By Rob Monk
When WCC riders assembled for what they thought was a scratch race at Shady Creek they should have expected the unexpected. Jayman “He’s an ideas man” Prestidge was on race director duty so he would call the shots. His first decision was to shift the finish to the top of the Shady Creek Hill. His next variation was to include 5, 3 and 1 second time bonuses for each ascent of the climb and then just to make in even more difficult he added 20k to the race distance for A, B and C Grade. He then stared down an argumentative Shane Stiles who wanted to combine the small A grade field with B grade. The power had gone to Prestidge’s head.
The A grade field of 5 set off at a slow pace with Stiles’ complaints still falling on deaf ears. The race was set up for Leigh Hauxwell. He’s build like a greyhound and climbs like mountain goat. He won the time bonuses each time up the hill but Stiles charged past him and the other on the descent each time. Fuelled with the anger that he was deprived of the opportunity of smashing the B grade bunch to bits Stiles rode away from the chasers. That was until he hit the headwind and they caught him before the climb each time. Hauxwell won by a minute from Matt Parkinson with Stiles a further 20 seconds behind.
B grade was a tactical affair completed at largely a dawdling tempo due a regular pace setter being smashed on the velodrome in Melb. The first time up the hill Neil Walker took the time bonus from Pete Bailey and Zvonko Maric. After the decent Col Brown attacked and Geoff Thompson and Rob Monk played a game of “I’m not chasing, you chase” for half a lap. Brown got out to a two minute lead taking the time bonus for the second climb. Walker, Sam Abbott and Bailey pushed the pace up the hill with Walker taking the three seconds time bonus with Bailey in third.
After some encouraging from Walker, Brown was eventually reeled in largely due to the efforts of Bailey, Walker and Maric with no contribution at all from Thommo.
Rob Monk surprised the climbers with late attack to take the 5 second bonus the fourth time up the hill with Thommo in second and Walker third. It was anyone’s race with just the final climb left.
Brown again took off after the decent. The bunch let him dangle then reeled him in. He was cooked and would not feature in the finish. It was obvious that Thommo had played it perfectly as was clearly the freshest of the bunch. He’d done no chasing of the Col Brown breakaways and had only contested one of the bonus climbs. Sam Abbott again set a solid temp in the first half of the climb but Thommo put it in the big chain ring and rode away from a tiring Walker.
He crossed the line 12 seconds in front of Walker with Rob Monk a further 5 seconds back in third place. When the time bonuses were factored in Thommo won by 4 seconds from Walker with Monk a further 11 seconds behind.
C Grade had the biggest field of the day and it was Shane Wakker who finally broke through for his first race win. Wakker set a tempo on the climb that none could follow each time up. He took all three 5 second time bonuses and then with the help of Col Manintveld rode away from the field on the final lap. Col ran up the white flag at the start of the final climb and Wakker powered away to victory alone. He won by 30 seconds from Col Manintveld with Andrew Jackson third a further 15 seconds behind.
In D grade Pam Benstead held a 5 second lead on husband Frank after the first Ascent but Frank broke away on the finishing climb to win by 28 seconds.
Next week is a team’s race at Darnum. If you wish to enter you need to preregister on Facebook or text or email Jayman Prestidge. Racing starts at 2 and after the success of this week’s format Jayman will again devise the rules for the teams race. Riders are also reminded that the final round of the Summer Club Track League is being hosted at Packer Park in Murrumbeena by the Caregnie Caulfield Cycling Club this Saturday.
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