By Rob Monk
A disappointing showing of only 25 riders turned out for scratch races at Cloverlea on Saturday.
Due to the low number A and B grade were combined. They didn’t stay together long as after an initial attack by Paul Yeatman at the start, Chris Beales and Jayden Manitveld took off immediately after the first corner on lap one and were not seen again. The chase was disorganised as usual in a mixed race as the B graders wanted the A graders to do all the chasing. Graeme Parker, Col Brown and Glen Marriot did most of the work to chase the break down but had little help from the rest. Pete Finlayson tried hard to get others organised but Geoff Thomson, Rob Monk and especially George Tambassis were reluctant to go near the front. Tambassis didn’t do a single turn for the whole race.
Beales out muscled young Jayden in the run to the line to take the win. In the sprint for third Monk led out but was passed by the fresh legs of Tambassis and Thomson. Pete Bailey finished well in his comeback race. Zvonko Maric was not out of his depth in his first B grade start.
The C grade field dawdled around their four laps and were caught by D grade. New rider Georgina Beech showed the men how to do some work on the front. At the finish a close sprint was contested between Bruce Staben and James Blyth. Bruce just prevailed to bring up his first race victory. Well done Bruce. James was second with Georgina in third, Mark Oakley Browne was fouth and Roger Bell fifth.
Mick Blackwood, for the last time, told the sob story that he had not ridden for 4 weeks and wanted to be in D grade. He then proceeded to push the pace and he, Rob Waddel and Col Manintveld were on the back of C grade after one lap. Eventually C grade got a move on and left this trio of bandits behind. Col won the sprint at the end of the race to take victory from Rob with “C Grade for Ever” Blackwood in third. Michelle Scurr was fouth and Pete O’Donnell a close fifth. Note that if you race and can sit on the grade above you, the handicapper will promote you to that grade.
Warragul’s climbing specialists headed for the Gippsland Hill Climb Championships on Sunday. The race started at Loy Yang and headed up Mt Tassie. Rob Monk, Cy Monk and Jayden Manintveld did the club proud. A race of attrition up the 9 km finishing climb saw an elite group of 5 riders left to contest the finish. Cy Monk dominated the sprint to take victory and the crown of Gippsland Hill Climb Champion. Jayden was a creditable 5th after having some mechanical difficulties in the sprint.
Next week’s race is a scratch race Shady Creek.
A number of riders will be contesting the Stratford to Bairnesdale race on ANZAC day, and a couple of our members will be racing the Tour of the South West in Warnambool next weekend.
Congratulations to Sharon Gordon, who last week ventured over to the Masters Track Nationals in Perth and came home with a bronze in the 500m WMAS1 ITT.