Warragul Cycling Club members hit the road circuits again on the weekend. After two months of criterium racing it was back onto the open roads and hills. This week’s race was staged at Lillico and sponsored by Lillico Wines.
A-grade had the largest field of the day and young guns Kane Walker and James Henry were out to ensure more senior riders like Luke Hanley, Geoff Thomson, Wayne Chester and Jason Kruger would not have an easy afternoon. There efforts proved too much for Chris Beales who was dropped and retired early. Try as they might though Kane and James were unable to shake the chasers and after 5 of the 6 laps Kane was out of water and energy so decided to finish early. James kept going and in the sprint finish he was too quick for Luke Hanley and Jason Kruger. Thommo rolled gently into forth spot.
In B grade Tim Lee, Brett Rollinson and Ross Henry did the lions share of the pace making for the majority of the race. Tim and Brett forced the pace up the “drive in” hill on the second third and fourth laps and each time had Paul Yeatman and Matt Kennelly hanging on for survival. Rob Monk was also in difficulty on the hills but managed to save energy on the flatter sections by staying at the back of the bunch. Matt Kennelly lost contact with the bunch near the top of Bloomfields road on the fourth lap. Luckily for Paul and Rob the stronger riders seemed to have little energy left to really force the pace on the last lap. Ross tried to get away the final time up Bloomfield’s road but was quickly chased down. Round the home turn the bunch was together but Tim Lee tried a surprise move and went for home with one kilometre to the finish. Ross Henry immediately took up the chase with Brett and Rob locked onto his wheel. Ross got the bunch to within 30 metres of Tim, then Brett took over. With 300 meters to the finish Rob Monk went for home and was forced to pass Tim in the gravel as he weaved and weakened. Rob held his advantage to the line. A fast finishing Paul Yeatman took second with Brett in third position.
The C and D grade bunch combined but Geoff Gatt was in no mood to keep them together. He took off at breakneck speed and Pam Benstead and Brian Munro were quickly having difficulty staying on with the others. Brian’s day got worse as he punctured on the second lap. Gatty rode the others off his wheel and Dave Axford, Karen Munro and Steve Evans worked together to try to bring him back. In the end he was just too strong. Gatt first, Axford second and Steve third.
Next week we start the one day classics. The race will start at the Bonlac factory at Darnum and after a number of laps of this 8km circuit riders will head for Shady Creek where the race will finish on top of the Shady creek climb. A mountain top finish is always tough. Members are also reminded that track racing starts at 7pm sharp each Thursday night. Be there.