By Rob Monk
Race two of the Voyage Handicap Series was run in near perfect conditions at Darnum on Saturday. It was the day of the middle men. Not the fastest riders and not the slowest but the ones that rarely are victorious in a handicap. 39 riders took part.
The limit group of Annette Cunnington and Heath Foster left 10 and half minutes in front of scratch. They would remain in the front of the race for nearly all five laps. Next away was Duanne MacDonald, Rod Cheyne, Michelle Scurr, John Beech and national CX champion Kristen Theile. Kristen is just getting back on the road bike and found the pace of the group a bit tough. The 9 minute group of Nicole Summerfield, Graeme Patrick and Clancy McColl proved hard to catch. They managed to stay away from the seven and a half minute group of Hayden Johnstone, Matt Williamson and Richard Bridge.
With a group going off at 4 minutes, 5 minutes and 6 minutes the risk of collusion was always a possibility. This clearly happened as Geoff Thomson encouraged Simon Baxter and Luke Morrison to wait for the bunches behind. The four minute quartet of Rob Monk, Brett Kennedy, George Tambassis and Glen Marriott were waiting for no one. The averaged over 40km/h for lap one and had the group of Paul Yeatman, Pete Whelan and Patrick Brett in sight early on. A working bunch of 9 nine riders formed early in lap 2 and this would make it very hard for the chasers.
The scratch bunch of Cy Monk, Shane Stiles, Matt Parkinson and Leigh Hauxwell flew out of the blocks averaging 42km/h for lap one and two. This allowed them to catch the chopping block bunch of Clem Fries, Brett Rollinson and Graeme Parker.
Last week’s winning bunch had been moved a minute closer to scratch so would need to go a little quicker to win again. Macca Parkinson, John Van Heuven, Kerryn Milner and James Williams started conservatively but got quicker each lap. At the bell they had not been caught and they had the other four lap bunch of Adele Whelan, Annie Pryjmak and Janet Leman in their sights.
After three laps the four minute group knew if they could maintain their current speed they would not be caught from behind. Kennedy, Monk and Luke Morrison were especially prominent at the front of the group but Glen Marriott, George Tambassis, Paul Yeatman, Pete Whelan and Patrick Brett also rolled though regularly to keep the pace high. When they picked up groups they lost a little organisation but always had enough workers to maintain speed.
The scratch men were still a chance at the bell and trailed the 4 minute group by only one and half minutes. Unfortunately they were held up by a car near the milk factory when they had the leaders in their sights.
Annette Cunnington led by 32 seconds from Annie Pryjmak, Adele Whelan and Janet Leman with 8km still to ride at the bell. Next were Macca Parkinson, John Van Heuven, Kerryn Milner and James Williams who were 1minute 15 seconds behind Annette. The 4 minute group were flying though and even though they were 3 minutes back at the bell, were confident they could catch.
The four lap riders must have thought they would be in the money again as they climbed past the Milk factory still in the lead with less than 2 km to go to the finish.
Much to their dismay a bunch of 20 riders caught them almost in sight of the finish. Janet Leman had attacked off the front of her group and was the last of the outmarkers to be caught.
Patrick Brett tried to get away on the final hill but the improving Clancy McColl chased him down. Brett Kennedy led the group around the final bend and looked a sitting duck in the sprint after leading for most of the final kilometre. Simon Baxter was first to sprint for home but his effort lasted about 50 meters and he stopped as if shot.
Kennedy swerved to miss him and opened a good gap on the others. He powered to the line to take an impressive win. He will certainly be on the chopping block next race and may even go straight to scratch, such was the emphatic nature of his victory. In indefatigable Luke Morrison was second with Geoff Thompson in third. Then followed Rob Monk, George Tambassis, Glen Marriott , Pete Whelan, Paul Yeatman, Simon Baxter, and Haydn Johnson.
First female was Nicole Summerfield
Fastest time: Cyrus Monk 58.43 for the 41 kilometers.
Race 3 of the series is on Next Saturday at Darnum.
Anyone who would like to try racing is invited to register on the clubs Facebook page or website. Pre enter each Voyage Fitness Handicap race here. Novice racers are welcome. Handicaps are a great way to start racing.
Voyage Handicap Series Points Leaders after two races.
Place – Points – Rider
- 12 – Macca Parkinson
- 11 – Kerryn Milner
- 11 – Brett Kennedy
- 10 – John Van Heuven
- 10 – Geoff Thomson
- 10 – Luke Morrison
- 9 – James Williams
- 9 – Rob Monk
- 8 – Janet Leman
- 7 – George Tambasis