Warragul cyclists turned out in good numbers on a perfect autumn day on Saturday. The Araluen Rd Circuit is relatively new and suits the climbers. The final 2km long climb starts just 4km from the finish line and a tough finish is always on the cards.
In A grade a small field of 5 riders were together until the climb the first time up. Daryl Anderson joined the boys after arriving late. He set a solid tempo on the climb. Shane Stiles suffered a flat front tyre so his race ended prematurely. James Henry was able to go with Daryl but Jimmy Lalor, Simon Baxter and Jarryd Jones were struggling. Near the top of the hill Lalor jumped over to Anderson and Henry leaving three riders in the front group with two riders chasing.
Baxter and Jones were in trouble. They never bridged the gap and raced the second lap in chase mode. James Henry did enough to drop Lalor in the final climb to take the victory.
B grade was the largest group of the day. They rode a solid tempo on lap one with Paul Yeatman spending a fair bit of time off the front. Unfortunately for Yeatman when the road rose up on Old Sale Road he was dropped.
Jack Walk found the climb too tough as well. Rounding the corner onto Old Sale Road on lap two the race started in earnest. Rob Monk attacked rounding the bend hoping to get away before the big decent. Thomas Sander dragged him back but after Rob was caught Cy Monk attacked. He held a small advantage at the beginning of the 80km/h decent to the Shady Creek bridge. His lack of weight meant he was reeled in on the decent. Pete Whelan was first to stretch his legs on the final climb but Sandner and Finlayson easily rode over to him. They kept going with Jayden Maniveld and visiting Caulfield Carnegie rider Lucy Coldwell in tow. At the steep section of the climb Mainveld and Coldwell lost contact and Sandner and Finlayson were away.
They worked together all the way to the finish. Unfortunately for Thomas he’d ripped some cogs off his gears and was having trouble finding a gear that would not jump. The chasers were working hard to catch them though. Pete Whelan, Cy and Rob Monk and Graeme Parker swapped turns all the way to the finish in the hope that the leaders would falter. At the line Rob took third just meters from Thomas who was second. Pete Finlayson maintained his unbeaten record on the Araluen Road circuit taking the win.
Col Brown and Graeme Patrick led the C grade field up the climb on lap one and faced a dilemma at the top. Keep going or wait for reinforcements. They kept going. Chasing them was Danny Dilger, Paul Kennedy, Mariah Dastey and Ben Stein. Col and Graeme rode strongly and were not caught. They were still together at the finish where Col just won the sprint narrowly to take victory. Mariah Dastey rode well to take third place. Then followed Danny, Paul and Ben.
Next week is the club road championships at Shady Creek. Start times are as follows.
1:30 >Open U23 U19 (4 laps 68km)
1:40 >M123 (3 laps 51km)
1:50 >M456+ (3 laps 51km)
2:00 >U15 U17 (2 laps 34km)
Womens Categories will be dependant on entries on the day.