by Rob Monk
Cycle racing made its long awaited return to Burke St on Saturday and Jason Dastey came back to racing in triumphant fashion.
Race directors John Batten and Greg Spencer worked on the algorithm that is flexible grading and decided that 3 grades were all that were needed.
The A grade race was a mixed ability affair with 10 riders setting off together. The togetherness only lasted 3 laps. Cy Monk put in a surge on Lap 3 and strung out the field. Brett Rollinson, Paul Yeatman and George Tambassis were in difficulty as the field split. Dave Salton set a good tempo to bring Matt Parkinson, Leigh Hauxwell, Graeme Parker and Rob Monk back to Cy by lap 5 but by then Rollinson had a lap out, Tambassis called it a day and Paul Yeatman got into individual time trial mode for the rest of the race. Pete Whelan struggled back on but when Hauxwell put some pace on up the King St hill he too was gone for good.
With two laps to go Matt Parkinson rolled off the front and dangled hoping Cy or Salton would jump across to him. They were not going to do that and let him toil away on his own. Matt still held a 100 meter gap at the bell. Cy accelerated up the hill with the others locked on his wheel. They caught Parkinson in the back straight and started jockeying for position for the sprint. Hauxwell found himself right where you don’t want to be; on the front. He led the group to the 400m mark where Rob Monk took a “death or glory” fly up the inside to start the sprint. He was dead with 200 meters to go as Cy Monk and Dave Salton drag raced to the finish. In an epic sprint Cy just out lasted Salton. Parkinson sprinted well for third.
B Grade saw the long awaited return to racing of Jason Dastey. Dastey, a renowned non winner, quit competitive cycles three years ago. He was mentally destroyed from towing sit on sprinters around only to have them beat him at the finish. He had clearly learnt some race smarts during his extended layoff.
Dastey was on the attack early but Paul Rowse, Ross Henry and perennial chaser Col Brown would not let him get clear. Col thought he had jumped over to Dastey and was ready for them to work together to get away to the finish. Unfortunately Col’s lack of jump usual means the rest of the bunch is towed over the gap. This was the case here. Ross Henry spent a few laps off the front in the second half of the race and looked a chance at a breakaway win. He could not hold off the combined chase effort of Col, Dastey and Cody Orgill.
The bunch was together at the bell and the Dastey of old would have taken off up the king street hill only to be caught and past near the finish. Today he waited. As the field headed for the line he got on Orgill’s wheel and enjoyed a perfect tow though the bunch. As Orgill tired Dastey hit the lead at top pace with 400 meters to go and won the sprint easily. Pete Bailey claims he sat up but Dastey’s counterclaim is the “new Dastey” is probably faster than Andre Greipel.
The C grade group stayed together for most of the race. With Terry Kelly organising the bunch and Macca Parkinson, Kerryn Milner and Nicole Summerfield working well they would have to try and control Trev Rollinson, Tex Walker and Frank Bensted. De Mac spent most of the race towing the bunch around and finished nowhere the podium as usual. Some day he will try a different strategy. There was a coming together at the final corner when Tex and Nicole touched wheels. This ruined their chances in the sprint. The evergreen Trev Rollinson took out the sprint from Frank Bensted with Terry Kelly in third. The average age of the podium in C grade was 69 Years old. Not bad considering Frank is under 50.
1st Cy Monk
2nd Dave Salton
3rd Matt Parkinson.
1st Jason Dastey
2nd Pete Bailey
3rd Col Brown
1st Trev Rollinson
2nd Frank Bensted
3rd Terry Kelly.
1st Female Macca Parkinson.
Next week’s race is a handicap at Darnum starting at 9.00am.