Cycling: Juniors Weekend at Wonthaggi & Outtrim
Young cyclists from as far afield as Shepparton, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Warragul and a number of Melbourne Clubs arrived at the Wonthaggi Rec Reserve last Saturday for a series of cycling events. Of the approx. 55 riders who participated there were many more girls this year than last year, a very healthy sign for young cyclists. Leongatha had 7 riders competing.
The weather on Saturday started cold and wet with a strong S/W wind. Most riders were undeterred and keenly competed in time-trials, straight-line sprints, criteriums and scratch races. This Junior Cycling event would not have been possible without the financial support provided by our sponsors – Bendigo Bank (Inverloch & District Community Bank), Wheel Heat and Crossover Cycle & Outdoor. The Leongatha Cycling Club provided most of the volunteers ably assisting Cycle Sport Victoria officials in running the program. Competition was organised into the age groups <17 men & women, <15 men & women, <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 <17 men’s event and Grace McLean finished 3rd in her <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 McF cleaning up in the <17 then Grace McLean improving to 2nd in the <15.
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 McF was beaten into 2nd place in <17, Grace McL was 2nd again in <15 and Thomas Fitzgerald managed a 3rd in <13 boys.
After lunch a series of graded scratch races resulted in many fast and furious rides and some close finishes. Thomas McF had his 3rd win in <17 and was awarded with a GPS Bike Computer! Bernadette Fitzgerald scored 2nd in <17 women and Grace McL 3rd in <15 women. Every winner and place in every event was awarded with a prize paid for by our much appreciated sponsors.
On Sunday riders gathered at the Outtrim Rec 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 7 of Leongatha’s riders competed. Those keen to be considered for the Championship had to ride in the <17 A Grade field. The first 3 finishers then received CSV medals. Each race in the 3 age groups was a mass start event, NOT a time trial. Under 15 and <13 grade winners received allocated prizes. Austin Timmins was 10th out of 20 starters in <15, Thomas McF 6th out of 11 <17, Harrison McLean 1st of 2 riding in B-Grade of <17, Grace McLean 3rd of 4 in <15, Thomas Fitzgerald 1st and Oliver McLean 2nd of 2 in <14 boys.
The handicapped road races then commenced with <15 and <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 <15 narrowly being beaten in for 2nd. Alex B was 8th out of 23 finishers. Grace McLean won her handicapped <15 and Bernadette was 8th out of 12 finishers in the joint <17/<15 race. Thomas Fitzgerald was 3rd and Oliver McL 4th in their <13 handicapped race.
The <17 boys competed in the last race of the day, a 32 km handicapped ride from Kongwak back to Outtrim via Lynns Rd. Harrison McLean rode alone from his 16 minute handicapped and no one could catch him. In fact he made up a minute on the nearest bunch who started 2 minutes behind him. Thomas McFarlane started on scratch and “buried himself” into the headwind up Lynns Rd to make up 11 of the 16 minutes he started behind Harrison to record the fastest time. He finished 11th out of the 13 finishers.
When interviewed afterwards Harrison McLean said “this is my first non-club competition and I have been riding and racing for only 6 months. I am really motivated to strive and improve more”. Austin Timmins after his close 2nd said “it was a good experience and I had a lot of fun”.
A special thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make this event happen. Tony Clark did such a good job as the announcer he may have got himself a permanent job! Please note that all results in detail are available on the Leongatha Cycling Club website at www.leongathacycling.com
report by Kerry Pritchard