The Uni SA Australian Human Powered Vehicle Super Series pedalled back into the region and made a triumphant return to McNamara Park last weekend. A record field of 78 Human Powered Vehicles of all shapes and sizes were forced to brave the elements with sunshine and rain spells just some of the obstacles in play during Saturday’s eight-hour race.
A host of Limestone Coast schools were represented in strong numbers racing against some immaculately presented entries as teams flocked from around South Australia and interstate.
After no Pedal Prix action was possible last year due to COVID-19, you could sense the enthusiasm around the circuit in the season opener. The Aurora Racing number 52 vehicle took the chequered flag first after emerging victorious from a race-long battle with Wattle Racing’s Gunyah across the 481 minutes and 163 laps of action.
The top placed local entry was Kingston Community School’s Larry, which crossed the line in 33rd position overall and third in the S2 category. Anticipation for the big race was sparked on Friday night after the entire field invaded the Rail Lands to complete scrutineering in the heart of the Blue Lake city.
The race got under way in grand style after Mount Gambier City Mayor Lynette Martin kick-started the pedal pumping action by dropping the Australian flag. Riders had to contend with slippery track conditions before strong winds and inconsistent showers became factors.
Both the Aurora and Gunyah vehicles quickly pedalled away into the distance from the large pack which contained entries from young school students to older masters competitors. The blue and white Aurora Racing trike managed to hold onto the lead for the entire endurance race, but not without issues.
Uni SA Australian Human Powered Vehicle Super Series marketing and communications manager Marcus Lacey said all of the leader’s hard work almost amounted to nothing due to a late scare. “Aurora racing from Victoria were very strong all day and was a bit of a surprise because they suffered a couple of mechanicals which pulled them back,” he said.
“At one stage they came to a grinding halt on the Western side of the circuit and the team had to run across the infield with tyres and spares. “They actually spent a couple of minutes parked, repairing on the side of the road and it was quite a tenuous situation with just around half an hour before the finish.
“There was also another time when they were just ripping into the bike, so they were pushing very hard and put the machine under a lot of stress and were lucky to hold on, but were quick.”
The white and green machine fielded by Wattle Racing kept the victors honest all day. The runners up actually gained a lap back just centimetres away from the chequered flag to interrupt the photo finish.
During the late charge, Gunyah also claimed the Copyworld fastest lap award with a 2:42.9 on lap 152. Peninsula Human Power’s Disco Volante and Unhinged ensured Open C7 category trikes dominated the top four, while the leading Under 20 C6 entry was Team Relentless’ Cramp Fix 13 laps behind.
The top placed Masters vehicle was The Older Kids from Peninsula Human Power in eighth overall, while the fastest female combination was Shes Relentless in 14th. Phoenix from Pembroke School put in an impressive performance to record a Top 10 berth and a S3 Senior School win, while the Under 17 C5 class was fronted by the Bruce Junior squad.
Horsham West and Haven Primary School’s Visper claimed C4 Under 14’s, while the leading Middle School S2 trike was Pembroke’s Radar. In that same S2 class Kingston Community School’s Larry was the fastest South East competitor in 33rd overall.
Thunder from Holy Trinity Lutheran College won the Junior School S1 category. St Martins Lutheran College’s Anything But Orange put in a solid performance, as did Moss Rocca from Millicent High School.
Mount Gambier High, Naracoorte, Melaleuca Park, Moorak and Yahl, Glencoe Central and Mount Gambier North schools also flew the local flag high. Lacey said it was a brilliant way to kick off the series with the support of the Limestone Coast community. “Just getting the trikes back on the track was a great result in itself after 18 months of being away from racing,” he said.
“You could see the anticipation and excitement building as the event drew closer and to see everyone pouring out to the circuit was marvellous. “The Mount Gambier City Council was very helpful and has been a great partner for a number of years and without their help the event would probably struggle to get up.
“It was great for the town too.” The Uni SA Australian Human Powered Vehicle Super Series now turns its attention to the world-class race track The Bend Motorsport Park, where 160 entries and many Limestone Coast teams will compete in round 2 on Sunday, May 23.