Thirty robust cyclists braved 35+ degree temperatures on the Burke street circuit on Saturday Afternoon.
Adele Whelan was the prerace favourite in D grade but Robyn Baker had put in a solid week of riding at the Tour Down Under and she was primed and ready. Pete O’Donnell looks like he’s ready to start a long campaign which will see him at his best in November. At the bell Whelan took off. She knew she had to drop Frank Bensted before the sprint. Robyn Baker went with her and immediately attacked on the hill. Adele chased with all her might but Robyn established a big break at the top and held it all the way to the finish. Robyn took the win, her first in a club race with Adele second and Frank Bensted third. Pam Bensted is improving each week and came in forth. Odonnell will be better for the run.
A heavy-duty A grade field started slowly but soon the race heated up as Shane Stiles bounced around like a peanut for a few laps. Stiles likes to test the anaerobic threshold of the field early in the race. Pete Whelan had a couple of laps off the front and when he was joined by Matt Parkinson and Graeme Parker the possibility of a winning break was up the road. Stiles used his voice rather than his legs to organise the chase and soon Finlayson, Tambassis, Marriott, Hauxwell and Stiles had the race back together. Matt Parkinson took advantage of the lull in proceedings after the catch and rolled off the front. When he looked back and saw a gap he took off. The bunch was cooked and no-one wanted to take responsibility for the chase. Greme Parker tried but Finlayson had retired and Hauxwell decided he wanted a breakaway to win. Parkinson powered to victory winning by nearly half a lap. Parker took the consolation sprint for second with Hauxwell third.
In B grade a field of 11 started and stayed together for most of the race. Rob Monk and Paul Yeatman recorded the fastest lap of the race early as they tried to get away. Yeatman (-47TSB) decided he’d had enough and left Monk to dangle for another lap before the field came back together. Jayman Prestidge spent some time off the front but Col Brown, Ross Henry and Darren Cook didn’t let him get too far away. On the penultimate lap Ross Henry and Roland Elstrom made a break and Rob Monk jumped over to them at the bell. They were done and Monk pushed on alone Prestidge caught him on the hill but the bunch was all together again in the back straight. Darren Cook decided to take on the role of leadout man and gave it everything from the corner. He began to fade 400 meters from home and all of a sudden Grant Neilsen appeared. He’d been at the sat in the bunch doing nothing the whole race but was charging for home now. Monk gave chase and but tired quickly. Prestidge bridged to Neilsen and just passed him on the line to take the victory, his first for more than a year. Thommo was third.
In C grade the improving Matt Duttneal was too quick for Graeme Patrick with another promising junior Brett Patrick in third. Duane McDonald had dragged them all around for much of the race.
Racing moves to the cooler timeslot of 9.00 Saturday Morning next week at Darnum.