Riders hit road

The Mount Gambier Cycling Club had a busy time over the Anzac Day weekend with riders all over the place.

Three Junior riders attended the Junior Tour in the Adelaide Hills and six riders attacked the Wal Smith Weekend of Cycling at Casterton, while the club continued a tradition dating back to 1949 hosting the annual Soldiers Memorial race.

This year the handicapped race was held on a 42km out and back course along the Caves and Border Roads, with the turnaround mark set just before the dip down into Dry Creek.

After the ode was read by club member David Tye, the Junior riders were the first to begin.

First away was Elmer Buckland, riding the 20km course with a three-minute gap to Jami Buckley.

Once Buckley had set off, Eddie Buckland began his 10km race, with Molly Opperman in hot pursuit 90 seconds later.

With some encouragement from his Under 19 chaperones, Eddie Buckland held on to most of his advantage throughout the race to take home the victory honours.

As part of the South West Series of Cycling races, the Senior Soldiers Memorial race attracted riders from Hamilton, Port Fairy and Bendigo plus the usual locals.

The first group to depart contained Pam Menzel, Phil McGee, Damian Buckley, and Jen Buckland.

They were given an eight-and-a-half-minute head start over the next group, consisting of Dean Zeven, Belinda Bailey (an U19 rider following up from her victory in the Women’s 100km Victorian Championship held in Casterton), and Jason Puschenjak.

After a further four minutes had elapsed the next group containing Phil Stasiw, Harry Opperman, Gerard Coote and Barry Warren were given their orders to begin the chase, followed another similar gap to Rohan Garfoot, Nick Bartlett and Craig Andre.

They were given a 90 second advantage over Matthew Opperman, Rob Mann and Dean Menzel, before the final pairing of Cadel Howie and Nicholas Kidman had to wait a further two minutes before setting off in pursuit, some 20 minutes after the initial group had departed.

The groups rode strongly together to the turnaround marker, with some making strong inroads to the riders ahead of them.

At the turn the groups of Mann, Matthew Opperman, Menzel, Andre, Garfoot and Bartlett had merged, gaining quickly on the bunch ahead of them.

As the riders neared the finish, Bailey surged clear to take the victory, followed by Puschenjak, Pam Menzel and Zeven.

Matthew Opperman won the sprint for fifth place, just ahead of Dean Menzel, with Kidman finishing strongly to take fastest time honours ahead of Garfoot, Mann and Cadel Howie rounding out the top 10 finishers.

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