By Geoff Cuckson
In warm weather conditions, Saturday’s cycling saw some very close finishes in the first of a ten week Autumn Road Series.
Again an excellent turnout of riders enabled good size fields to be formed in graded scratch races over the 10 km Nilma North circuit.
Being set 30 km to ride, the ten man A grade bunch welcomed back Wayne Kestle and four promoted riders from the summer series B grade. Kestle quickly made his presence telt as he came off the back of the bunch over the second of the “whoopde-dos” in Lillico Rd’s first lap.
Taking the experienced riders with him, he blew the younger riders out the back with some strong riding which saw him cover the first lap in sizzling 15.39 – some 20 seconds ahead of his nearest rivals. However with Geoff Thomson and Murray Fenwick working hard, the five man peleton was able to pull the leader in during the second lap to set up a close finish.
Despite earlier losing a resuming Stuart Pharoah, the bunch put in a terrific final sprint to the line with Kestle leading out a long way from home. Fenwick, in a show of real improvement, put in a tremendous surge inside the final 200 but was unable to pick up the State track champion; going down by half a wheel.
Thomson rattled home for third, less than a length behind with Stuart Corkran and Dave Redman two seconds off the winners time of 49.07.
The promoted Paul Yeatman battled hard early to stay in touch with the leaders but finally dropped and came in over five minutes from the winner with Rohan Watts a further minute away.
The eight starters in B grade also dwindled in number but came down to a great finish between four. After breaking the bunch up in mid race, experienced Ian Fromholtz and Brian Miller and exuberant newcomers Peter Bailey and Ross Henry settled into an even rhythm before a cracking finish. Bailey went to the lead inside the final 200 and despite spinning a very low gear, held on gamely as the others came at him. Fromholtz wound his bike up in the middle and grabbed the lead right on the line to score by the narrowest of margins in a time of 55.05.
Henry and Miller both lunged desperately but had to settle for third and fourth in a very close finish in which all four were given the same time. Tony Lorgback battled hard on his own to come in fifth some five minutes away after losing the second bunch when they pulled out at the end of the second lap. Brett Miller was the only other rider to complete the undulating course – using the rider as a lead up to the combine for the following day.
Eight riders also rode off in the 20 km C Grade event with junior rider Jason Boxall.
Youngster Ben Fleming, a very keen Debbie Williams and the consistent Anthony Vogrig split the bunch early and went through together at the bell with a good break over the other riders. Fleming and Williams broke clear inside the final five km and settled for the long pull up the Church hill for the final time. Showing his continued improvement, Fleming kicked away over the rise and despite a determined effort by Debbie, went on to score by 2.5 secs in a time of 38:01.
Vogrig finished on strongly in 39.53 with Scott Keeble and Ted Dunn having a great duel over the final five km to finish in that order less than three minutes off the winner. Marion Ophof came in a further minute behind with Melissa Aarts showing improvement to follow her in for seventh.
Jason also put in a good performance to cover the journey in 41.36 – the sixth rider to finish. Stephen Fenwick showed the benefit of consistent training to take out the 10 km B grade junior event in a time of 24.07 from a returning Mick Delaney who went around in 26.51. Having his first ride, nine year old Shane Boxall put in an excellent effort for a time of 29.38 as did eight year old John Dent in his time of 31.05.
Each of these boys is keen to improve and would welcome the attendance of any other youngsters to increase the field sizes.
Events commence form the Nilma North State School with juniors beginning at 1 pm and seniors at 1.30pm.