By Jayman Prestidge
The pre-race talk was as hot as the early Spring weather with both Jayman Prestidge and Glenn Marriott both announcing they were going to win. Prestidge upped the stakes on Marriott a notch by advising all riders that he would shout post-race drinks after the race. No-one listened!
Race Director George Tambassis assembled the riders, espoused the need for safe racing and sent the riders away.
The two new racers were sent off in the limit group along with Greg Sealby and Frank Benstead. This group worked well until the pace became too hot for Cameron Schreyer.
He worked well in his first race and is already looking forward to racing next week. After the race he said, “I hated getting dropped but just didn’t have the legs”. He is sure to be a successful racer with an attitude like that!
Three minutes behind limit was, on paper, a strong group of elder statesmen consisting of Colin Brown, Neil Edwards and Zvonko Maric. Young James Blythe was partnered with the older men and was returning to his first race with Warragul for some time.
The next group of riders were where the ultimate victor would come from. Paul Yeatman, Geoff Thomson, Greg Spencer, Jayman Prestidge and Ross Henry jumped out of the blocks and worked together well from the gun.
With consistent lap times of 12 minutes 50 seconds for the first two laps they had the two groups ahead of them by the end of the second lap.
Importantly, the chasing riders in three supposedly faster groups were nowhere to be seen. Riders of the calibre of Cyrus Monk, Justin Gravett, Shane Stiles, Glenn Marriott, Graham Parker, Peter Whelan, Dave Supple and Peter Finlayson clearly didn’t eat their Weet Bix for breakfast and never figured in the race.
At the half way point the group lead by a strong Paul Yeatman caught the Neil Edwards lead group, and within minutes also caught Frank Bensteads group. With Pam Benstead, the final limit rider also caught, the big sit on sprinters like Jayman Prestidge and Zvonko Maric returned to the back of the bunch to rest for the final sprint.
On the final hill climb past the Fonterra factory Jayman Prestidge launched a stinging attack that only Paul Yeatman could follow. Prestidge had declared pre-race that he would win, and barring tactical stupidity would win in a two up sprint battle with Time Trial specialist Paul Yeatman.
Back in the bunch, Prestidge’s arch rival, Rob Monk sat up and stopped working. Whilst he didnt like being dropped by Prestidge, he did want to hurt Prestidge’s wallet. After all, he had promised to shout post race drinks if he won!
As Yeatman and Prestidge rounded the last corner with 800 metres to the finish line only Greg Spencer had any chance of bridging across the gap. With Prestidge tiring, and concerned Spencer would close the gap, he played his card and decided to set the pace into the last 350 meters.
Prestidge commenced his final sprint with 200 metres to go. Hammering his pedals he threw his large frame towards the line in what he hoped would be a great birthday present for him.
But Paul Yeatman had other ideas and surged past with 5 meters to the line. Prestidge had been pipped at the post and remains winless for the 2014 year! Greg Spencer finished third.
Racing returns to the Darnum Circuit next Saturday at 2.00pm for the Tim McArdle Memorial Handicap Race.
1st Paul Yeatman 6mins
2nd Jayman Prestidge 6mins
3rd Greg Spencer 6mins
4th Rob Monk 6mins
5th Geoff Thomson 6mins
6th Neil Edwards 3.5mins
7th Matt Williamson 0mins
8th Zvonko Maric 3.5mins
9th Ross Henry 6mins
10th Colin Brown 3.5mins
Drouin Cycles is sponsoring the series.