Danny Dilger does not like hills. He spends most of his summer on the velodrome to avoid them. His ample muscle mass means he not suited to the climbs. Dilger has been at race director Stiles for months to schedule more scratch races on flat circuits. According to Danny this would encourage more people to race. If Saturday’s numbers were any indication he may be onto something.
A and B grade combined with a big field of eighteen riders. The pace was on from the start.
Justin Gravett (LCCC) tried desperately to get up the road with anyone who’d come with him. Pete Finlayson and Neil Walker(Chilli) joined him for short lived breaks but they could not keep up the pace Gravett wanted to go.
Glen Marriott, racing his first flat scratch race, asked Rob Monk (RHTBE) what was going on as repeatedly one or two riders would try to get off the front of the bunch. Monk’s reply, delivered from his usual spot at the back of the peleton was, “Scratch races on flat circuits are simple. The blokes who can’t sprint spend the whole race trying to get away from the blokes who can sprint. The sprinters sit at the back and hope the breaks get pulled back. Work out which you are and race accordingly.”
The only rider dislodged from the group on lap one was George Tambassis (Chilli). He tried to take the corner into Parkers road too quickly and ended up sliding sideways just keeping himself upright but not making the bend. On his way to Yarragon while the bunch turned left Tambassis was forced to do a quick U turn and chase. He chased in vain and his chances of winning were over.
The black and green “Bikeland Maffia” did most of the chasing when Gravett (LCCC) got away. Malacarne, Stiles and Keeble of team Bikeland would let nothing get too far up the road. On lap four the non-sprinters all had a crack at getting up the road. Jayden Manintveld (TeamBrown) had been quiet early but now tried to get into every move.
Jason Dastey (ProBikeKit) didn’t like his chances in a sprint so tried to breakaway as well. Marriott and Jimmy Lalor (RHTBE) had a dip as well but they were going nowhere into the block headwind on Parkers.
In the end all efforts to get away proved futile and a bunch of 14 riders turned into the finishing straight together. Stiles (Bikeland) tried to lead them out but his leadout lasted 200 meters and left the bunch to their own devices 500 meters from home. Pete Whelan and Greame Parker (Chilli) had first crack at heading for home but Scott Keeble (Bikeland) had judged the sprint best and took victory from the fast finishing Roland Eldstrom (LCCC) and Neil Walker (Chilli).
Some members of the crowd swore they saw a large man in a Ride Hard To Breathe Easy Top and a Chilli Greek fellow crossing the line first and second but the official result that counts has Keeble (Bikeland) the winner and that‘s all that counts.
C grade had a field of nine riders and they stayed together for the first three laps. There were plenty of surges. Yeatman and Dilger tended to stay on the back of the bunch and as is usually the case Greame Patrick did at least 50% of the work on the front. Steve Muggeridge (RHTBE) tried to get off the front a couple of times but Patrick would drag him back. A surge at the start of lap four dropped Yeatman, Ballie, Dastey and Kennedy.
Rounding the final corner Jack Walk (Bikeland) took off. Muggeridge (RHTBE) went with him but couldn’t hold on. Walk headed for home and made it 2 from 2 for the Bikeland Maffia. Patrick was second with Muggeridge (RHTBE) third.
The D graders did four laps. Junior Nick Anderson dropped out after two leaving Col Manintveld and Ray York to do a bit of mano o mano action. They stayed together unable to shake each other till Yorka (Chilli) wound it up 300 meters out and rode Manintveld off his wheel.
Flat circuit racing is great. There should be more of it.