by Geoff Cuckson
Warragul Cycling Club’s racing took a slightly different format last Saturday when two types of competition were combined into the one event With 19 senior riders in attendance the race took the form of a team time trial run under handicap conditions over a 30 km distance. Four teams were formed with three riders in each whilst Geoff Thomson and Murray Fenwick combined in the team off scratch. The remaining five riders commenced together as a team off the ten minute mark, two minutes behind the junior riders who were on the limit.
Showing the benefit of consistent recent training, youngsters Scott Keeble, Ben Fleming and Jason Boxall worked very well together throughout the entire race. Under the guidance of a non-competing Phil Gallagher, the boys put in an excellent first 10km lap of 18.16 which put the pressure on the others behind them.
The second limit lost Melissa Aarts in the first lap and took some time to become used to formation riding; actually dropping a minute to the limit boys. However once in the rhythm, Kevin Ware, Anthony Vogrig, Ian De Bruyne and Ted Dunn put in two excellent remaining laps. Behind them, four-minute markers Russ Walker and Dale Grant were unfortunate to lose their strongest rider Ian Fromholtz when he dropped his chain early in the first lap.
Anthony Radcliffe, Grub Melnyk and Travis Fromholtz, off the two minute mark, worked solidly early but lost Travis in the second lap. Thirty seconds behind them, the “Raging Bull” Graeme Hanks and his “Raging Calf” Ross Henry put in some big turns but lost Paul Yeatman just before the end of the first 10 km.
Thomson and Fenwick made up good ground at the back and despite being without a third rider rode a 16.26 first lap.
At the bell, the scratchies had the next three groups in sight as Henry and Hanks went through with Radcliffe and Melnyk; and Walker and Grant – the three teams separated by only two seconds. Meanwhile in front, the junior lads continued to work hard; comfortably breaking 20 mins for the second lap. The four riders immediately behind them picked up their tempo with a 19 minute second lap to keep themselves in with a chance.
With all teams having the opportunity to lose one of their riders, the limit boys “went for the doctor”; turning in another excellent lap of 19 mins and putting the result beyond doubt. They took all three to the top of the final rise before two went for home in an encouraging time of 56.58 – three and four minutes faster than their recent efforts – well done lads. Behind them, the four C grade riders also finished well with all going across the line in tight formation ‘ in 60.01 – taking between three and six minutes off their previous best individual handicap times.
Thomson and Fenwick broke clear of their pursuers to come through for third (and fastest) in 60.53 (net 48.53), ten seconds ahead of Hanks and Henry. Radcliffe actually led the scratchies over the line but his team member Melnyk came in with a time of 61.29 to give them sixth place. Working hard on his own at the back, Ian Fromholtz was able to pick up Grant after the latter lost touch with Walker over the final five km.
As each member was awarded points for his/her team’s placing, Fenwick jumped to third place with his total of 33 edging ahead of Henry (32), Travis and Vogrig (29 ea). With their victory, Keeble and Fleming have moved to 27 ea with Dunn on 26 still within reach of Thomson who holds a good lead with 43, ahead of Boxall whose victory saw him move to 38.
Thirteen year old Stephen Fenwick and ten year old Shane Boxall went around on their own and have asked to invite any other young riders (male or female) to come out for a ride commencing at 1 pm.
It was great to have so many non competing club members and followers in attendance on Saturday and a real boost for riders and officials to see the support.
The State Team Time Trial’s are scheduled for Sunday June 17 at Avenel and, as mentioned previously, the Club wants to enter as many teams as possible. If numbers are sufficient we hope to organise a bus for transport but will need to know how many are interested. Please see Geoff or Hanksy.