The Club ran the George Martin trophy race on Saturday in cool, windy but dry conditions. The trophy is named after the Clubs first referee and the tough race reflects the character of that early supporter of the club. The race is over 38km starting at the Secondary College racing through Nerrena up the hill to Mardan and then back into Leongatha. This year the club had a good influx of other Gippsland riders so that 34 starters graced the start line.
First away on 23 min was Warragul rider Annie Pryjmok. At 15 minutes start there was a trio of riders including Chris Bagot from Warragul. However, just 2 minutes behind there was a 6 rider group including Leongatha and Warragul riders. Some of these have been making it around in the 6.15 Saturday taring bunch whilst others also manage the early morning mid-week run as well. It was also a blend of some wily old riders and some younger riders getting back into form. Whatever it was they worked well and picked up the leading group and hit the hilltop at Mardan all in good shape.
There were 8 riders in the 7 minute bunch, however from the results it would appear that the big climb to Mardan and the lumpy nature of the course did not agree with several of this bunch. They were chased by 6 riders from Warragul on 4 minutes however this group did not manage to catch the leaders of the 7 minute bunch.
There were 5 riders riding from 1.30min which was not much of a gap to the 5 rider scratch bunch which included Tom McFarlane racing locally after some good performances in State open events. He was well supported by Harry and Ollie McLean in the chase. This trio quickly chased down the 1.30 bunch and left them behind on the climb to Mardan as well as losing fellow scratch markers Brett Franklin and Will Lumby.
However, up front, it was the 13 minute bunch working well together that had control of the race and by the time the riders reached the Highway just out of Leongatha, they still had a lead of over 2.30minutes and a gap of 2.45min to the scratch trio. To make matters worse for the scratch trio they had to ease up for a run of traffic on the highway. However, by the time the riders negotiated the Horn St climbs and raced over the line at the Secondary College it was Lachlan Matthews claiming the trophy from Mark Bensley and Chris Bagot (Wgl) in 3rd. They were closely followed by Tony Giles, Rod Cheyne and Colin Maninveld (Wgl). They still had a gap of 1min 30 sec on the scratch group who were lead in by Tom McFarlane in a time of 1hrand 56 sec in 7th and fastest place with Ollie McLean 8th, Harrison McLean in 9th and rounding out the top 10 was Peter Finlayson (Wgl) from the 7 minute bunch.
Next Saturday the Club will race the Lex Watt trophy race from Pound Creek Fire Station. This is another handicap over a much flatter course. On Sunday May 27, 1.00pm the Club will be looking for members to help with loading out the papers.