Teams races are tactical affairs, but on the Shady Creek Circuit it usually all boils down to one thing: can you get over the climb? The team that marshaled the troops to get the most riders over the climb would be hard to stop.
This week’s team’s race had a different format. The D and E grade riders were combined in the same race but were given a head start on the main field.
First away with 15 minutes head start on the main field were Colin Manintveld (Red), Adele Whelan (Blue) and Frank Bensted (Green). They worked together well and stayed together till the run to the finish on lap 3.
Next away with 10 minutes start was Terry Kelly and Xavier Prestcott (Red), John Davine (Blue), Andrew Jackson (Green) and Greg Horbowicz and Danny Dilger (Orange). This group struggled to work together as Horbowicz was keen to race off on his own. The hill on lap 1 saw Danny Dilger go off the back of the bunch and soon Horbowicz was gone as well so the orange team now had no riders in the lead group.
The main bunch comprising twenty one riders set off and almost immediately the breaks started to go off the front.
Captain of the Red team Shane Stiles knew his team had a numerical advantage already up the road so he was not keen to animate the race. If the outmarkers were not caught the red team held an advantage.
The green team knew that getting some of their men over the hill would require a head start at the bottom. They were not blessed with mountain goats. They were trying to manufacture a split in the main group. Stiles was also more than happy for that to happen. Paul Yeatman (green) and Matt Kennelly (orange) figured they stood no chance up the hill and established a small break about a kilomtere out from the finish line on lap one. They managed to hold off the field until half way up the main climb.
After Sthurs Rd on lap one the main field split and when the counting was done the hapless orange team was soundly outnumbered at the front and overrepresented in the chase group. Stiles mentioned to orange team leaders Gallagher and Finlayson that all his red team was now up the road. The orange team had to chase. Gallagher, Walker, Finlayson and Kennelly went into pusuit mode to bring the race back together using plenty of energy in the process.
The first time up the climb Stiles manufactured another split. Parker (Green), Marriot and Walk (Red), Hauxwell and Marriot (Blue) and Finlayson (Orange) were allowed to charge up the climb leaving the rest of the bunch behind. Murray Campbell and Justin Prestidge (Green), Matt Kennelly (Orange) were dropped on the climb.
The orange team again had to do some serious chasing to bring this group back by Sthurs Rd.
Manintveld (Blue) was the only rider in the original break who didn’t sit up when the chasers were caught. Rob Monk (Green) jumped over to him and the pair worked together to ride away, establishing a 35 second gap to the chasers. Monk and Manintveld managed to get over the climb on lap 3 before the chasers.
Stiles put the power down on the climb putting most of the field into the red zone. He managed to drop Yeatman (Green), Gallagher (Orange), Rollinson (Blue), Blyth (Orange). Red was now the only team with 4 riders in the main group. Gallagher was the only one of the riders dropped on the climb who was able to get back on; a super effort. Yeatman came within 20 seconds of regaining the bunch.
The main field caught Monk and Manintveld before Sthurs Rd. A few short lived attacks by Neil Walker (Orange) were quickly chased down. At this stage it was clear the big finishing points would be taken by the outmarkers.
Colin Manintveld (Red), Adele Whelan (Blue) and Frank Bensted (Green) had worked well together for 50 km, but in the finishing straight the chasers were closing in. Bensted left his companions and headed for home. Xavier Prestcott jumped from the chasing pack to try and catch him. Within sight of the line only Prestcott (20 Points Red) was able to pass Frank (19 Points Green) to take the win. Bensted was second followed by Davine (18 Blue) and Kelly (17 Red). Then followed Col Manintveld (16 Red) Adele Whelan (15 Blue) Andrew Jackson (14 Green) and Greg Horbowicz (13 Orange).
With the main bunch to come the points were Red 53, Blue 33, Green, 33 and Orange 13. The orange team would need to do well from the main bunch.
The green team knew they were in trouble with only 3 riders left in the main group. Rob Monk led out the sprint hoping to catch the others napping. There was no napping. The red team’s sprinters queued up on his wheel. It was red riders who took the next three placings. Stiles (12 Points), Thommo (11 Points), and Marriot (10 Points). Cy Monk sprinted well for the green team getting 9 (Points). Then followed Keeble (Blue 8) Walk (Red 7), Rob Monk (Green 6), Pete Finlayson (Orange 5), Haxuwell (Blue 4), Parker (Green 3), Manintveld (Blue 2 ) and a procession crushed oranges then followed.
The final result was not close. Red 93, Green 53, Blue 45 and Orange 24. As usual the chat after the teams race was all about the “could of” and “should of” but in the end the Red team was just too strong.
Next week’s race is a Handicap at Cloverlea. Riders are asked to preregister on the WCC Facebook page if they intend to race. This makes Handicapper Shane Stiles’ job much easier.