Strong south-westerly winds and patchy rain deterred many from bringing the bikes out to race on Saturday afternoon for Warragul Cycling Club’s Baw Baw warm-up race up the 6.5km Leongatha Road climb, better known as the Yarragon Hill. Yet thirty-one cyclists braved the elements to complete varying laps of the Parkers Road circuit before heading into Yarragon to tackle the Hill.
A grade featured numerous attacks on the Hill from Jason Kruger and Matt Malacarne, but each attack was thwarted by John Salton. In the final kilometre Matt again attacked, allowing a gap which was capitalised by Scott Keeble, who overcame Thomas Sandner to take out the win. Thomas was followed by Matt who finished in third.
Brett Rollinson attacked the B grade field on the downhill into Yarragon in order to gain a short time advantage over the group prior to the hill climb. His gallant attempt was covered by more natural climbers Chris Beales and Tim Lee who slowly outpaced the remaining B grade group, eventually leaving a two-man finish. Chris had enough fuel to overcome Tim in the final metres to take out the win. Pete Bailey rolled across the line for third place shortly after.
A very casual start by C grade was highlighted by the group being passed by D grade in the first few kilometres. Only when the raced turned into the full brunt of the south westerly headwind on Parkers Road did the group improve on their intensity. Later, Luke Hanley led the way up the Hill on his home territory, keeping a steady tempo. He gradually wore down the stamina of those sitting on his wheel, and with 500m remaining realised he was on his own. He was followed by Glenn Fisher in second and Rob Monk for third.
The sprightly D grade bunch not only caught C grade without much effort, but proceeded to pass them and provide a wind break. When C grade eventually moved on, the wind played havoc for newly promoted Roger Matheson, Dave Axford and new rider Ashley Schoer – the latter retiring early. Damien Brown proved strongest on the Hill, holding off Bill Frew to claim his first win. Allan Hauxwell took out third place.
The E grade bunch was spared the trauma of the Yarragon Hill climb, but not from the wind. They battled two laps of the Gainsborough circuit, with Jo Hanley taking out the King of the Mountain points for the hill and overall line honours ahead of improving youngster Josh Guppy and Wendy McLean.
There will be no club race next week due to the Baw Baw Classic on Saturday. The Sale-Bairnsdale race is scheduled to be held on Sunday, 25th April and will be attended by those die-hard racing enthusiasts who cannot climb hills.
Results – Yarragon Hill Climb 17th April 2004
A grade – 3 Laps Parkers Rd + Yarragon Hill
- Scott Keeble
- Thomas Sandner
- Matt Malacarne
- Jason Kruger
- John Salton
B grade– 3 Laps Parkers Rd + Yarragon Hill
- Chris Beales
- Tim Lee
- Pete Bailey
- Ross Henry
- Steve Sandner
C grade– 2 Laps Parkers Rd + Yarragon Hill
- Luke Hanley
- Glenn Fisher
- Rob Monk
- Dean Logan
- Paul Yeatman
D grade– 2 Laps Parkers Rd + Yarragon Hill
- Damien Brown
- Bill Frew
- Allan Hauxwell
- Dave Axford
- Roger Matheson
E grade bunch ride – 2 Laps Gainsborough
- Joanne Hanley
- Josh Guppy
- Wendy McLean
- Norm Baberton
- Marcia Chapple