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Hazelwood Pondage, Victoria, March 8, 2006

A large field of riders entered A grade to contest what would be an exciting 3-lap kermese at Hazelwood. The peleton rolled out from the safety of the car park under the watchful eye of the Commissaires Jim Jones and Vic Roads representatives who ensured the race ran safely and smoothly.

A strong Warragul contingent had heard of the quality racing at Latrobe City and turned up to try and steal a victory. Before most riders had warmed up the pace was on with Thomas Sandner leading two of his Warragul team mates out on a break away attempt testing the legs of the local riders and showing they were here to race. Matt Malacan also from Warragul did his best to slow the pace and give his team mates the best chance to stay away. The advantage was soon closed by the hard work of Jim Timmer Arends, Dave Shanahan and the recently promoted Andrew Harrigan sharing the load at the front of the peleton. As the bunch recovered Shanahan and Peter Verhagen counter attacked with little reaction from the main field. When Allan Timmer Arends made the effort to join them the three riders looked formidable. Malacan and Shane Stiles both from Warragul Cycling Club made numerous solo efforts to get across to the lead group, but with little help from the rest of the field they were unable to close the gap. The three enjoyed a 250m lead for most of the second lap. The peleton were happy to roll though keeping the bunch at arms reach of the break way riders. Charles Howlett sensing the danger the three might stay away to share the spoils bridged the gap. His effort was in vein and the bunch, led by the Warragul riders working well together to follow suit and with Darren Spiteri and David Gafa rolling through the bunch were soon on the back of the break away. A few minor breaks followed with Verhagen trying to get in everything but nothing stayed away for long on the fast circuit.

By the start of the last lap the field were all together with Sandner and Allan Beveridge the only casualties from the frantic pace and the scene was now set for a cracker jack last lap. Everyone seemed to be looking for an easy ride to the finish as the pace slowed. Allan Timmer Arends made another attempt at a break away but couldn't get any real advantage with the peleton hungry for bunch sprint. Samuel Beveridge the youngest rider in the field took a long shot at victory and broke away heading into the finishing straight 5 km's from the line. Spiteri sat on the front of the bunch controlling the pace while the rest jostled for position for the final sprint to the line. Jim Timmer Arends made his run at the line from a long way out and Sam Beveridge was swallowed up.

Riders came from everywhere frantically sprinting to the line swamping Spiteri and Howlett, the two renowned sprinters now finding themselves towards the back of the bunch. Not giving up Spiteri took the long way home and sprinted around the outside with Thompson tightly tucked on his wheel got to the front and were looking good to take out the race. Howlett threading his way through the middle of the field forced his way onto the back of the leaders. With metres remaining before the line he displayed his sprinting prowess and ducked down the inside to draw level with Spiteri. The two powered toward the finish and with desperate lunge took out the race. Spiteri came a close second with Geoff Thompson finishing strong to take third. A blur of riders followed close behind as the remaining riders roared home.

The B grade field, larger than in past few months, got away with everyone pulling turns for the first of three laps. As the race wore on Roland Elsdon made several attacks that caused a few in the bunch to drop off the back. However Elsdon was pulled back into the bunch each time he attacked, by some good race line bunch riding. On lap two newly promoted up from C grade Ronny Conway and Rod Ashworth began to struggle with the pace and fell off the back by around 300m. Both found something as the pace eased up front allowing both riders to make contact again, only to see Conway drop away as the pace once again increased as Elsdon attacked again. On lap three Mick Hall also found the pace too hot and fell back. Nearing the finish Shane Dove, Aaron Wain and Michael O'Connor were driving the bunch and with Elsdon doing a lot of attacking during the race was a spent force. With around 200m to go Ashworth with superior sprinting ability over powered the bunch to come away with a very impressive win from O'Connor 2nd and Aaron Wain 3rd.

In C grade commissaire Jimmy Jones requested riders look after youngster Shannon McCurley, having her first race in the grade and to teach her some bunch riding. As the group turned into Switchback Road the starters words seemed to go unheeded as the pace climbed to over 38kms per hour when Andrew Crozier and Ashley Lucas went to the front and soon opened up a small gap. Peter Suares soon joined the leaders, leaving Lynton Sedley, Tim Buckley, Wayne Tunks and McCurley working turns in an effort to regain them. The gap grew bigger ending lap one after the chase group was down to three as Buckley fell off the back. At the start of lap two Tunks and Sedley were pulling turns allowing McCurley to sit the wheel. Lucas soon succumbed to the pace being set by Suares & Crozier and fell back with the chasers. At the power station hill Sedley opened up a gap with McCurley giving chase causing Tunks and Lucas to drop off the pace. Turning into Yinnar Road, Lucas and Tunks tacked onto McCurley and began to chase down Sedley. The chase group were back together as the gap to the leaders was starting to come down. Nearing the start finish line Sedley once again opened a gap on Tunks as Lucas and McCurley both called it a day and pulled out of the race, leaving Tunks to chase alone with the gap hovering around 50 metres. Up the Power station hill the last time Crozier attacked Suares opening up a good break turning into Yinnar Road to go on and win from Suares. Meanwhile Tunks found his second wind and started closing the gap on Sedley as they to entered Yinnar Road. With two kilometres to go both riders were together and Tunks sitting the wheel of Sedley bided his time and at the hundred-metre mark sprinted past him to take third place.


36km scratch
A Grade
1 Charles Howlett (LCCC)              
2 Darren Spiteri (LCCC)               
3 Geoff Thompson (Wgl)                
B Grade
1 Rod Ashworth (LCCC)                 
2 Michael O'Connor (Wellington CC)    
3 Aaron Wain (LCCC)                   
C Grade
1 Andrew Crozier (LCCC)               
2 Peter Suares (LCCC)                 
3 Wayne Tunks (LCCC)                  

Local results 2006