Warragul Cycling Club members welcomed back scratch racing on the challenging Araluen Road Circuit on Saturday. Racing across three grades was hotly contested with the 2km long Old Sale Rd climb just three from the finish meaning the climbers were advantaged. Knowing it would be a tough day on the bike Jayman Prestidge decided he had a migraine took on the race marshal role.
A and B grade combined with 10 riders in the bunch. The strong head cross wind along Araluen Rd made it difficult for the bunch. Rob Monk punctured before the climb on lap one.
James Lalor’s recent poor form seemed to be a thing of the past as he set a solid tempo up the hill. Jayden Manintveld towed the bunch across to Lalor but Justin Prestidge and Glen Marriot found the pace too hard to follow and were gapped near the top. Prestidge fought hard to regain the bunch by Araluen Rd on Lap 2 but was immediately dropped again after an acceleration up the rise into the wind.
It was here also that Pete Finlayson, Geoff Thomson, Jayden Manintveld, James Lalor and Daryl Anderson gapped the others and made it a race in five.
Anderson was happy to let the others fight it out knowing he could ride away at any time.
On the final climb Manintveld set a solid tempo early but half way up, at the steeper section, Lalor attacked and Finlayson was quick to go with him. Thommo decided he could not be bothered chasing and Jayden had nothing left. Lalor and Finlayson rode together to the finish.
According to Jimmy he “powered away” to a strong victory but most onlookers were of the opinion that Pete gifted the young fellow the victory. Whatever is the truth really does not matter.
Lalor is back in form and a winner again at last.
Thommo on the other hand was not handing out gifts. He put it in the 11 on the home straight and rode young Manintveld off his wheel to take third. Jason Dastey finished a distant 5th.
C grade was also a race of attrition. An early break by Graeme Patrick along Arulen Road was short lived. Paul Yeatman rode off the front to be joined by Graeme. The bunch decided it would not to let these two get away and soon the bunch was together again. Danny Dilger and then Paul Kennedy found the going a little tough on the Old Sale Road climb on lap one and they were dislodged from the field.
In the cross wind of Araluen Rd Graeme Patrick rode off the front and after gapping the bunch by about 50 metres, was joined by Matt Kennelly in a promising break. George Tambassis was the first to attempt to bridge the gap. Shortly after it was Zvonko Marvic’s turn. Paul Yeatman was happy to set a stady pace and soon caught both these riders and then set the chase pace from half way along Aruluen Road and timed the catch perfectly to the base of the final climb. At this point his legs blew up, Tambassis and Maric said thanks a lot and rode away with the caught leaders.
The remaining group of four was together on the hill for the final climb but not for long. Kennelly, Patrick and Tambassis opened a gap on Maric (soon vcaught by Yeatman) and rode away to contest the final sprint.
As usual Greame found himself on the front leading out Kennelly and Tambassis. Matt went for home a little too early and George put his wheel in front for the first time in the last 4km with 20 meters to go. He timed the sprint to perfection, taking the win and promotion to B grade. Kennelly will go with him.
In D grade the group of six that started together didn’t stay together long. At the beginning of Araluen Rd on lap 1 Kate Prestidge and Andrew Jackson broke away and they would not be caught again. Mick Blackwood and Andrew Gordon worked together in the pursuit but were not making up any ground.
Kate broke away from Jackson on the final climb and held a tenuous lead of 100 meters rounding the final bend. She time trailed hard to the finish to take out the win and promotion to C grade. Well done Kate. Andrew chased with everything he had but just could not close the gap.
Racing next Saturday is at the Darnum Circuit at 2.00 pm.