Race Report courtesy Hume Veterans Website.
The Hume Vets Cycling Club’s race season concluded on the weekend with their “Christmas Handicap”.
In less than ideal conditions with strong winds, over half the Club members rode the 53km race from Benalla to Tatong via Moorngag and back to base via Emu Bridge.
The fairly easy course was marred by the very strong southerly that blew throughout the entire race causing many riders getting caught out in the side winds on the ‘top section’.
Scratch fronted with three riders and where chasing a five man ‘block’ group at 3 minutes and the lone limit rider who had a 50 minute advantage.
‘Block’ caught the 8 min boys at the top of the second and last climb of the day to make an 8 man group.
The 13 min group had broken up and the 16 min boys were in ‘no man’s land’ as the 19 min group had caught the 27, the 40 and limit man with 14 kms to go.
Both Grealy and Thrum (scratch) had bad days and dropped out of contention which left Lyster dangling behind the large group of ‘block’ and 8. With sheer determination and the aid of a very strong tail wind Lyster now the only scratchman crossed to the chasers as they turned onto Kilfeera Road for the final 8 kms to home.
Their sights were set on the 19 min group, still at a distance leading the race and Lyster turned ‘up the wick’ causing damage in the bunch which dwindled to five.
The leaders lost their lead with just 5 kms to the finish line although several attempts were made to join the fast finishing bunch, they were to no avail as the speed home for the new leaders were into the 50’s.
Rounding the final bend and facing a 1 km very strong side wind the five had to plan and wait until the last moment to launch their attack.
It was the older head of Lyster senior (Laurie) to take the honours for the grand prize and son Tully had to settle on third place as he was edged out by Gavin Frawley making it a Wangaratta 1, 2, 3 finish with Albury’s, Dave Mann stopping it being a clean sweep by the Wang boys as Geoff Morley finished 5th. Even Bernie Grealy, also from Wangaratta returning after almost a year off the bike (due to serious health complications), managed to sprint his way into 6th from the persuing 19 min group.
The younger Lyster also took out the Fastest Time award with a creditable 41.46 kph average and riding almost half the distance alone was a fine performance.