For the second weekend of club racing, the riders have been blessed with a great autumn day. The previous weekend of wet and wintry weather was fortunately not scheduled as a race day. However, Saturday did coincide with a State open so some riders were missing. Some of the club past stalwarts have been recovering from injury or away on holidays so numbers were again down.
The weekend racing was at Kernot and the seniors were scheduled to ride 2 laps of the 24km circuit through Woodleigh, The Gurdies and Almurta. This circuit has the flat run from Kernot through Woodleigh before the climb from the Bass River valley to the ridgeline above Grantville so has some great road riding. The scratch duo of Oliver McLean and Leigh Stott were chasing Tom Fitzgerald and Brad Bouquet on 6 minutes and Mark Bensley, Tony Giles, Kerry Pritchard and Rod Cheyne on 12min. By the time the riders reached the turn above Grantville, the first time up the hills had defined the race. The outmarkers had split leaving just Mark and Tony setting the pace out front.
The outmarkers had given up plenty of their handicap but still had 2.40minutes to the middle markers. However, the scratch duo were working well and had sliced over half the 6minute gap to the middle markers and were well under 6minute to the leaders. The second time up the climbs was really testing the legs. However, Mark and Tony were thinking about a win when they made the Grantville corner still in the lead. Little did they know that Oliver had flown up the hills and rounded the corner just 20 secs adrift. He duly closed that gap down by Almurta and then proceeded to ride away up the hill above Candowie reservoir going on to win first and fastest in 1 hr 14.14 minutes. His co-marker, Leigh Stott also chased down the outmarkers and came home some 20 secs ahead of Mark and Tony. Tony managed to outsprint Mark to claim 3rd. Rod Cheyne powered in for 5th followed by Brad Bouquet and Kerry Pritchard. It seemed Kerry was a bit tired from a weeks training over the mountains at Bright so we can perhaps expect him to be motoring in a fortnights time.
In the B grade race over 1 lap, we had a junior – Sophie Sutton from Blackburn – checking out the course before next weekend’s junior tour join with Kaleb Jans, Greg Bradshaw and Kerry Fitzgerald. There were also some other riders in the area on Saturday and they rode up to the bunch and split the bunch tempo. Up the hills Sophie managed to ride away with another junior rider on the road and opened a gap which she managed to hold until the finish winning in 56min 21 sec. Next home was Kaleb Jans who also had to overcome a dropped chain just 9 sec adrift. He outsprinted Greg for the silver medal place. Kerry Fitzgerald rode home in 4th finding the hills not to her liking but enjoying the great day for a ride.
Next weekend, the Club promoted the Junior Tour weekend. Racing will be at Kernot on Saturday afternoon from 1pm and Poowong on Sunday morning from 9am. Club members are needed to help with the running of the event. Club racing will return on Sunday May 6th with a criterium at the Leongatha Industrial Estate at 9.00am start.