By Rob Monk
Warragul Cycling Club members assembled at the Labertouche hall for the last race of the 2012 season. It was the first time the Labertouche circuit had been raced. The circuit is an undulating 3.6km loop which provided exciting racing and good spectating.
C and D grade combined in the largest bunch of the day but they didn’t stay together long. Pete O’Donnell had a mechanical mishap early and took a lap out. Michelle Scurr struggled with the pace and Chris Jones decided to ride with Michelle to keep her company; ever the gentleman. At the front of the bunch Peter Sorenson, Bruce Staben and Grant Neilson forced the pace up the hill each lap. Their mission was to rid the group of the powerful sprinter Andy Nicholls. By lap four their mission was accomplished as Nicholls found the hill too far and lost contact with the bunch. Zvonko Maric’s recent good form seemed to have deserted him as well as he lost contact with the leaders. This left Staben, Sorrenson, Greame Patrick, Grant Neilson and Col Manitveld in the lead group. Col’s chances of victory ended when he crashed rounding the bend at the Labertouche hall. In a closely contested sprint Sorrenson was just too strong for Neilson and Staben. Pete has earned a promotion to B Grade in the new year.
B grade raced 50 minutes plus a lap. The racing was aggressive from the start. Jimmy Lalor was the chief aggressor constantly trying to organise breaks but none seemed to stick. Paul Yeatman lost contact with the group on most laps going up the hill but time-trialed back on on the downhill run to the start finish line. At the bell the bunch was together and Pete Whelan opened hostilities with an attack. Lalor bridge to him and the looked to establish a winning lead. Walker and Battley chased them down and in a copy book move just after the catch Charlie Davine attacked and everyone was in the red zone. Charlie established a 20 meter gap rounding the home turn and managed to hold it all the way to the line to take the win. Pete Whelan won the sprint for second from Battley and Walker.
Shane Stiles unbeaten run in A grade had stretched to 3 weeks but he would face some stiffer completion this week. Jarryd Jones, rested after his first National Road Series season and Jason Laird were racing this week, meaning Stiles would not have it all his way. Jayden Manitveld and Jason Laird tried valiantly to get off the front but were constantly chased down by the others. Jarryd showed some power mid race with a lap and half solo off the front of the chasing group. Stiles claims he would have won had he not been stopped by the corner marshal when he a small break after 45 minutes. At the bell they were all together and the race came down to a sprint. Jarryd went from a long way out and put a big gap in the rest. Graeme Parker was coming hard at the finish but Jarryd was too quick and took the win. Jason was third and Jayden fourth. Stiles was last in what could only be called a “Jayman Prestidge like” form reversal.
Thankfully it has taken only two weeks for the strutting Peacocks of Cloverlea, Stiles and Prestidge, to be turned into feather dusters.
Racing recommences on Friday 4th of January with a criterium series. Check the website’s calendar for details.