In a change to the regular schedule racing was conducted on Sunday morning from Leongatha North racing around the circuit back into Leongatha via Wild Dog Valley Rd and then back out the Highway with the race starting and finishing at the Leongatha North tennis courts. There was a light breeze but temperatures were just 10-12C although I think the riders were much warmer than the officials.
The senior field saw 12 starters line up with the lone scratch rider, Austin Timmins giving the lone limit rider, Dane Herbert, a 16min start. Dane had won this race last year and the handicapper was a bit harsher this time around. At the 11min mark there was a duo of Mark Bensley and Brad Bouquet whilst there were quartets starting at 6 min and on 1 minute.
After the first lap, it was still Dane leading although all the bunches at seen the handicaps reduced by at least half. Austin Timmins was just 5 sec shy of catching the 1 minute quartet whilst it looked like Mark and Brad had Dane covered. With riders doing 2 laps the field ends up being almost all on the long climb up to Leongatha North. First there is the climb up to the intersection on the highway followed by further 2km pull up to the finish. Mark Bensley and Brad Bouquet looked to be in with a chance but Austin Timmins chased hard up the climbs with only Will Lumby (1min bunch) showing any semblance of matching the effort. Austin raced to the lead before the top of the climb and was able to solo in a clear winner in a very slick time of 53.41min. Next home was Will Lumby, just ahead of Mark Bensley. 4th place went to Brad Bouquet, then it was Cam Brown (6min), Gavin Slavin (6min), Steve Allen (1min), James Young (1min) a visiting rider from Melbourne whilst in 9th was Leigh Stott (6min) and rounding out the top 10 was Chris Rowe, also from the 6min bunch. If the handicapper had left Dane on his same mark he may well have been right in the results.
In the juniors, there were only 2 starters racing over the 1 lap – Jack Allen on 2min start ahead of Kaleb Jans. Kaleb also found the long climb back the start point to his liking as he was able to catch Jack and then solo in for the win in a time of 37.30min.
Next week racing is again on Sunday, starting at Pound Creek at 9.00am.