THE road season ended with a good field last Saturday, August 26, racing from Tarwin Lower to Walkerville and back. The B grade field raced in with the A grade field, with the scratch quartet giving out a 20 minute start to the two limit riders. Whilst the day was fine, the riders had to battle a cold and gusty westerly wind. Although this was largely a tailwind for the outward journey and the 2km climb up to the Cape Liptrap turn, it meant riders suffered on the return run, thus proving that everything has its price.
By the time the riders reached the turn, it was cyclists from the 15 minute bunch who were just in front, with the girls from the eight minute bunch right behind. However, the big movers were several from the eight minute bunch, namely Damien King, Brad Bouquet and Thomas Fitzgerald, as they turned within a minute of the leaders. And they were being well hunted by riders out of the five minute bunch: Anthony Mitchell, Leigh Stott and Austin Timmins. Meanwhile, the scratch bunch had lost Harry McLean with mechanical trouble, and consequently they had not closed the gap to the five minute bunch by any great margin.
The run back started off with a steep pinch up to the Cape Liptrap turn, and a fair blast of wind over the ridge before a long grind into the wind back to Tarwin Lower. By the time the field hit the ridge it was Damien King pushing the pace with his eight minute co-markers, who had hit the front. Kaleb Jans, from the 15 minute bunch, and Bernadette Fitzgerald, managed to hitch a tow on this fast moving bunch. The bunch kept working hard and dropped several on the run back in, including Mark Bensley and Bernadette. The road has some long straights and, if chasing bunches can get to around one minute back, riders can grab a sighter on the bunch ahead. However, with a large bunch together out front and scratch not being able to hitch up with the five minute bunch, it was still a gap of two minutes to the chasers at the finish.
The dash to the line saw Damien King take a win, ahead of Brad Bouquet and Thomas Fitzgerald. Kaleb Jans was also right there at the finish, in a good performance by him for 4th place. Next home was Leigh Stott, just outsprinting Anthony Mitchell, Bernadette Fitzgerald, Austin Timmins and Mark Bensley in 9th place. Will Lumby lead the scratch bunch in to claim 10th and fastest time of 1 hour, 7 minutes and 12 seconds.
The club then adjourned to the Riverview Hotel for presentations and a quiet chat. Brett Franklin won the season aggregate award for best and most consistent rider over the whole season, although he faced a very close challenge from Harrison McLean. The B grade aggregate went to Kaleb Jans, who has shown some great development over the season.
The riders have some Gippsland combines over the coming weeks, prior to the track season getting underway in October. Any riders keen to have a try on the track should contact the club. The club has track bikes available for riders wishing to experience the buzz of close racing at the velodrome.
Great season ends for Leongatha Cycling Club