By Rob Monk
Warragul Cycling Club contested their “annual” Hill Climb Championship on Saturday. This year was the first time since 2009 that the club has held this race. Lots of rain in 2010 resulted in land slips and the race was not held. The 2011 and 2012 editions of the race were held up Mt. Tassie as part of the Gippsland Hill Climb Championships.
This year saw the return of the race to a local hill with a different format. Rather than the mass start seen in previous years, the format was that of a time trial. Riders were started at 30 second intervals, with the slower riders starting first and the fastest starting last. This means there is always someone in front you should be able to catch, but someone behind chasing you. Unlike a regular time trial where raw power is the determining factor, the addition of a slope means the rider who is lighter tends to triumph as power to weight really comes into play.
The climb up the Yarragon – Leongatha Road is 7.2km long with an average gradient of 4.9%. A good time is anything under 20 minutes.
First off was Cathy Cooper who would complete the climb at an average of 13.4kph. The fastest time was posted by James Henry who completed the climb in 18:16 (23.6kph). Cyrus Monk began 30 seconds ahead of James and just managed to stay in front by the end of the climb. Jack Walk was third in the open category with an average speed of 19.3kph.
Third fastest overall up the hill was a tie between Glen Marriott and Brett Rollinson who both clocked 20:26 (21.1kph). They share the Masters123 Championship. Scott Keeble was third in the Masters 123 category averaging 19.9kph.
In the Masters 456 Category Ross Henry showed his form by posting a time of 20:30 (21.1kph) . Pete Whelan (20.4kph) was second and Pete Finlayson (20.3kph) was third in this category.
Kate Prestidge won the women’s section in a time of 21:55 (19.7). Louise Clark (17.0kph) was second with Adele Whelan (14.9kph) third. Breaking the women’s race into age group categories, Louise Clarke came first in the Elite category, Kate Prestidge in WM123 and Robyn Baker (14.2kph) was first in WM456.
Bill Frew (12.6kph) was the masters 7+ Champion.
Quite a few riders were passed by those behind them, while others failed to be caught.
Next weekend there is a scratch race at Shady Creek on Saturday at 2.00pm and many club members are doing the Baw Baw Classic on Sunday.
Our next championship race will our road race to be held on 25th May at our Larner Park couse.