YOUNG cyclists from as far afield as Shepparton, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Warragul and a number of Melbourne Clubs arrived at the Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve last Saturday for a series of cycling events.
Of the approximately 55 riders who participated, there were many more girls this year than last year, a very healthy sign for young cyclists.
Leongatha Cycling Club had seven riders competing.
The weather on Saturday started cold and wet with a strong south westerly wind.
Most riders were undeterred and keenly competed in time-trials, straight-line sprints, criteriums and scratch races.
Competition was organised into the age groups Under 17 men and women, Under 15 men and women and Under 13 girls and boys.
Competition started on time with one-lap time trials of 700 metres.
Leongatha’s Thomas McFarland had the slickest time in the Under 17 men’s event and Grace McLean finished third in her Under 15 women’s event.
The winners of the rest of the events were well shared by visiting riders.
Coping with frequent showers, riders rode in heats of straight-line sprints.
The finals were run in better conditions just after lunch.
The best of our locals were once again Thomas McFarlane cleaning up in the Under 17 then Grace McLean improving to second in the Under 15s.
A series of criteriums were then run before lunch.
These involved a set time of racing and included one or more intermediate sprints.
This time Thomas McFarlane was beaten into second place in Under 17, Grace McLean was second again in Under 15 and Thomas Fitzgerald managed a third in Under 13 boys.
After lunch a series of graded scratch races resulted in many fast and furious rides and some close finishes.
Thomas McFarlane had his third win in Under 17 and was awarded with a GPS Bike Computer!
Bernadette Fitzgerald scored second in Under 17 women and Grace McLean third in Under 15 women.
Every winner and place in every event was awarded with a prize paid for by the Leongatha Cycling club’s much appreciated sponsors.
On Sunday riders gathered at the Outtrim Recreation Reserve in cold and still conditions, a dramatic improvement over Saturday’s wind and rain.
The big event was the Victorian Hill Climb Championship raced up Mt Misery.
Again all seven of Leongatha’s junior riders competed.
Those keen to be considered for the championship had to ride in the Under 17 A Grade field.
The first three finishers then received Cycle Sport Victoria medals.
Each race in the three age groups was a mass start event, not a time trial.
Under 15 and Under 13 grade winners received allocated prizes.
Austin Timmins was 10th out of 20 starters in Under 15, Thomas McFarlane sixth out of 11 in Under 17, Harrison McLean first of two riding in B Grade of Under 17, Grace McLean third of four in Under 15, Thomas Fitzgerald first and Oliver McLean second of two in Under 14 boys.
The handicapped road races then commenced with Under 15 and Under 13 riders doing an out-and-back 20km ride assisted on the return leg with a rising tail wind.
Austin Timmins did well off 9 minutes in Under 15 narrowly being beaten in for second.
Alex Bennett was eighth out of 23 finishers.
Grace McLean won her handicapped Under 15 and Bernadette Fitzgerald was eighth out of 12 finishers in the joint Under 17/ Under 15 race.
Thomas Fitzgerald was third and Oliver McLean fourth in their Under 13 handicapped race.
The Under 17 boys competed in the last race of the day, a 32km handicapped ride from Kongwak back to Outtrim via Lynns Road.
Harrison McLean rode alone from his 16 minute handicap and no one could catch him.
In fact he made up a minute on the nearest bunch who started two minutes behind him.
Thomas McFarlane started on scratch and “buried himself” into the headwind up Lynns Road to make up 11 of the 16 minutes he started behind Harrison to record the fastest time.
McFarlane finished 11th out of the 13 finishers.
The club thanks all its volunteers who helped make the event happen in particular Tony Clark as MC (a permanent job?), Cycle Sport Victoria officials and sponsors Bendigo Bank Inverloch and District Community Bank, Wheel Heat and Crossover Cycles and Outdoor.
All results in detail are available on the Leongatha Cycling Club website at www.leongathacycling.com.