Twenty riders turned out to race in fine and breezy conditions at Shady creek on Saturday.
The biggest field of the day was in A grade. Seven riders intended to start in what was to become a war of attrition. Geoff Thomson was the first to go. He discovered a broken crank on his bike before the race began and was forced to withdraw. Chris Hunt was after a solid training ride so he set off at breakneck speed from the gun. The pace was on from the start and the A graders completed their first lap in 27.52. Chris hunt was the 2nd casualty from the race, having to retire after a puncture. Chris Beales was 3rd to go. He worked hard to stay in contact but lost the bunch and most of his lunch as the effort proved too great.
The second time up the shady creek climb Thomas Sandner made his usual lung busting attack near the top of the climb. He rationalized his tactics after the race, saying he was feeling particularly bad at that stage so he thought he’d attack to see if everyone else was feeling as bad him. This gives you some insight into Thomas the tactician.
His effort only shook Tim Lee from the bunch. Tim has just returned from a holiday in France where he rode some of the mountain passes in the Pyrenees. This experience didn’t help him keep up with Thomas over the Col de Shady creek.
The four remaining rides stayed together until Trent Brown was allowed to roll off the front of the bunch with 3km to go to the finish. It was left to Jason Kruger to chase him down with Thomas and James Henry waiting to strike in the final sprint. Jason led the bunch out as usual. Thomas caught James napping when he jumped with 400meters to go to the finish. He had too much power for James and despite being completely spent at the line, he held on to win by 10 meters. James was second and Trent Brown was Third.
In B grade Pete Bailey, Col Brown and Steve Sandner had a quite ride. Steve withdrew after 2 laps leaving Pete and Col fight it out. The pair were caught by C grade just before the finish but Pete proved too strong for Col in the sprint. Col suffered from a cramp and said without this inconvenience he would have beaten Pete. On behalf of all members of the Warragul Cycling Club we would like to offer our condolences to Pete and his family after the sudden death of his father last week.
C grade started with 7 riders. On the first time up the shady creek climb Dave Axford and Glen Pascall found themselves tailed off from the bunch and a long chase was all they had to look forward to for the remainder of the 50km race. The improving Bill Murphy and Michael Pridmore were the strongest riders in the bunch for the first 2 laps and they did more of the pace making than Brett Miller, Rob Monk and Dave Bailey. These five riders remained together for all the first lap. The second time up the climb Dave Bailey lost contact and withdrew from the race at the end of the 2nd lap. On the third time up the shady creek climb Bill Murphy establish a good break at the half way point of the climb. Rob Monk jumped across to him and Michael Pridmore managed to get over as well. The three worked hard on the descent as they sensed that big Brett Miller was in trouble. Brett managed to make contact on the flats leading up to Sthurs Rd. With Miller, the superior sprinter back in the bunch, it was up to the others to try and shake him before the finish. Rob Monk started the many attacks designed to remove Brett from the bunch at the top of Sthurs Rd. He would jump up the road then Pridmore, then Murphy would counter attack. Heart rates soared and the race turned into a test of who would crack first. With 2 km to go Brett Miller was the first to be unable to respond to an attack from Rob Monk. With 1km to go Micheal Pridmore jumped and only Murphy was able to respond. Micheal and Bill fought out a titanic struggle to the line. Bill just held on with Micheal 2nd and Rob a further 20 seconds back in third.
In D grade Bredan Pridmore won again. He managed to defeat his mother Glenda Pridmore and Steve Evans.
Next week racing returns to Picnic Point.