In oppressive conditions Warragul Cycling Club members contested the 2007 club criterium championships. This is the first year of the event and racing was fiercely contested.
The A grade race shaped as a battle between youth and experience. James Henry had the form going into the race but wily veteran Geoff Thomson can never be underestimated especially if he is still on the back of the bunch when sprinting for the win is an option. James made much of the pace in the early part of the race. His constant surges soon began to take their toll as first Mark OakleyBrowne then Chris Beales lost contact with the group. Tim Lee and Wayne Chester worked hard to keep the bunch in contact with James. With two laps to go the field was still together.
James led out the sprint and quickly gapped Tim Lee and Wayne. Everyone was looking for Thommo’s characteristic finishing burst but it did not eventuate. James comfortably held the lead all the way to the line with Thommo just flicking Wayne for third spot.
The B grade bunch was strengthened by the addition of Latrobe Valley riders Michael Krausz and Ashley Lucas. Both LVCC members were prominent early as they tried to force the pace. Local strongman Paul Yeatman was always prepared to put in the big turns to bring back any breaks as well as initiating plenty of his own. Ross Henry looked likely to jump from the bunch at any time but when he tried he was soon caught. Steve Muggeridge struggled and retired early. Col Brown was more prominent at the front of the bunch late in the race.
After 30 minutes Rob Monk made his first appearance at the front and picked up the pace for a lap. He managed to spread the bunch out and Lucus was in trouble.. Rob’s back wheel could not handle the pressure and a broken spoke ended any chance of a sustained breakaway. After a lap out Rob was able to rejoin the race with 3 laps to go. A bunch sprint seemed the likely conclusion to the race but Rob was keen to avoid this as his new wheel would not change into the higher gears.
Rob attacked 300 meters before the final corner setting up a long sprint for home. Micheal Cruize was second around the corner and proved too fast for Rob in the run to the line. Spinning a little gear to the finish Rob was able to hold off Paul Yeatman and Ross Henry to take out the B grade club championship for the first WCC member across the line.
In C grade, an evenly match bunch consisting of Brian Munro, Dave Axford, Geoff Gatt, Callan Barker and Karen Munro (D Grade) staged a closely fought race. At the finish Callan rounded the final corner with a 4 bike length lead and was able to hold it all the way to the finish. Callan is making rapid improvement and will soon be challenging more senior riders in the higher grades. Geoff Gatt finished second and club secretary Dave Axford finished third.
D Grade was taken out by Karen Munro. She managed to be competitive against the C grade boys and should be able give them a “hurry up” next season.
Junior riders Cy Monk and James Lalor staged a match race for the third week in a row. This week Cy tried to surprise James by going for home before the final bend. His plan was looking good until his legs blew up with one hundred meters to go to the finish. James first, Cyrus second.