Racing started and finished at the Secondary College on Saturday with riders having calm conditions but light rain setting in over the course of the 1 lap via Nerrena and Mardan. The riders were racing for the George Martin Trophy. This trophy is named after the Clubs first referee – he was a tough a tough task master and the tough course recognises this trait.
There were 19 starters in the senior field including hand cyclists Alex Welsh starting on 30 minutes. He chased by Graham Jans at 22 min then a foursome of Kobi Merchant, Robyn Baker, Mark Bensley and Brad Bouquet on 15 min. A further 3 minutes back were Kerry Pritchard, Bernadette Fitzgerald and Tony Giles. On 8 minutes there was a trio – Phil Hanley, Oliver McLean and new rider Cam Brown. There was a further trio on 6 minutes – David Supple, Steve Allen and Lorcan Heneghan. This week the back marker numbers were depleted with just Thomas McFarlane and Will Lumby on 1.30 whilst on scratch there was Harrison McLean and Brett Franklin.
Whilst the tough climb out through Nerrena and then up the hill to Mardan normally does not suit the out-markers, the extra numbers saw them go really well. Alex Welsh was finally caught on the last hill on the Mardan Rd. Brad Bouquet and Mark Bensley also managed to drop their co-markers and had to keep pushing as there was a group of strong riders – Oliver McLean, David Supple and Lorcan Heneghan – charging through. Whilst Leongatha maybe in sight from the hill on the Mardan Rd the riders still have to navigate the climb into Leongatha and up Horn St.
Brad and Mark were up to the task and came in 1 minute ahead of the chasers. In the downhill dash, Brad Bouquet grabbed the win by a wheel over Mark. Next in was the improving junior Oliver McLean. Oliver was busy during the week winning the inter-school cross country in his age division but did find that the running muscles are different to the cycling muscles. Bernadette was a close 4th, followed by David Supple and Graham Jans and Lorcan Henaghan. Tony Giles was 8th, Kerry Pritchard 9th and Rounding out the top 10 was Kobi Merchant. Brett Franklin was 13th and fastest in a time of 1hr and 54 sec.
The junior riders were taken out the bottom of the Mardan climb near the Tarwin River. With a 6km uphill run to start the race it meant riders needed to be keen to tackle the climb. First away on 10min was Jack Allen, followed by Zach Stubbs Taylor on 6 min then Kaleb Jans on 30 sec whilst the scratch duo were Thomas Fitzgerald and Thomas Bouquet. By the time the scratch duo reached the turn at the top of the climb they had caught Kaleb Jans and had Zach in site but the limit rider, Jack Allen, had flown and was nowhere in site. The big run downhill towards Leongatha saw Kaleb lose contact with the scratch duo whilst Zach was caught and then left as they raced over the Grays Rd hill. By the time Jack was cresting the last hill on the Mardan Rd the scratch riders were just getting to the bottom of the climb. Jack was urged on by the supporters and powered home to the finish to score an easy win. In a desperate dash to the line Thomas Fitzgerald took the honours for second and fastest time – 48.25min. Thomas Bouquet was third. Kaleb Jans 4th and Zach Stubbs-Taylor 5th.
The Monday morning of the long weekend the riders will be back on the same circuit to race the last stage of the 3 day Gippsland Tour. Club members are asked to help with running the race day if they are not racing.
report – Lindsay
This trophy is in honour of the Club’s first president in 1959. George was an ex-racing cyclist who was influential in the formation of the Club, becoming the president for the first 3 years. He continued his involvement with the Club as referee and handicapper in the early years of the Club.