Club riders enjoyed fantastic weather conditions for the running of the Lex Watt Trophy around the Pound Creek circuit on Saturday. However, riders had to contend with some unusual road conditions. Firstly, the Shire had some roadworks traffic lights in operation on the Koonwarra – Tarwin Lower section of the road and secondly, a major traffic incident on the South Gippsland Highway saw traffic diverted at Meeniyan and Koonwarra to head around the east section of the circuit. This resulted in a lot of extra traffic on the circuit compared to normal. After much discussion about alternative courses the riders went with the designated circuit and had to take their chance with the stop lights.
The handicapper had 15 riders to contend with and the first rider to start was Greg Bradshaw on 20minutes. He was followed by a quartet on 13 min, then a trio on 10 minutes, another quartet on 4 minutes and a trio on scratch for the 48km race. The 13 minute bunch worked well and chased down the limit rider after the first lap. However, they had bad luck with the traffic lights and on the second lap they were caught by the 10 minute trio whilst waiting for the green light to come.
By the time the riders reached the half way point at Koonwarra end of the circuit. The lead group had a gap of only 45 sec over the group of Cameron Brown, Rob Monk (Wgl), Lorcan Heneghan and Leigh Stott. Unfortunately for the scratch bunch they lost Connor Bagot (Wgl) with a puncture leaving just Ollie McLean and Brett Franklin with the chase and they were around 2min 15 sec down on the leading bunch. From that corner the riders need to climb over the hill at the Golf course before the generally easy run down to the finish in Pound Creek Rd.
Over the hill, the limit riders thought they were in with a chance but the 4min bunch quickly closed the gap leaving a 10 rider bunch to charge to the finish line. They all had to keep working as the scratch duo was closing in as well. However, the line arrived in time for the 10 rider bunch to contest for the win. In the dash to the line Rob Monk took the honour. Cameron Brown was the next rider over the line and as the first Leongatha rider, claimed the trophy. Lachlan Matthews, last week’s winner (10min bunch) sprinted home for 3rd. Peter McLean (13min) 4th, Lorcan Heneghan 5th, Rod Cheyne (13min) 6th, Leigh Stott 7th, Tony Giles (13min) 8th, Brad Bouquet (10min) 9th and rounding out the top 10 was Mark Bensley (10min). Brett Franklin won the dash for Fastest Time from Ollie McLean.
Kerry Pritchard was glad to have a nice day in the saddle as a last hit out before flying out with Kevin Feely to take part in a month long tour around Spain. They have plenty of major mountains to climb as part of their adventure.
Next weekend, the riders have the Gippsland Championships on Sunday whilst the club will have a social ride for juniors and those not racing away going out the rail trail and back for a 1.00pm lunch in Leongatha. Check the club facebook page.