Frankie’s Series attracts riders from far and wide.
By Aaron Nash
A quality field of 28 riders gathered for race two of the Frankie’s Coffee handicap series. Riders from Warragul, Wellington, Latrobe City, Blackburn, Leongatha and Southern Masters Cycling Clubs took part. Great conditions and the handicap format had the racers traveling to race. Handicapper Shane Stiles had his work cut out to bring the bunches together at the finish.
First away were John Taylor and Ash Diston they had 21 minutes head start on scratch. The other limit pair were Annie Pryjmac and Donna Innes Waddel who started after scratch but only did two laps.
New racer Alex Gardiner was teamed with Colin Brown, Col Manintveld and Dan O’Shea and Pete Finlayson. Geoff Thompson rode with them in a tutoring-chaperone role and Alex appreciated his advice. The 14 minutes on scratch was nearly enough for this bunch and they were not caught until the 47 km point of the 51km long race.
Ross Henry was the strongest rider in the 8 minute bunch. He teamed well with Rob Monk, Justin Prestidge, Southern Masters visitor Sean Donaldson and Latrobe City Rider Alan Timmer-Arrends. This experience quintet made sure they stayed together up the hill and combined well on the flats and were not caught until halfway through the final lap.
The largest group of the day had four minutes head start on scratch. Aaron Nash, Glenn Walker, Matt Parkinson, Peter Macdonald and Connor Bagot were joined by Blackburn Cycling Club visitors Chris Battersby and Ashley Ray. They tore around the first two laps and had the 8 minute bunch in their sights at the base of the hill the finial time up. Ray decided he’d go it alone and rode away from his bunch. He caught the 8 minute group near the top but he wasn’t waiting. He set out alone in pursuit of the outmarkers. Tactical genius Matt Parkinson assured his group that Ray would not be able to stay away solo. He encouraged his bunch to stay together over the top of the climb.
Second scratch was Brett Kennedy, Jim Timmer-Arrends and Graeme Parker. They decided to start fast to try and catch the 4 minute group before scratch got them. Aaron Wain, Stef Kirsch and Chris Joustra had other ideas. They caught the 4 minute bunch near the end of lap 2 and worked with them to the finish. It was not the scratch bunch’s day though. They finished 40 seconds behind the eventual winner.
Ash Ray despite being solo for the last 14 km was putting time into the chasers. There was little organisation in the 4 minute group once they caught the 8 minute group. They began to round up the outmarkers. Nash, Henry and MacDonald were still keen to work but others were missing turns with the finish in mind. Walker and Parkinson were noticeable reluctant to go to the front while Bagot did all he could before he was spent and spat a few kilometres from home.
It was clear that Ray was not going to be caught. Col Brown was the last of outmarkers to be caught with 4 km to go.
Peter MacDonald rode off the front of the pursuers and Tex shot across to him. Monk who’d sat on since being caught, decided to use the last of his reserves and jump across to MacDonald and Walker. MacDonald slaughtered himself on the front setting a tempo that was making it hard for any of the chasers to get across the gap. Monk opened up a long distance sprint that lasted about 100 meters for him but forced Walker to go long. Matt Parkinson loomed up briefly but decided it was all too hard and sat back down. Walker took a strong second place with Aaron Nash rounding out the podium. Then followed Ross Henry, Parkinson, Monk and Chris Battersby.
Race 3 of the Frankie’s Series is on next week at Darnum starting at 2.00pm. Enter here.