Cy­clists bat­tle gale force winds

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - GAZETTE SPORT -

The first race of the War­ragul Cy­cling Club 2019 sea­son had 20 starters, who ex­pe­ri­enced gale force winds for five laps around the Dar­num cir­cuit.

The hand­i­cap for­mat would prove op­ti­mal for some, less so for oth­ers.

The limit group con­sisted of solo rider, An­nie Pryj­mak, who is al­ways keen to race but needs a few com­pan­ions to share the load and ap­peals for lo­cal women to get on board.

The sec­ond group on the road in­cluded Thomas Sand­ner, whose la­tent form ap­peared to sur­face on the Team DSR ride the pre­vi­ous day. Both he and Jar­rod Crox­ford would have to work hard with one an­other to keep the chasers at bay, as the easterly wind was howl­ing by the com­mence­ment of the race.

The third group, which had five min­utes to make up, had with it some ex­pe­ri­ence and youth in­clud­ing rapidly im­prov­ing Aaron Nash and Tom Reid, stal­warts Mark Ma­son and Peter Mac­Don­ald, with the cap­tain on the road Ross Henry round­ing out that work­man­like group. On paper, they cer­tainly looked to be the win­ning bunch.

The chop­ping block was com­prised of a few very strong rid­ers and a cou­ple who were sim­ply off their game, with Rob Monk bat­tling some nether is­sues and Ge­orge Tam­bassis, seem­ingly, bor­row­ing one of his wife’s jer­seys for the ride – it was bright.

The scratch bunch con­tained a few heavy hit­ters in­clud­ing Stiles, Furm­ston, Collins and Skin­ner.

The race started in earnest, with the scratch bunch ab­so­lutely ham­mer­ing the ini­tial lap, tak­ing a minute straight off chop­ping block, which un­for­tu­nately saw Kenny dis­patched by the foot­ball club drive­way and Tex Walker suf­fer­ing the same fate by the end of the lap.

The race set­tled into one of at­tri­tion over the next four laps, Sand­ner and Crox­ford main­tain­ing a steady, brisk pace, mir­rored by the Nash bunch, how­ever, scratch and chop­ping block be­gan to lose rid­ers. First it was Tam­bassis, then Aitken, as the strong winds and fre­netic pace took their toll.

An­other lap saw Ma­son’s day over and with two laps to go, Sand­ner and Crox­ford were look­ing good, whilst An­nie was rolling well and still had a chance to snatch vic­tory.

Into the bell lap and Sand­ner de­cided he’d solo away and head for glory, drop­ping Crox­ford as they passed Fon­terra.

Mean­while, the bunch led by Nash were rolling solid turns and seemed un­flap­pable, al­beit, a full minute in ar­rears of the lead rider. Scratch and chop­ping block had merged, which saw Parker fall away by the last pinch and cross­ing the start-fin­ish line, they had the work to do, with two min­utes to close down in eight kilo­me­tres – could they do it?

Un­for­tu­nately, their am­bi­tions were blown over by the 40kph winds, with the fi­nal lap see­ing splits, blow-ups and choice lan­guage em­ployed - all to no avail.

Thomas Sand­ner sped across the line for a solid vic­tory, fol­lowed shortly there­after by Tom Reid, who was the sole rider of his group with the abil­ity to hang on to the scratch bul­let train as it passed all oth­ers along Stuhrs Road.

Craig Skin­ner of La­trobe came in third and with fastest time, whilst Hauxwell and Stiles rounded out the top-five. An­nie Pryj­mak rolled in a very cred­itable sixth and the oth­ers, well, they sim­ply ran out of breath.

Next Sun­day War­ragul CC will stage the sec­ond hand­i­cap around the same course, with reg­is­tra­tion at 08.30am from the Dar­num Stump.

With plenty away in Ade­laide, the op­por­tu­nity ex­ists for an­other rider to etch their name into the record books.

From hum­ble be­gin­nings, the War­ragul Lit­tle Ath­let­ics Club con­tin­ues to pro­vide the lo­cal com­mu­nity with an ath­letic pro­gram that pro­motes par­tic­i­pa­tion and self­im­prove­ment.

Based at the Ge­off Watt Track in War­ragul, the cen­tre prides it­self on be­ing a fam­ily-ori­en­tated club that sup­ports and en­cour­ages chil­dren to achieve their per­sonal bests, whilst en­cour­ag­ing and sup­port­ing ath­letes to at­tend and com­pete in ex­ter­nal com­pe­ti­tions or­gan­ised by Lit­tle Ath­let­ics Vic­to­ria. The pro­gram caters for chil­dren rang­ing in age from 5-15.

This sea­son the club cel­e­brates 50 years of fam­ily, fun and fit­ness and would like all past and present ath­letes, com­mit­tee mem­bers, life mem­bers, of­fi­cials and fam­i­lies to join it in cel­e­brat­ing the mile­stone.

Cel­e­bra­tions will take place at the Ge­off Watt Track, Burke St in War­ragul on Satur­day Fe­bru­ary 9.

The day will be­gin at 8.45am with its nor­mal ath­let­ics pro­gram, with for­mal cel­e­bra­tions be­gin­ning at 11am. All are wel­come to come down and cheer on the ath­letes then join in the cel­e­bra­tions with food, ac­tiv­i­ties and fun.

For more in­for­ma­tion, re­fer to the club’s web­site or Face­book page. Event or­gan­isors hope to see you there.

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