The first road race of the summer season was a handicap at Lillico. Riders would race 4 laps of the 10.1km circuit. First away with 10 minutes head start were Cy Monk, Geoff Gatt, Tristan Marut, James Lalor and Anthony Lalor. This group completed the first lap in a respectable 19’42”. With 4 minutes on the scratch men were Ross Henry, Dave Baillie, Neil Walker and Phil Bechal. They completed their first lap in 17’24”. Next away 2 minutes in front of scratch were Rob Monk, Paul Yeatman, Callan Barker and Darryl Anderson. This group struggled to make an impression on the 4 minute bunch. They completed lap one in 17’10. The scratch bunch consisted of Club Champion Kane Walker, Chris Beales, Mark Oakley Brown and Geoff Thomson. They sizzled around lap one in 15’45”. It was clear that the scratchies were going to triumph.
The scratch bunch caught the two minute riders early on lap two and thankfully the paced slowed enough for the slower riders to stay attached. The combined group completed lap 2 in 17’15”. They had Neil Walker and Ross Henry in their sights only 35 seconds up the road. The D graders were slowing. Their second lap was completed in 21’30 and it was clear they would be caught. By the end of lap 3 all the bunches were together. In the lead bunch Kane Walker was noticeably absent. He’d driven the A grade hard so maybe he had tired and dropped out thought the other riders.
At the beginning of the final lap Kane reappeared. He’d had a massive chase. After puncturing and getting a new wheel he’d had to make up two kilometres on the bunch. He sat in for a while to recuperate. Around the sharp bend into Bloomfields Rd, Chris Beales put in the first serious attack. This split the field. Only Mark Oakley-Browne, Thommo, and Kane Walker could go with the surge. Kane despite the puncture and chase still had the power to dominate the sprint for home. He used the downhill run around the final bend to open up a commanding lead. Thommo finished well for second, Beales third and Mark fourth. Kane’s time for the 40.4 km was 1-07’17″.
Special mention needs to be made of the effort of Geoff Thomson to be back riding. Thommo was hit by car travelling at 100km an hour on the freeway less than 6 months ago. He was airlifted to Melbourne in a critical condition with broken legs, femur, ribs and vertebra as well as other internal injuries. He was in a medically induced coma for two weeks. Such are his recuperative powers that within 4 months of the accident he was back on the bike. The day after they took the neck and back brace off he started riding on the road. Saturday was his first formal race back. He raced off scratch and finished second overall. Welcome back Thommo.