A cold and showery Saturday was a major change for racing for this road season. However, there was a good quality field assembled bolstered by several Warragul Club riders as they tackled the race from Outtrim, Kongwak, Lance Creek, Wattle Bank and back to Outtrim. The course includes just substantial climbs and plenty of flat to undulating roads along with a stiff westerly wind.
The classy scratch duo of Stuart Smith and Brett Franklin had a major task ahead as they had Austin Timmins, Thomas McFarlane and Harrison McLean on 2 min with another tough quartet on 4 min. There was another handy bunch on 7 min. Out front there was a duo on 10 min, a trio on 12 minutes and Robyn Baker (Warragul) and Graham Jans on 20 min. After 6km at the T intersection on the Korumburra Rd above Kongwak Robyn Baker had already left Graham Jans behind whilst the chasing trio had not made up any ground. However, the scratch duo had almost grabbed a minute from the several bunches just ahead of them but the two minute gaps meant most grabs were out of site of the chasers.
However, by the time the field was heading along Lynnes Rd through Wattle Bank the riders could see the others heading up the road. However, the tail wind meant it was hard to close the gaps. It all came unstuck for the 7 minute bunch at the turn from the Inverloch Rd onto Stewarts Rd and the run back to Outtrim as they broke the road rules and cut the corner using a left turn lane. Whilst they made it through to the finish with just 13 seconds on the nearest chaser they were disqualified by the race referee. Just after the turn they picked up Robyn Baker and towed her through to the finish and that enabled her to claim the win.
At the turn there was a large bunch of 8 riders still chasing hard and trying desperately to stay away from the scratch duo who were just 500m adrift with 5 kms still to race. Austin Timmins did a big effort and dragged the bunch through until the uphill drag from the bridge to the finish line by the reserve. He kept this going and got to within around 13 sec of the leaders and lost his other bunch members in the process. As it eventuated with the referees intervention he ended up 2nd. Next in was Will Lumby (4 min) just edging out Harrison McLean, then it was Allan McCulloch (Wgl) and Clem Fries both from the 4 min bunch.In another good ride it was Oliver McLean in 7th (10 min) as he dropped his co-marker on the first climb and raced a lot of the race on his own. Tom McFarlane was 8th just ahead of the Stuart Smith 9th and fastest time of 59.32 minutes. The scratch duo were pedaling between 40 and 50 kph for most of the race and were just 30 sec from getting up for the win. Rounding out the top 10 was Brett Franklin.
The B grade riders raced over 20km racing along Stewarts Rd, out and back twice. Last weeks winner, Thomas Bouquet started on scratch with Thomas Fitzgerald and they had Kaleb Jans, Greg Bradshaw and Felicity Waddell on 1 min. At 3 minus there was a duo of Zach Stubbs-Taylor and Jack Allen, Harry Herbert on 6 min and Sulli Herbert on 10 min. The scratch duo worked well and picked up the 1 min trio along with chasing down the rest of the field and should have produced the winner. However, it is a steep pinch up from the Powlett River bridge to the finish and Kaleb Jans jumped away and opened up a 6 sec gap to take out the win from Thomas Fitzgerald (also Fastest time) and Thomas Bouquet. Next home was Zach followed by Greg, then Harry, Felicity, Jack and Sulli.
Next week the racing is around the Nerrena-Mardan circuit with the seniors racing the George Martin trophy. It is also a chance for riders to re-acquaint themselves with the course prior to the long weekend tour session there on the Monday.