By Rob Monk
Race six in the Land Safe Criterium Series would determine the winner. A grade heavyweight Brett “The Moe Missile” Kennedy was 3 points behind youngster Declan Jeffery. Kennedy would need to not only win the race but also take out the intermediate sprint to pass young Declan on the standings.
Kennedy had been buying coffees and promising favors all week to any A graders who would maybe help him out. Before the first sprint Kennedy looked in trouble. The field was all together and he would have to sprint against speedsters Darren Spiteri, Tom McFarlane and Danny Gaffa. Kennedy took his fate into his own hands and took off half a lap before the sprint. No-one seemed to interested in chasing and Kennedy won the first sprint. He now needed to win the race for series victory. Shane Stiles and Matt Parkinson seemed to be on the Kennedy payroll. They blocked on the front letting only those past who could not beat Kennedy in a sprint. Joustra and Timmer Arrends started the conga line on the way across to the Moe Missile. Then followed Rob Monk, Jayman Prestidge, Paul Yeatman and Will Lumby. This group of 6 worked together to catch Kennedy and then continued to work to stay away from the chasers. Danny Gaffa and Tom MacFarlane eventually realised they had been duped by Parkinson and Stiles and began the chase in earnest. They didn’t make it though and their race was over. Joustra and TimmerArrends realised too late that they were outgunned in a sprint finish in this group. They then started to attack but Monk, Kennedy, Yeatman and would not let them get away. On the final lap the “Moe Missile” sprint train set him up for launch. Monk led around the last two corners. Prestidge took over for much of the finishing straight and Kennedy only needed to do the last one hundred and fifty meters on the front to take victory in the race and the series. Will Lumby had worked hard in the break and deserved his second place. Paul Yeatman was third with Chris Joustra and Jim Timmer-arends filling out the minor placings.
The B grade race was always going to be a tactical affair. The field had more “sit on sprinters” than workers so a breakaway was always a chance. Tylah Meunier won the intermediate sprint from Jason Tubnor but could not hold onto the bunch after that. The Latrobe Valley trio of Craig Skinner, Paul Makepeace and Col Aitken then attacked on mass to set up the winning move of the race. The Warragul Sit on sprinters all looked at each other. No-one was prepared to chase. Eventually George Tambassis jumped across alone but blew up when he got there. The Latrobe Valley express was too powerful for his crystal cranks. Matt Malacarn and Scott Keeble had spent most of the series towing the sprinters around and today they decided to let them do some work. The disorganised rabble made no impression on the smooth turns of the Valley rats. They gave the locals a cycling lesson. Craig Skinner was first, Paul Makepeace second and Col Aitken was third. Pete Whelan was a distant fourth after he attacked the chase group late rather than helping when the race was still to be won. Graeme Parker took the consolation sprint for fifth. Well done to the Valley boys. A fine display of attacking riding.
Luke Morrison told the handicapper he was in the wrong grade. He was correct. He won the intermediate sprint and then dominated the race to take out the finale as well. He was in most of the breaks and was clearly the strongest rider in the race. Mark Mason continues to improve and finished second. Jason Dastey has been a consistent place getter in C grade but struggles to get onto the top stop step of the podium. Neil Edwards was fourth and Sean Holden fifth.
The D grade race started at a fast pace as Dwayne “Big D” Needham broke away early. Resplendent is his zebra striped skinsuit he looked a certain winner for the first 10 minutes. After 20 minutes he was kneeling exhausted on the sidelines. Pacing is not one of his strengths. Ben Perry needed a big result to get into the series prize money. His Drouin Cycles team mates were prepared to give him a hand. Dave Smith and Dave Thomas set up the sprint for young Ben. Smith drove the pace to Wills street before Thomas took over and delivered Ben perfectly to the 200 meters to go sign. Ben then sprinted to victory. Matt Williamson was second with Mariah Dastey in third. Then followed Duane McDonald and Ollie Mclean.
Bruce Evenson towed the E grade bunch around for much of the race. It was fitting that he won the sprint for victory. Cam Scheyer was second again with Grace McLean in third. Grace Mayne was fourth and John Davine was fifth. Adele Whelan sprinted well for third in the intermediate sprint. It’s unfortunate the points only go to the first two.
- Brett “The Moe Missile” Kennedy
- Declan Jeffery
- Ben Perry
- Jason Fritzlaf
- Mark Mason and Grace McLean (equal points)
Exactly 100 different riders participated in the series.
Thanks to series sponsor Land Safe, Ag Challenge and Drouin Cycles.
Racing next week starts at Darnum at 9.00am. We have a team’s race. This exciting format offers something for riders of all abilities. Register online by Thursday so teams can be published.