The weather held off and the racing was fierce on the Burke St Circuit on Saturday. It was no place for the faint hearted or those who were a little off their best form as the pace in all grades was on from the start.
Again the combined A and B grade bunch was the largest of the day. The indomitable attacker, Thomas” the Tank Engine” Sander made a welcome appearance at a club race and this always means something will be happening.
Sander made a charge on lap one, rested for lap two and three, and attacked every other lap for the rest of the race. Everyone knows he’s going to go but it is just a matter of making sure someone goes with him.
On lap four Geoff Thomson took on the chaperone role as he sat on Thomas for over a lap, refusing to work a turn with him. Thommo knows how to wear down the Tank Engine both physically and mentally.
Unfortunately for those wanting a quiet race, others were also keen to get up the road. A promising move mid race saw Sandner, Peter Whelan, Thommo and Jason Dasty get off the front together. Brett Rollinson was super strong in chasing down breaks all race and it took a little help from Rob Monk, Jerome Beechaz and Morgan Barns to bring the break back. The increase in tempo was too much for Jayman Prestidge, whose better form last week was clearly an aberration. He withdrew from the race as he was “tired”.
With two laps to go Thomas again flew away on the King St Hill. Thommo was blocked in and could not chase and everyone else looked around wanting someone else to do the work.
The two A graders, Stiles and Jones, decided this was their cue to leave the bunch behind and flew across the gap to Sandner. They made Thomas do all the work which he did maintaining a good gap over the rest of the field.
Again Rollinson did the majority of the chasing with help from Thommo and Monk. Young fellows Jimmy Lalor and Jerome Beechaz were happy to let the veterans waste themselves chasing into the strong headwind up Burke St. They did nothing until the King St hill where they were, all of a sudden, fresh enough to jump over to trio of leaders.
Stiles and Jones let Thomas lead them up the home straight before staging one of the fastest sprints seen at a WCC race for a long time. Some of the fans road side said these boys may have been in trouble for exceeding the 60km/h speed limit. Jones can really accelerate and is a very fast finisher but he had to really throw the bike around to keep off Shane Stiles who is sprinting very well himself. Beechaz got past Thomas to take third; a top ride from this promising junior. Fourth was Thomas, fifth Jimmy Lalor. A small gap remained to the fast finishing Pete Whelan, Thommo, Jason Dastey, Brett Rollinson, Rob Monk and Morgan Barns.
C and D grade combined to form a big field but they didn’t stay together long. On lap two Cyrus Monk put some pressure on up the King St Hill and Ray York, Greg Horbowicz, Renee Patrick, Mitch Jones and Andrew DaBona lost contact with the leaders.
The third time up the hill Andrew Nicholls put the pressure on and Danny Dilger went with him. Lachlan Matthews chased hard and with some help from TrevRollinson they were all in the red zone but managed to pull Nicholls and Dilger back. This acceleration saw the end of Matt Williamson, Greame Patrick, Clint Wilson and Paul Kenney from the bunch.
Andrew Nicholls and Steve Muggeridge kept up the attacks for the remainder of the race and this eventually took its toll on Cy Monk who was dropped with two laps to go.
Nicholls powered into the head wind to take out the sprint from Danny Dilger, TrevRollinson, Steve Muggeridge and Lachlan Mathews. Then followed at regular intervals Graham Patrick, Matt Williamson, Clint Willson, Paul Kennedy and Greg Horbowicz. Ray York punctured and recorded a DNF.
D Grade saw a close contest between Renee Patrick, Andrew DaBona and in his first road race Mitch Jones. Renee showed the boys a clean pair of heels in the second half of the race taking a strong win. Mitch obviously takes after his older brothers and put in a great sprint to take second from Andrew.
Merry Christmas to all WCC members. Hopefully Santa brings you that new cycling equipment you want. Don’t forget from Boxing day to New Year’s day training rides will be organised each day. Join the WCC facebook group for details.