By Murray Fenwick
Increased distances, testing weather conditions and a reshuffling of grades resulted in breakaway efforts splitting all the bunches and only the most aggressive riders being left in the hunt for line honors in the weekend’s scratch racing.
Stuart Corkran dominated the 50km A grade event with some strong turns off the front and had put 400 meters into the main field by the top of the first major climb with only Geoff Thomson and Murray Fenwick managing to hold his wheel.
Promoted riders Ross Henry, Graeme Hanks, Stuart Pharoah, Paul Yeatman, Grub Melnyk and Ian Fromholtz were all eager to impress and fought hard to close the gap Corkran had created. After losing the unwell Henry these riders continued to gain time on the breakaway riders until Travis and Yeatman withdrew.
This left the other four short of manpower and was left to fight it out for the minor placings. Corkran continued to set the pace with Thomson and Fenwick just holding the surging rider who by now had stamped his authority on the race. However it was not until the final two kilometers that Corkran broke clear in a final bid for victory. The other two riders were forced to dig deep and took some time to reel in the rider.
Corkran was now left out in front to lead out the sprint and took off with 300 meters to go with Thomson running right along side. Sensing all was lost Corkran sat up at the crucial moment allowing Fenwick to roll through ahead of Thomson with Corkran third in a time of 1.24.04.
Melnyk also attacked in the final two kilometers and proved to be too strong to hold off the others to take fourth in 1.27.02. Pharoah finished fifth followed in by Fromholtz and Hanks.
B and C grades both started off over the 44 km circuit together with Alan McMinn and new rider Peter Ryan joining the ranks. It was David Cairns who split the field closely marked by Russ Walker and C grader Ben Fleming. Scott Keeble. Ian De Bryne, McMinn and an incredibly fit Ted Dunn gave chase with Anthony Vogrig and Peter Ryan left just on the pace. Mall Hall and Kevin Ware were both forced to retire due to mechanical problems. Jason Boxall also failed to finish.
Cairns proved too strong in the second lap leaving Walker and then Fleming in his wake, he then went on to convincingly win in 1.24.28. Walker didn’t lose hope and slowly gained on Fleming eventually taking second in a gutsy effort just over a minute behind Cairns.
Fleming easily won the C grade event and finished third overall in what will surely be his last C grade race after his performance. The sprint for the minor placings was a nail-biter with McMinn finally triumphing over B grader De Bryne and Dunn with less than a meter separating them in the closest sprint for a while. The two riders were lucky to hold off Dunn after some superb climbing and some strong work off the front. Vogrig finished third in C grade three minutes ahead of Keeble who couldn’t keep up with the pace. Ryan came through for fourth in a great first ride.
Stephen Fenwick and Danial Dilger who had over eight minutes lead by the half way mark again dominated the junior race over 20km. Fenwick again beat Dilger to the line in 43.41. Damian Brideland and Mick Delaney rode well after losing contact with the other two and battling on alone for much of the race. Shane Boxall rode 10km in a great time of 35.55.
Moe cyclist Stuart Corkran stormed home to take out the Wagga 115km handicap held last weekend. Corkran off second limit won the event after breaking away from his tiring bunch with just over 20km to go to set up the win. He managed to hold off some of Australia’s top riders to take home the $800 purse in an incredible display.
Forte Nox Junior Tour
Aaron Nobelius suffered a horror crash in the Forte Knox junior tour held on the weekend. He crashed with just 14 laps to go in the grueling points score Criterium. However, not even broken spokes and bent handlebars could stop him. After a quick wheel change and nursing a bleeding arm he managed to hold on for 14th in the race and maintained his ninth position overall.