STUART Smith rode the tough 38km handicapped Dumbalk/Mardan course with 18 other keen Leongatha Cycling Club members and finished first and with the fastest time of 58min 22seconds.
It was his first ride with the club for some time as he has been busy with higher profile races in Australia and elsewhere with the Victorian team Search To Retain.
The weather was ideal for racing being cool and hardly any wind.
Junior riders Austin Timmins (14) and Harrison McLean (16) have made giant strides in the last few races as they become comfortable riding with the seniors.
Harrison, starting in the six-rider eight minute bunch, was able to stay with the “scratchies” as they caught all in front of them and was able to hang on and finish fifth.
Austin started in the five-rider five minute bunch and rode very strongly up the big hill to Mardan to catch the eight minute bunch.
He was then able to out-sprint the six rider bunch chasing the “scratchies” at the finish to finish sixth, a fine effort.
At the start Stuart gave a minute to Brett Franklin and Thomas McFarlane, three minutes to bunch of four riders, five minutes to a bunch of five riders, eight minutes to a bunch of six riders and 15 minutes to the lone out marker Damien King.
At the finish, at the top of the Horn Street hill, it was Stuart first, Brett second, Will Lumby (another recently moved up junior) who started in the three minute bunch third, Thomas fourth and Harrison fifth.
Four juniors raced an out-and-back course on Nerrena Road.
Bernadette Fitzgerald started on scratch and gave away 30 seconds to Grace McLean, five minutes to Thomas Fitzgerald and six minutes to Oliver McLean.
At the finish Bernadette won with fastest time of 33min 39sec, Oliver second, Grace third and Thomas fourth.
Thanks to corner marshals Peter McLean and David Lumby, official Jim Geary and to Steve Wilson for finalising the handicaps.
Next week will be another handicapped race, this time at Korrine.
Please note Cycling Victoria’s requirement from June 25 that all riders must have a red flashing rear light visible from 200 metres.