IT has been a bit like musical chairs with Leongatha Cycling Club racing over the past two weekends.
The club regained the riders who raced at Ararat the previous weekend but lost a similar number to the racing at Warrnambool this weekend.
On Saturday the racing started at Kernot and the riders raced around the 25km circuit (twice) through Woodleigh, St Helier, Grantville, Almurta and back to Kernot.
As well as the steep hill up from the Bass River at Woodleigh, the riders had to battle a strong westerly wind. To add to the difficulty for the handicapper club champion Brett Franklin was having his first race of the season, as was Phil Hanley, after both had been competing in triathlons early in the season.
The scratch duo of Brett and Austin Timmins had a trio on 4 minutes, another trio on 6 min with a further trio on 13 min and out on limit on 20mins was Graham Jans.
By the time the riders reached the start of the downhill and tail wind atop Grantville, Rod Cheyne and Oliver McLean (both from 13 min) had almost caught Graham Jans whilst scratch had already caught the 4 min bunch and were just 30 seconds down on the 6 min bunch and were already looking like the winners.
Whilst Rod and Oliver were riding strongly, the gap had shrunk by the time they reached 1 lap to go and worse was to come as the scratch duo scythed through the field and powered along as a duo catching Rod and Oliver at the bottom of the climbs at Woodleigh so it was game over.
Austin stayed with Brett to the finish but conceded the sprint to Brett giving him first and fastest (1hr24.54min).
Oliver handled the climb better than Rod and rode home a clear third. Kerry Pritchard who had suffered on the first lap used a tag along with scratch to get back up into 4th place. Darcy O’Connor was next home in 5th, followed by Steve Allen, David Supple, Rod Cheyne, Phil Hanley and into the top ten was a gallant Graham Jans.
The junior race was over 13km on an out and back run toward Woodleigh. Thomas Fitzgerald had Kaleb Jans on 1 min and Zach Stubbs-Taylor and Jack Allen out on 2.30min.
Kaleb was disappointed not to have been riding a full lap and took his frustration out on the others by chasing down the limit duo and then out-sprinting them to grab the win in 24.55min. Zach grabbed second from Jack whilst Thomas had to work hard to avoid Kaleb grabbing fastest time in 24.44min.
At Warrnambool our riders raced in large fields and the best result went to Bernadette Fitzgerald with a 3rd place in the Stage 3 Womens C grade criterium. In the Men C grade Criterium Harrison McLean ran 5th with clubmate Will Lumby at 6th.
Next weekend the club will start racing at Poowong and try another new course for road racing. Being close to Warragul may elicit some extra entries for the race. Members are reminded there is a club meeting at the RSL on Tuesday night and some planning needs to occur for the 3 day tour over the June long weekend.