Pushing for glory

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Pushing for glory

The UniSA Australian Human Powered Vehicle Super Series rolls into town again this weekend and is ready to speed into a huge 2022 at Mount Gambier’s McNamara Park.

Having only held three events across the last two years, the return to the Blue Lake City for the opening round of the new eight-hour series will be a momentous occasion for all in the Pedal Prix community.

After not turning a pedal in 2020, the UniSA Australian HPV Super Series was desperate to shift back into top gear last year.

But despite a grand opening at Mount Gambier, COVID-19 struck again and blocked another season from taking place.

Hoping coronavirus interventions are now a thing of the past, UniSA Australian HPV Super Series Marcus Lacey said the upcoming eight-hour Pedal Prix at McNamara Park will be a grand occasion.

“It has been a tough couple of years for us and we have only been at Mount Gambier once in the last two years,” he said.

“We have had a big downturn in events due to COVID-19 and overall, we have only raced three times in the past two years.

“Things are looking positive for a full season, but we are very cautious because we have learnt anything can happen.

“The pleasing thing is the enthusiasm and eagerness of the competitors seems unabated.

“They are super keen to get out there so everyone is very excited to come down to Mount Gambier.”

Since joining the Australian HPV Super Series in 2016, Mount Gambier has grown to become one of the most popular stops on the calendar.

The fun begins tomorrow when the Mount Gambier Railway Lands precinct is taken over by a sea of trikes where competitors will get their pedal-powered missiles scrutineered from 12.30pm to 3.30pm ahead of the big race.

Come 9am Saturday morning, the green flag will drop on the eight-hour endurance test where competitors of all ages and abilities will take on the sweeping and undulating 2.4km McNamara Park layout.

Lacey said the Blue Lake trip is always an enjoyable one.

“It is a great city Mount Gambier and the council is very supportive of us and without their support we would not be able to host it,” he said.

“We have a great relationship and continue to do so it is always a great way to start the season.

“The railway lands is ideal for scrutineering, while the Mount Gambier Motorcycle Club is a very good host to us.

“Its an ideal track being safe, wide and challenging so the racers love it.

“It is a great venue to start the season and the ideal place to race and enjoy the hospitality.”

Not only does the Limestone Coast provide the tarmac to race on, but it also plays a significant role in the on-track action itself.

The Glencoe, Glencoe Central Moorak and Yahl, Mount Gambier North, Naracoorte, St Martins, Kingston, Mount Gambier High and Millicent schools all get involved fielding at least one entry each and Lacey said the local presence is always adds to the vibrant atmosphere.

“It is certainly encouraging and exciting to see so many local teams get involved,” he said.

“It is great to have the likes of Moorak, Yahl, Naracoorte, Mount Gambier and Kingston schools racing and they are just a few of the schools, so everyone’s support has been amazing.

“There is a great contingent of school and open teams from the South East which we always love to see.”

In the race for the overall trophy, another big battle is brewing.

Last year Aurora Racing and Wattle Racing’s Gunyah traded blows across the eight hours before the former emerged on top by only one lap despite the runner-up clocking the fastest lap.

The pair will resume their rivalry on Saturday and Lacey anticipates another captivating fight.

“The Open category is really flourishing at the moment,” he said.

“Aurora is very strong, but they will be challenged by Wattle Racing.

“Another contender is Platt Racing, who are coming back into the field and are very strong, as are PHP Racing from Melbourne and Unhinged.

“The Trump Trikes Factory Racing Team expects big things, so there are half a dozen of Open teams that could potentially be racing quite strongly against each other.

“Aurora may well go in as favourites again, but given we have not seen the trikes on track for some time we will learn a lot.”

Despite the recent challenges, Lacey confirmed one of the biggest fields ever is expected to roll onto McNamara Park this Saturday afternoon.

“We will have around 85 trikes out there which is probably equal to anything we have had before,” he said.

“Last year and 2019 was strong and we are on track to get the same numbers for this event, which will be a great start to the season.

“There is a big contingent coming from Victoria with central, Horsham, Bendigo and all the way through to Melbourne.

“South Australia is well represented with Adelaide and all points in between right down the coast, which is exciting.

“When people jump into a trike, they love it and have a huge smile on their face because it is all about participation for everyone.

“Being on track is a major achievement and once the light go green off the start line, it will be a great day.”

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