Racing resumed after the Christmas break at Darnum on Saturday. After 3 years of trying Jason Dastey finally won a WCC race. And what made it even better for him was winning it in a sprint.
The C grade bunch were evenly matched and Dastey made sure no-one would be too fresh at the finish. He continually attacked and the chase down work was largely left to Paul Yeatman who stepped up the pace for laps 3, 4 and 5 to discourage the attacks and was the second most aggressive. George Tambassis and new comer to racing James Blyth were economical with their efforts. Andrew Nichols and Zvonko Maric launched a few efforts off the front as well.
The bunch was together rounding the home turn. Dastey decided to get in front of Maric as his sprinting style forms a good barrier to those trying to pass.
Dastey controlled the tempo well in the uphill finish making sure heavy weight powerhouse Andy Nichols would have to sprint at least 400 meters to beat him. Dastey’s major danger was a Greek fellow who had lurked quietly at the back of the peloton for most of the race.
Tambassis was just winding up to fly past Dastey when Nichols moved over and put him in the gravel. This allowed James Blyth to get up for third and Tambassis to finish nowhere. Tambassis claims he would have won easily without the interference. First was Jason (Cav) Dastey, second Nichols and third Blyth.
The ten riders who started the B grade race looked evenly matched and rolled out for what should have been a close race. Unfortunately Shane “Peanut” Stiles, the only A grade rider who showed up, decided to make sure the race was far from even.
Initially the race was going to plan. Breakaway specialist Thomas Sander was keen to get away. Peanut Stiles would bounce away with him then leave him to dangle until the bunch caught him. Scott Keeble seemed to have good legs early and managed half a lap off the front on his own.
Sandner bridged to him with Rob Monk locked onto his wheel. Cy Monk and Simon Baxter jumped across to and a chance of a breakaway group was possible. The rest of the bunch worked hard though and after 3 laps the race was still altogether.
Stiles then decided to completely wreck the race. He towed Sandner off the front of the bunch and left him out there on his own. Monk was pleased with this. The plan was always to let Sander break away alone; a German sausage ready to be cooked solo for three laps. Perfect.
Unfortunately Stiles added some Peanut sauce to it by towing Simon Baxter over to Thomas and then joining Thomas for the remainder of the race. Baxter could not hack the pace and dropped back to the chase group.
With Sander having some added, “A grade” horse power, the chase group could not catch him. Rob Monk, Charlie Davine, Roland Eldson and Thommo chased hard with occasional assistance from Keeble and Jayden Manintveld. Cy Monk and Baxter contributed little to the chase.
In the end Stiles put the power down and got rid of Thomas before the finish.
Sander took the B grade win; a hollow victory as he’d used a rider from a higher grade to advantage. He may have been able to stay away on his own but we’ll never know now.
In the battle for second Cy Monk, who didn’t have enough strength to contribute to the chase, managed to find enough strength to beat Charlie Davine and Thommo over the line in the sprint.
D and E grade combined for 5 laps. Kate Prestidge’s chances were probably doomed from the start when husband Jayman gave her some tactical advice. Kate spent the majority of the race on the front, dropped her chain near the finish and despite being the strongest rider in the race, came in forth; a remarkably Prestidge like performance.
Harley Bondini recorded his first race victory, riding away from Nick Copelin and John Davine at the finish. Well done to Harley on his maiden victory and Nick for his first race performance. These young men will be challenging the C graders soon.
In E grade Xavier Prescott was too strong for Mick Blackwood and Andrew Gordon.
Next week’s race is at Shady Creek.