by Jason Tubnor
Windy and cold conditions greeted riders for Race 1 of the Parkinson’s Refrigerated Transport Handicap Series.
The limit group of Frank Bensted, Colin Manintveld and Donna Innes-Waddel set off with 11 minutes head start on scratch. Colin covered barely 500 meters before he punctured. Next away with 9 minutes head start were Zvonko Maric, Duane McDonald and Simon Forbes. DeMac had put in a big week on Zwift, an indoor training system. Their is no wind on Zwift and only virtual hills. He struggled with the reality of how fast Zvonko and Simon could go up the hills and was dropped early.
The 6 and a half minute group of Michael Salerno, Connor Bagot and Dave Smith were caught quickly by the 5 minute duo Jayman Prestidge and Rob Monk. Michael found the pace too hot and was dropped. Prestidge, Monk, Smith and Baggot teamed well for the first 4 laps and caught most of the bunches in front of them.
Chopping block consisted of the experienced Chris Joustra, Shane Stiles and Brett Kennedy. Joustra seemed to regard being placed on chopping block was an insult and proclaimed, confidently to the handicapper, “You underestimate me. We will take time out of scratch.” The scratch group of Harry McLean, Will Lumby and Daniel Furmston tried hard but never got the Joustra led bunch in their sights.
By mid race it was clear that the 5 minute bunch would catch all in front of them. Jayman Prestidge was super strong for the first four laps and had Dave Smith in trouble in the cross winds. Monk was more measured with his efforts and by lap five Prestidge was spent and Monk took over the majority of the pace making. Connor Bagot was doing his best George Tambassis interpretation and was causing no duress to the strain gauge in his cranks.
Smith was dropped but Zvonko Maric and Simon Forbes provided some reinforcements for the bunch as they were picked up along the way.
Joustra’s merry men caught Monk’s group half way through lap 5 and the pace immediately picked up. Only Connor Bagot and Monk were able to stay with Joustra, Stiles and Kennedy.
Approaching the line to get the bell Shane Stiles launched was appeared to be a big attack. It turns out Shane struggles to count and he thought it was the final lap. Joustra went with him when Stiles realized his mistake he sat up and Joustra was left to his own devices. He put the hammer down. Kennedy and Monk tried to chase but were making little impression as Joustra’s lead slowly increased.
Stiles eventually started to assist in the chase as the group headed down Sturs Rd. Finally the gap to Joustra started to come down. Connor “Crystal Mark 2” Bagot contributed to the chase after some subtle encouragement from Monk and Kennedy.
Jousta’s lead was two hundred meters as he rounded the home turn. The chasers had given their all though and Joustra would not be caught. Kennedy got within 50 meters at the finish to take second. Monk was third with Stiles fourth and Bagot nearly fainted after crossing the line in fifth place. He’d done a great job to hang on where others had not.
Daniel Firmston was the first of the scratch men to finish but he was more than two minutes behind Joustra. Joustra had achieved his aim and taken time out of scratch. Rounding out the top ten were Simon Forbes, Harry McLean, Dave Smith and Jayman Prestidge.
Race 2 of the series on on next Saturday Afternoon at Darnum starting at 2pm. Register to race via the club website.