By Jayman Prestidge
The Warragul Cycling Club held the first of its ‘Come and Try’ race days for the Spring/Summer calendar. ‘Come and Try’ days provide for unlicensed cyclists to try racing in a safe and controlled environment – a great way to start cycle racing.
Kids from the age of 12 had the chance to race on the safe Endeavour Street circuit under the guidance of experienced racing members.
Racing for 20 minutes around the 800 metre circuit the kids showed their growing skills in cornering, taking turns at the front, and sprinting towards the finish line. Austin Williamson showed great strength on his mountain bike, whilst his older brother rode smoothly in the pack. Mathew Parkinson’s daughter looked like her father had been teaching her before the race , and in the sprint for the line she took out first position. Most importantly though, each of the kids had a great smile on their faces when they finished and are looking forward to their next race. Well done to all of those who participated and to those parents who bought their kids along.
The biggest women’s field this year was an exciting race from the start with a ‘tired’ Adele Whelan heading on an early break with a first time racer. The break looked strong and they held off the bunch for much of the race. Nicole Summerfield had saved her energy in the main bunch and waited until two laps to go before bridging the gap to Adele and then attacking immediately to take a strong victory. After the race, Adele was frustrated that her ‘tiredness’ had cost her the race. “If only I had left the night club at 3.00am I would have won”, were the words that were overheard at the finish line.
The combined men’s A and B Grade race started off with a bang – literally. After an immediate break away from the start line a chasing Graham Parker overcooked the second corner and slid along the bitumen. Sitting on his wheel was Geoff Thomson who had nowhere to go and after riding over the top of Graham, ended up sliding on his behind. After a brief stop to lift Geoff and Graham and their bikes off the deck the race continued.
Whilst there were various attacks throughout, the race ended with Matthew Parkinson winning easily.
The Men’s C Grade race was a sedate affair with each attempt at a breakaway being clawed back quickly. With several first time ‘Come and Try’ racers having their first race, the seasoned riders allowed them to find their feet. In the final sprint the surprisingly fresh Frank Benstead burst from the main pack and sprinted to a clear victory. Frank let out a shout of delight along with a fist pump to boot as he took out his first victory in a bike race.
Next week’s race is on Friday night from 6pm to 8pm at the Endeavour Street, Warragul circuit.
Photos and some video of the racing can be found on our Facebook page.