When the big cats stay away the mice will play. With Shane Stiles and Brenton Jones racing in Melbourne on Saturday and Kane Walker just back from racing in India and still recovering from the inevitable tummy upset that such a trip brings, the A grade field was considerably weakened. With this in mind it was decided to combine A and B into one race. Fifteen riders made for a good group. Jarryd Jones would not waste a change for a win when the big boys are away.
Jayman Prestidge missed out on a warm up while putting out the signs so when the flag was dropped to begin racing he took off. The rest of the bunch was not too keen to chase and let Prestidge waste his energy for a couple of laps. Clearly his clever tactical ride a few weeks ago that led to a race win, was an aberration. Prestidge was back to his brainless best on Saturday. He still had a big lead when he rounded the King St corner on lap 3 and as the bunch went around the corner he was out of sight. As the leaders scanned ahead trying to see him, he rode out of a carport on the side of the road and joined the back of the bunch.
Various riders tried to get away early in the race. Charlie Davine, Jimmy Lalor, Simon Baxter, Jarryd Jones and Justin Gravett all spent a lap off the front of the bunch trying to establish a winning break. It was not until late in the race when Simon Baxter, Jayman Prestidge, Justin Gravett and Jarryd Jones established a small break that the pace really picked up. Rob Monk and Pete Finlayson jumped over to the lead group but after disputing race etiquette Finlayson decided to go back to the main field. Paul Yeatman then came out of nowhere to tack onto the lead group and thought the race was pretty much sewn up for the six leaders.
The six man breakaway was caught at the dance school thanks to a big chase from Jason Datsy and with two laps to Rob Monk was not done and attacked on King St again. This time Jarryd Jones was the only rider to go with him. Jones and Monk swapped turns for the final two laps and were not caught. Jarryd was too strong for Rob in the run to the line and took the win. Rob just hung on for second with Justin Gravett finishing strongly to take third. Pete Finlayson sprinted past Simon Baxter to take fourth. Then followed Jayman Prestidge, Pete Whelan and Paul Yeatman.
C grade also had a bunch of fifteen riders. They stayed together in the early stages until Colin Manintveld, Brian Munro and Renee Patrick lost contact.
Jayden Manintveld was making it tough for riders to stay with him on the King St Hill. He put the A/B bunch to shame with three of their laps left as Jayden blew past them leading the rest of the C graders. His efforts soon tailed off Roy York, Micheal Blackwood, John Davine and Tom Heard. Tom was super strong on the flat sections though and for two laps in a row towed the bunch back together. Jayden could not crack the hard men though. Greame Patrick was always able to work the group back to Jayden with some help from Neil Walker, George Tambassis and Matt Kennelly. Jack Walk was never out of the main group.
The race would inevitably end in a bunch sprint. Matt Kennelly likes races that finish this way. He proved too fast for Tambassis again. George is developing a reputation as the perennial bridesmaid. He keeps getting on the podium but his maiden victory is proving elusive. Zvonko Maric rode strongly all race and finished third with Jack Walk in fourth and Neil Walker in fifth.
Kane Walker rode with the juniors giving them some riding tips. They all stayed upright so clearly the youngsters were not listening to Kane. Andrew DeBona rode away from the Dastey boys again and is nearly ready to step up to C grade. Caelin Dastey just beat younger brother Riley in the sprint for second.