Cyclists push on with track carnival

The Mount Gambier and South Coast Cycling Clubs have joined forces to provide a special treat for riders all over the region this weekend.

The pair will host a two-day Track Carnival this weekend which offers all cyclists a great weekend of racing at Blue Lake Sports Park’s Velodrome.

Pedals will start pumping from 1.30pm on Saturday afternoon when the SCCC completes its program before the MGCC takes over proceedings on the Saturday night.

The showpiece event will be the 80-lap Madison race where up to eight teams of two will be slinging each other around the track to get their team a win and score some prize money.

Riders will enjoy more racing from 9am on Sunday morning hosted by MGCC in a program which includes graded handicaps and graded scratch races.

Interested is high with over 30 riders having already nominated for the events, but people can still sign up during the weekend.

MGCC secretary Tina Oppermann said the event is always an occasion to look forward to with the joint venture a sign of the strong relationship between both clubs.

“The event has been running for a number of years now and it all started when South Coast’s velodrome in Edwardstown had a major renovation and their track was out of use for a while,” she said.

“So, they decided to get in contact with us and host their event here and it has been going ever since.

“They are a great club.”

Oppermann said rider numbers are shaping up to be strong with the Adelaide-based club bringing a large contingent to the region after the COVID-safe event got the nod.

“Half of the field are from Adelaide this year, while we also getting some riders from just over the border,” she said.

“We are very fortunate because we have done lots of stuff to make sure it will be COVID-safe.

“At one point in time we were not going to run it, but we contacted SA Health and local parliament members and they said, ‘just run it, you cannot stop’.

“They said it can go ahead as long as it is COVID-safe so we thought ‘lets do it’ and here we are.”

Taking centre stage in the Madison event from a local perspective are some young stars from the Limestone Coast Regional Sporting Academy, who will be looking to take the fight to the Adelaide based teams, while some spots are still to be filled.

Opperman said the event is a terrific chance for many riders to showcase their track skills learnt from the LCRSA or special coaching sessions with Australian Olympic team coach Tim Decker.

“It gives our academy based riders who use a track-based program a chance to challenge themselves against new riders because we do not have too many senior track riders,” she said

“So, it is another way to extend the bike riding team I guess and the riders can put all the skills they learnt from our coaching sessions with Tim and Caitlin Ward and Josh Harrison into racing.

“It should be a great weekend of racing.”

Alongside the ontrack action canteen facilities will also be available at the velodrome.

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