Racing Returns to Cloverlea


After a long winter break Warragul Cycling Club members resumed racing in spring like conditions at Cloverlea on Saturday. While the season was new, some things never change. Pete Finlayson spun the familiar, “I’ve done no training and need to be in C Grade” yarn and handicapper Stiles again fell for it. Jayman Prestidge told anyone who would listen that he was in really good form and was going to smash everyone. He was dropped before the end of lap one. Stiles as usual early in the series underestimated the other groups’ ability to stay away from his hard chasing scratch men and missed out by over a minute from the podium sprint.

First away with 20 minutes on scratch were Greg Horbowitz, Andrew and Matho. They were followed 5 minutes later by the junior trio of Cy Monk, Jayden Manintveld and Peter Davine. These three thought the handicap they had been given was too generous so they missed their start time by 40 seconds. Maybe the young blokes need a watch. Ultimately the 40 seconds would prove costly.

With 9 minutes start on scratch the experienced group of Ross Henry, Dave Baillie, Pete Finlayson, Matt Kennelly and Danny Dilger were next away. Dilger is returning to racing after a long layoff. He looked, in racing terms, to have been in a good paddock and was carrying a little bit of condition. He raced like he would be better for the run but he showed enough for everyone to know that with a month of training and racing he’ll be back to his competitive best. Finlayson drove the group well on lap one but it was clear early in the piece that the 6 minute bunch would catch them before half race distance.

The 6 minute group consisted of Rob Monk, Paul Yeatman, Jayman Prestidge, Jarryd Jones, Col Brown, Charlie Davine and Scott Keeble. These seven riders teamed superbly for the first lap. Smooth turns and solid pace saw them taking massive time on the groups in front. Prestidge was particularly strong right up to the point where he exploded on the run up to the finish line and was never seen again.

The chopping block group were in for a tough race when they lost one of their 3 riders before the start with a mechanical mishap. This left Thomas Sandner and Darren Spiteri to battle away as a duo with only four minutes start on scratch. The scratch bunch consisted of Brenton Jones and Shane Stiles as the main engine room and a support cast of Chris Joustra, Jim Timmmer Arends, Mick Krause and Glen Scoer. The support cast had already ridden from Traralgon to Cloverlea. Big Jim and Glen didn’t make it to the first corner before being dropped.

At the end of lap two the 6 minute bunch had caught the 9 minute group and a working group of 12 riders made the chase of the scratch men nearly impossible. Only Joustra, Jones and Stiles remained of the fragmented scratch men. Joustra hung on for dear life but when he mercifully punctured only Stiles and Jones were left to chase.

With only the youngsters to reel in the 6 minute bunch continued on. Pete Finlayson was the only 9 minute rider to contribute regularly to the pace making but Ross Henry, Danny Dilger and Matt Kennelly did role through for a turn occasionally. The three juniors Cy Monk, Pete Davine and Jayden Maniveld were finally caught about one third of the way along Parkers Rd on the final lap. After some long looks over the shoulder it was clear that the bunch was not going to be caught from behind so there was less eagerness to go to the front. Jarryd Jones had broken his gear cable and was stuck in his largest gear so he decided to lead out the sprint with help from Ross Henry. These two set a solid pace toward the line and as they tired nearing the line Paul Yeatman was the first to jump for home. Rob Monk was quickly onto his wheel and managed to come over the top near the line to take the victory. Charlie Davine finished rapidly to take second from Yeatman, Keeble, Finlayson, Brown, Manitveld, Pete Daving and Cy Monk. Then followed Jarryd Jones and Ross Henry. About a minute thirty later Shane Stiles was led home by a fast finishing Brenton Jones who took out fastest time.

Stiles believes the scratch men can catch the 6 minute bunch next week and has gone on record as saying the handicaps will not change. This is clearly an example of ambition at odds with ability. My prediction is that the 6 minute men will win again.

For a second by second log of the 6 minute bunch’s race, have a look here.

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