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Warragul Cycling Club
Picnic Point, March 13, 2004
New Race Grade for Warragul
Warragul Cycling Club has introduced a new racing grade to cater for the growing number of cyclists interested in competition. The new 'E' grade has some modified rules to standard competition, including reduced course distances (20km) and controlled race pace with points awarded for hill climbs and line honours. The grade is designed specifically for new riders to develop their cycling skills and racing confidence without fear of being dropped from the D grade bunch.
Saturday's scratch race at Picnic Point was the first opportunity to run the new grade, conducted over a flat 20km circuit. Aided by injured B grade rider Justen Oconnor and Ian de Bruyne, the pace was steady to begin with but picked up considerably in the last half. The pace control was lifted around 1 km from the finish, allowing Ian de Bruyne to aid with a strong lead out. Roger Matheson relished the opportunity to power home ahead of the bunch, as did Loretta Mackay who finished in second place with David de Bruyne third.
A total of forty-one cyclists arrived for the other racing grades at Picnic Point, where conditions were sunny with little wind - perfect for some hill climbing. At Picnic Point there are two course options: long, slow and painful climbing up to Jindivick and return, or a shorter circuit consisting of 'The Wall', a hill which features gear crunching, strain out of the saddle and the opportunity to launch the perfect attack.
The 10-man A grade field opted for two laps of the Jindivick circuit. The group was led up the first climb by a toey Shane Stiles, followed by the remainder of the field who had enough kick to still be cruising at a flat-course pace during the final climb into Jindivick. Steve Sandner and Pete Finlayson were victims of the pace, retiring after the first lap. By the second lap, John McKenzie and Gerrard Donnelly's slight frames drew away from the field alongside Scott Keeble and Thomas Sandner. They remained together until the lead up to the finish, where all eyes were firmly fixed on sprinter Scott Keeble. Leading the group out, Thomas Sandner noticed this focus on Scotty had left him unchecked. He increased the lead out pace and launched into his sprint well before anyone had a chance to react and was comfortably home ahead of Scotty, Gerrard and John.
B grade also chose two laps of Jindivick, and consisted of 9 riders. Led by Wayne Chester, the pack stayed focussed on his rear wheel, with only Charles Howlett sharing some of the time out in front. The lack of interest by the field to attack led to the withdrawal of frustrated riders Danny Dilger and Brett Rollinson. By the second lap, Charles demonstrated the mountain climbing prowess of his Basque riding jersey by breaking away on the Jindivick climb with Wayne Chester, Trev Rollinson and Geoff Thomson. The depleted chase field struggled to bridge across on the downhill, and the four breakaways remained together for another group finish. Charles exploded from the pack to claim the win, followed by Geoff Thomson, Wayne Chester and Trev Rollinson.
The usual suspects in C grade were accompanied by Melbourne rider and former local John Tassell. The field opted for three laps of 'The Wall' circuit, with the first lap quickly quashing predictions by first time circuit racers that it could be climbed in the big ring. The pack remained together on the first lap, with John Tassell immediately attacking at the start of the second lap. The field was content to let him sit out in front for the entire second lap before he realised he'd be better off gaining some recovery from within the field. The third climb up The Wall saw Rob Monk and Michael Pridmore attack hard and gain a short advantage, but the lack of a third set of legs left them vulnerable to the chase which was led by Glenn Fisher. The pack regrouped, and began to prepare for the sprint with 7km still remaining causing some frustration over the negative tactics. The usually cagey Vic Spunner found himself leading the field out for the sprint, which enabled 'tactically astute' Rob Monk to kick in and power home ahead of Luke Hanley and Simon Baxter.
The D grade field consisted of 8 riders for three laps of The Wall, with the first lap ridden under controlled pace. By the end of the second lap only five riders remained together, with Brendan Pridmore, Emma Beveridge and Glenda Pridmore casualties. The final lap strung the field out again from The Wall, with Kim Spunner losing touch with remaining riders Bill Frew, Dave Axford, Bruce Mason and Allan Hauxwell. In a very long lead up to the sprint, Bill Frew managed to sustain enough sprint power to outlast Dave Axford for the win. They were followed by Bruce and Allan and a short time later by Kim Spunner. Glenda Pridmore reserved enough fuel in the tank to surprise Emma Beveridge at the finish to be first female home.
Next weeks riding is another scratch race at Shady Creek. Further details are available at the club website www.warragulcyclingclub.org.au
A grade 1 Thomas Sandner 2 Scott Keeble 3 Gerrard Donnelly B grade 1 Charles Howlett 2 Geoff Thomson 3 Wayne Chester C grade 1 Rob Monk 2 Luke Hanley 3 Simon Baxter D grade 1 Bill Frew 2 Dave Axford 3 Bruce Mason E grade 1 Roger Matheson 2 Loretta Mackay 3 David de Bruyne
Local results 2004