ten C graders were sent to cover 24 km of the Landsborough Rd circuit with Russ Walker a chance of taking top spot in the series. Dale Grant. Peter Finlayson and Walker surged ahead of the other riders early with Peter Standfield and Anthony Vogrig trying to hold on. Into the second lap, Grant took over from Walker and in the spate of two kms opened a lead of up to 100 meters which was enough to see him go on and scone another good win.
Walker continued his consistent form but despite closing the gap over the final five km was unable to pick up the winner. After losing the leaders inside the last 10 km, Finlayson, without a lot of recent riding under his belt, was picked up by Standfield who went on to take third with Vogrig fifth.
The juniors took part in a 15 km Criterium with Ben Fleming riding well to score in a time of 29 mins 30 secs. Jason Boxall worked hard to stay with the leader and came in a gallant second ahead of Scott Keeble, 11 year old Ben Gumming and Stewart Hood.
Of the 19 juniors to have ridden this season, Ben, Jason and Scott have been very consistent in their attendance and improvement and the club congratulates them on their efforts. Each lad rode in open company during the series and performed very creditably.
Senior trophy winners and points were Gallagher (61), Walker (55) and Henry (53) pipping Yeatman (51), whilst the junior winners were Boxall (66). Fleming (48) and Dean Wilson (40).
Although only 15 years old. Travis Fromholtz won the most improved rider in senior ranks and Peter Bailey took out the encouragement award in his first season. In competing in each of the 13-week series. Ian Fromholtz took out the attendance prize whilst eight-year-old John Dent is to receive the junior encouragement award.