The first race win is always a special occasion for cyclists. For George Tambassis it was even more special as he has been finishing on the podium but not winning his entire cycling career. The bridesmaid tag was not sitting well with Tambassis. It was a strong C grade field that he would have to beat. Strong men Col Brown and Justin Prestidge were in the group. Trev Rollinson, one of Tambassis’s mentors would not give his pupil and easy win. Neil Walker is always cunning enough to be in the finish and the always bouncy lightweight Jayden Manintveld would make it tough on the King St hill lap after lap.
The race stayed together for the most part. Manintveld and new comer Rowan Cook managed a two lap sojourn off the front mid race but Tambassis, Rollinson and Greame Patrick dragged them back.
Rounding the home turn it was the lean figure of Tambassis at the front. The golden Greek sprinted for home from four hundred meters out. Walker thought he’d gone too early. Prestidge jumped hard but was too slow. Youngsters Jack Walk and Jayden Manintveld had the speed but not the strength for the long sprint. Tambassis, his pumped and oiled forearms and biceps glistening in the afternoon sun, took it out. Prestidge second, Walker third. Then followed Walk, Manintveld and Rollinson. When asked after the race “How does victory feel George?” his response was “Better than my mother’s mousaka. I’d like to thank my wife Trudy for her support and my Mentors Bill Frew and Trev Rollinson who made this victory possible.” George’s wife Trudy was not in attendance for the victory so has demanded George repeat the performance next week so she can watch. The pressure is on George.
Pressure also mounts on Justin Prestidge as his brother Jayman is threatening to take him under his wing and offer him tactical advice. Justin needs to win soon to avoid this fate that will doom him to eternal failure and disappointment.
In D grade it was another breakthrough victory. A bunch of seven riders started but soon split up. Youngsters Andrew DeBona and Matheson Jenkins found the tempo set by Tom Heard and Paul Kennedy too hard to follow. By lap 5 the lead bunch was down to four. Heard, Kennedy, Ray York and Colin Manintveld were the leaders. Manintveld was next to crack leaving Heard, York and Kennedy to fight out the final 4 laps.
York was strong on the flats and Kennedy and Heard conspired to make sure Yorka was not around for a sprint finish. They took it hard up the hill with two to go and gapped big Ray. They kept the pace on to the finish making sure the big man could not get back on. In the sprint finish Tom had too much toe for Paul and took out a well deserved maiden victory.
With only four A graders in attendance it was decided to combine A and B grade into a bunch of thirteen riders. Darryl Anderson was not interested in riding with anyone else. He took off in the home straight on lap one and stayed away for the entire race. His task was made easier as the bunch never even attempted to organise a chase.
Short lived attacks were the order of the day. The most promising break was mid race when Pete Finlayson, Jarryd Jones, Cy Monk and Pete Whelan got up the road together. Sensing the danger of this move Simon Baxter jumped over the gap towing Geoff Thomson with him. The back half of the bunch was now in the red zone but luckily the leaders sat up on the hill and the race all came back together. Only Paul Yeatman and Andy Nicolls were dropped from the lead group. At this point Darryl was only 200 meters off the front but that was as close as the chasers would get.
In the last few laps Simon Baxter was super aggressive. Repeated short lived attacks made the bunch chase but ultimately did little dent to their reserves of stamina. With two laps to go Baxter finally found a breakaway partner in Jerome Bechaz. The pair swapped turns and established a small break. Pete Whelan and Rob Monk did most the chasing on the penultimate lap but it was not until Danny Dilger pulled a huge turn on the final lap that the race came back together turning into the main straight. Jerome Bechaz was not done yet. He was the first rider to jump for home with 500 meters to go. Rob Monk dragged the field back to Jerome and then the sprinters flew past.
Jarryd Jones won the bunch kick for second from Pete Finlayson. Then followed Thommo, Pete Whelan, Cy Monk, Rob Monk, Jerome Bechez, James Lalor and Simon Baxter.
Photos from the race can be seen here.