Racing today was a 70km Scratch race round a modified Mt Misery and Avenue Circuit at Burrumbeet. The course today took us Clockwise round 2 10km laps of the Avenue and a 50km lap of Mt Misery. Weather on the way out to Burrumbeet was very foggy with a North to North-westerly wind at 28kmph. But sunshine greeted us at Burrumbeet and turned into a perfect day for racing.
C Grade was the biggest group with 12 , Dave Marriott returning to racing after a lapse of a few years. Karla McKinnon coming back after injury joined the group as did guest rider Jason Fadel ( St Kilda ). Story there is, Jason was invited up to Ballarat by Steve ‘Kanga “ Kennedy who had entered but did not turn up himself. Either, thought better of the windy weather, had too big a night celebrating the Cats win or a better offer to stay in bed ?? Will need to see his teacher’s note next week !!
The group was made up of regular riders in Paul Pickersgill , John Maguire and Pat Cashin ( podium placegetters from Snake Valley ) , Justin Foster , Darren Gladman and Warwick James ( making their way up through the rankings ), second race member Peter Fitzgerald and the 2 senior riders of Shane( Mr Finance ) Butler and Don ( assistant Handicapper ) Stewart.
The race started off at a leisurely pace with most riders rotating turns into the head wind up to the bottom of the Weatherboard Road rise.
Cashin, seen for the first time , pushed it up over the crest, then Fitzgerarld shifted the pace up another gear down to the Anzac monument and ably assisted by Marriot and Butler. Again the pace slowed into the head wind to Weatherboard. By the Avenue the second time Butler got a bit fed up of the slower pace and cranked it up til the right hand turn. Butler more known for his climbing ability than his sprinting was out to hurt the sprinters legs as much as possible. The group stayed together with a few taking turns.
Heading out Ercildoune road, again the pace slowed as riders realised we were on the dreaded Mt Misery lap with many conserving their energy for the long climb. Butler again became impatient and started a bit of gutter action , with the group strung along the edge of the road and only the very experienced able to get a sit. After that little flurry Fitzgerarld and Marriot decided to settle the tempo and ride up the road. So for the next 15 km it turned into a very leisurely recreational ride with Butler , Fitzgerald, Mc Kinnon, Cashin and Pickersgill doing a few longer turns.
Surprisingly, there were no real attacks up the first rise from Black Bottom Road , although Cashin as ever was twitching to up the ante. Pickersgill again going with him and bringing the group back. There were a few pushes up the hill but the pace was very much tempo until Cashin could contain himself no longer and made the first real break of the day about 1 km from the top. He made the crest with a 200m advantage and gradually increased that on the downhill. The group looked around and decided there was enough fire power to let Cashin have a while out the front by himself.
He really was working hard and kept the bunch at bay for 14.5 km ( garmin accuracy ) even although we were now having to get serious and crank up the pace with some long rotating turns. Cashin was eventually reeled in half down the Avenue with 4 km to go ( so ride of the day goes to Pat ).
The pace did settle a bit into the crosswind with some gutter action again leading to McKinnon doing a bit of cross country cyclocross to stay with in contention. Pickersgill , Fitzgerald and Fadel stayed at the pointy end to enter the Finish straight ahead of the pack. From there the pace did not slacken with riders trying to pick the wheel for the sprint. Maguire ran out of gears ( being Junior ) as did a couple of others.
Pickersgill and Fitzgerald opened up the Sprint early with Marriot and Fadel up the road and Stewart down the road. With 100m to the line Stewart hit the lead but it was short lived as Marriot followed by Fadel ( St Kilda Crit specialist ) hit the after burners and took out 1st and 2nd place by a couple of bike lengths with Stewart hanging on for 3rd from the rest of the bunch.
My son said as I left the house to head out to the race. “ Enjoy yourself “ . I said , “ I don’t think Enjoy is the right word “ !!! But in the end he was right , a very enjoyable days racing. Thanks to the whole group for putting in a great effort on a great day for racing.
See you all at Lake Learmonth Yacht Club/ Veteran’s Racing Club house for next week’s exciting episode of Scratch Racing on a new circuit.