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Warragul Cycling Club handicap

January 25, 2004

Cyclists Take on a Handicap at Cloverlea

Just on forty cyclists turned out to contest the Warragul Cycling Club handicap, a race where for many the hunter is also the hunted. Groups of varying ability are sent off at different intervals with the aim to catch the group in front but not be caught by the chasers. Effectively this requires each of the bunches to work as a team. Individuals share the load at the front by taking smooth turns while others attempt to lower soaring heart rates in the draft. Go too hard or too erratic and the bunch breaks down. Take it too easy and you get swallowed from behind.

New riders to the club, Loretta Mackay and Wayne Tunks were away first on the somewhat windy circuit with a testing 44 kilometres awaiting them. 8 minutes later Daniel de Blauw, Kym Fisher, Greg Williams, Noel Mason and Alan Hauxwell were sent on their way and proceeded to lap the circuit at just over 20 minutes.

Starting four minutes later, C-Grade lead the charge with Terry Kelly, Glen Fisher, Simon Baxter, Vic Spunner, Luke and Monique Hanley and Lloyd Harrington getting off to a flyer. They would have 12 minutes on the back markers and would need to produce 20 minute laps to stay away.

Thomas Sandner presented for his come back race on a bike that was designed for broader shoulders. His trusty steed was away being painted stealth black and he should be much faster in future races as a result. He left eight minutes later (4 mins from the back markers) with Tim Lee, Brett Rollinson, Garry Wishart, Paul Yeatman, Justen O'Connor, Chris Beales, Steve Twining, Pete Bailey and Steve Hall on a mission to get B-Grade up.

While they were clocking a 17:20 for their first lap Monique Hanley was pulling up with a strain to the myocardium. Monique and a non-racing Ian Walk watched with jaws dropped as Loretta on her second lap flew past the start finish line at forty clicks only to find her 100 meters up the road with her helmet off and about to pack up the bike. This very impressive early finish was extended as the trio squeezed another lap out of tired legs.

In the meantime two A-Grade groups left 2 minutes apart. The first group away was driven by Matt Malacarne, Pete Finlayson, Phil Gallagher, Geoff Thomson, Steve Sandner and Keith Tomholt. The second and final group comprised John McKenzie, Shane Stiles, Peter Tsebelis, Darren Spiteri, Dave Salton, Gerrard Donnelly and Scott Keeble.

The D-Graders were posting just over 20 minutes per lap and looking strong. Noel was the first to find the going tough but managed to ride a gutsy race and eventually finish. Working together until Greg lost contact in the third lap would not be enough however as they were swallowed on their final lap by the chasing C-Grade bunch.

The rear bunches were pushing hard in hot pursuit and Dave Salton was hurting from a relentless John McKenzie who refused to back off the pace when up front. Up ahead Steve Sandner was fighting out of his weight division and like Dave exited after two laps.

The B-Graders were being whipped into shape by Garry Wishart who was issuing the orders one minute and launching an attack from the back the next. Steve Hall after riding strongly eventually succumbed to the pace and pulled the pin on the third.

All heart rates were in the red as the finish began to take shape on the final lap. B and A - Grade were now one and rather than increasing the pace the group slowed considerably (17min). A puncture for Gary undid all of his hard work while Shane Stiles was feeling so good he couldn't feel his chain climbing the hill on the front part of the circuit. Shortly after he realised his chain had actually fallen off and his race was over.

C-Grade were motoring along With Lloyd succumbing to the pace while Luke Hanley dug deep to hitch a ride with the A/B-Graders (still 2:30 away) after losing contact. They had caught and passed D-Grade and were preparing for the final sprint.

Rounding the corner Vic clicked into the biggest gear he could find and began to wind up. Terry again found good position and made a decisive move to lead everyone home, but a slight weakness in his left leg meant his right leg did most of the work in the sprint. Like a 10 year old doing backstroke Terry found himself drift across the wrong side of the road and was immediately disqualified by Staf. Fish was left to take the ten points on offer from a fast finishing Simon. Kym and Vic rounded out a great ride from the group.

The D-Graders Daniel, Allan and Darren followed in dribs and drabs while the A/B-Graders jostled for position. A 12 man sprint followed and the numbers quickly thinned from the corner. Gerrard, Thommo, Scott, Phil and Peter made up the pointy end with John, Matt, Thomas, Pete, Greg, Brett and Justen crossing in around 1:32 for the race. Tim Chris, Luke, Lloyd and Noel finished a short time later.

The Warragul Cycling Club hosts its annual Barry Bourke Track Carnival next weekend and invites all to come and see some top cycling action at the Warragul Veledrome. Racing from 1:00pm until 9pm Saturday and 10:00am until 2:00pm Sunday. This years Madison features a host of top athletes including Olympic medallist Brett Aitken.


1 Glenn Fisher 
2 Simon Baxter 
3 Kym Fisher 
4 Vic Spunner 
5 Daniel de Blauw

Local results 2004