By Jayman Prestidge
Twenty-four racers attended Friday nights Criterium Race at the Club’s Endeavour Street circuit.
For the first time in three years racing returned to the Burke Street Criterium circuit and thirty-three riders were there to cut laps.
A Grade were first to depart on their hour long journey. Jayman Prestidge, who elected to ride in A grade after hearing the calibre of the B Grade opposition during the race briefing, broke away from the start and spent the first three laps off the front. Leigh Hauxwell chased him down on the King Street hill. The race was reasonably non-eventful, with the exception of Paul Yeatman, George Tambassis and Graham Parker making an attempt at a breakaway. Yeatman and Parker were away for five laps and were caught after easing up on C grade’s bell lap. This coincided with a powerful effort by Matthew Parkinson and Joe Patrick resulting in the bunch reforming three laps from the end. This ensured that the race was setup for a sprint along the flat and fast Burke Street finishing straight. With Jayman Prestidge attempting to psyche out Matthew Parkinson with half a lap to go by threatening to break away, Parkinson just laughed, and then attacked. The rest of the bunch chased, with Parkinson determined to lead from 1km to go.
Parkinson did a great job though and powered around the last corner with a clear gap. Joe Patrick, the man with the sparkling new orange bike mowed Parkinson down with 100 metres to go and took first place. Matt Parkinson was in second and Graeme Parker finished in third place.
The first support race, B Grade was well contested with eight strong riders. Neil Walker was back from a long break in racing and relaxed in the pack. Rob Monk was combative and made several attempts to break away. Colin Brown would not let him go though, and chased Monk down with each attempt at a breakaway. This infuriated a hot headed Monk who was heard to take matters up with Colin during the race. Roland Eldstrom, Darren Cook and Geoff Thomson all did their turn at the front, with the two Neil’s in the race dutifully sharing second wheel on occasion.
Rob Monk took first place from Peter Whelan and Darren Cook. Rob Monk will be racing in A Grade next week which will be a good challenge for the wily veteran.
The second support race, C Grade, was a race that saw a triathlete win! This is not a regular occurrence in bike racing as triathletes are used to only riding at one pace, where as a racing cyclists must vary their pace to suit the race tactics. Seeing Peter ‘Doggy’ Bailey take the victory was something that will not be forgotten in some time. Brett Kennedy and Colin Manitveld were second and third respectively.
The third support race saw a combined D Grade Women’s and Men’s race. Pam Benstead, Sharon Gordon, Nicole Summerfield and Adele Whelan provided a great women’s race once again, with Nicole Summerfield and Adele Whelan finishing in first and second place respectively.
Terry Kelly was first in D Grade, with newcomer Cameron Schreyer in second place.
Three juniors took to the circuit with Macca Parkinson taking first place ahead of Boyd Makepeace and Connor Williamson.
The Club’s next race this Friday night is a Come and Try event for anyone wanting to put their bike on the start line. All grades and juniors will be catered for at our popular Endeavour Street circuit. Racing starts from the Club’s velodrome in Warragul at 6.00pm.