This is a mainly tongue in cheek report.
After a week away in Adelaide watching the professionals race, Jayman Prestidge, a perennial loser of bike races, hatched a plan; a plan to win his second race in two years. The plan involved a change of tactics and attitude. No more Mr Nice guy for Prestidge. No more helping his fellow riders chase down a threatening breakaway. No more attacks on lap two that are doomed to failure. No more getting on the front with 800 meters to go and leading out the peleton. No more doing his fair share of the pace-making. Prestidge decided to be selfish. With his new found egocentric attitude Prestidge approached Saturday’s criterium race with steely determination to race for one thing. He was not there to have fun; he was there to win.
The B grade field had 15 relatively evenly matched riders. Breakaways were doomed to failure as numbers in the bunch made prolonged escapes almost impossible. Tony Clarke and Clem Fries were super strong pulling back any moves that went up the road. Jason Dastey and Rolland Elstrom had a go at a break along the front straight after 35 minutes but were quickly dragged back. Simon Baxter and Rob Monk gained a small break with two to go but this was short lived. Clem and Rob went again in the straight but nothing was allowed to go.
In all the attempted breaks and chases one rider was always absent from both the attack and the chase. Jayman Prestidge sat on the rear of the peleton like a saddle sore. He was never in the wind; never even close to doing a turn. A lyrca clad leech.
Jase Dastey launched his usual “death or glory” attack in the back straight on the bell lap. Baxter, Whelan and Jarryd Jones had to work to bring him back. Rounding the home corner. Fries, Clarke and Dastey were replaced on the front by Pete Whelan. All 15 riders were still in the bunch so the sprint would be hotly contested. Joe Patrick was first to jump for home but Prestige finally decided to expose himself to the wind and lanched his sprint on the inside. Jarryd Jones was on the outside and he jumped for home just after Prestidge. Jarryd was closing on the big fellow on the line but the powerful and surprisingly fresh Prestidge was just too strong. He took the win by a wheel from Jones with Thommo rolling Monk for third. In fifth came Rolland Elstrom. Then followed Pete Whelan, Clem Fries, Craig Skinner, Col Brown, Scott Keeble, Simon Baxter, Tony Clarke, Joe Patrick and Jase Dastey.
A grade was predicted to be a three way battle between Brenton Jones, Kane Walker and Shane Stiles. It turned out to be a two person show. Jones and Walker gapped the rest early in the race. Kane threw everything he had at BJ to shake him but BJ would not be shook. Knowing he possess a superior sprint Jones took everything Walker threw at him but didn’t do much in return. He was happy for the race to come down to a matched sprint. In the finish BJ and Kane slowed allowing Zander Hitchcock to rejoin the leaders. BJ took the sprint easily with Kane in second and Zander did well to finish with them in third spot. Stiles, Justin Gravett, Scott Wilkerton and Micheal Krause will be hoping the BJ and Kane show does not happen too often as they were dropped early in the race.
The C grade field of 13 riders stayed together for the first 20 minutes. Youngsters Cy Monk and Jayden Manitveld put the pace on up the hill on lap 6 and the gaps started to appear. Cy, Jayden, Ross Henry, George Tambassis, Paul Yeatman and Steve Muggeridge stayed in the lead group. Greame Patrick, Matt Kennely, Dave Bailey, John Davine, Matt Williamson and Neil Walker formed a fragmented chase group. Cy and Jayden tried to ride off the front but hard men Yeatman, Henry and Muggeridge were having none of that. Tambassis was nevous at the bell as it was his first experience of being there for the bunch kick. Muggeridge provided a solid leadout to keep the boys safe. Tambassis jumped but he had Cy Monk sitting on his hip as he went. Cy powered past to take the win from Ross Henry with George and Jayden Manitveld tied for third.
In D grade Terry Kelly took on a tutoring role helping promising Junior riders Mitch Jones, Riley and Cailyn Dastey and Nic Anderson. As is usual in D grade the bunch didn’t stay together long. Terry rode away from his pupils on the hill to take out victory. Rod Agle was second and Caelin Dastey finished third in his first road race. Well done to all.
Photos from the race can be seen here.