Griffith’s Aidan Fattore was well pleased with his win at Friday’s Flexible Solutions Bacchus on the Lake after being oh so close on previous occasions, and he puts a local name back on the honour roll after a few years absence.
Meanwhile in the women’s race Aleara Wallace claimed a fourth win in five races, and recorded the second fastest time on this course with 38:44, only beaten by her own 38:02 of 2015.
And she needed to up the pace as she had hot competition all the way.
Fattore likes to jump to a good start and first time under the banner at the half kilometre he was leading the select runners who were already stringing out.
Matthew Watson was a couple of steps behind, another small gap to Thomas Keenan, then Aleara Wallace, and the pack was already distanced at fifty metres.
Second time around and Fattore made his intentions as clear as his gap of fifty metres to Keenan and Watson, then another fifty to Wallace, fifty to Rodney Savage, fifty to Matt Kenny and Kerry Morris, the second female and an unknown package, a triathlete from Perth visiting Leeton for Easter.
The pack followed with some already struggling with the pace.
Fast starts are normal for these races, but if you want to win it, go gotta be in it.
Of the local women, Julie Duncan was just three seconds behind Sarah Keenan, a tiny but cruel gap which survived to the line.
At the half way point on the causeway, the placings had barely changed with Fattore still well clear.
Wallace had climbed back to the company of Keenan and Watson, and looked like going further ahead, while Rodney Savage and Kerry Morris were still within striking distance and looking relaxed.
The rest of the men were looking strained and out of the race for the prize money, but Sarah Keenan still looked fresh and stretching the elastic to Duncan.
Fattore pulled further ahead in the second half of the race to win in 36:09, out of sight of the chasing group of three, with Watson gapping Thomas Keenan by eight seconds, and Wallace taking the win for the women.
Wallace had no room to ease off as Morris was closing and just eleven seconds back, and third place was a fierce struggle with Sarah Keenan just two seconds up on never-say-die Duncan.
The Sprint event had its share of controversy and supreme athletic ability as Wagga’s Billy DeBruyn stunned entrants and spectators alike.
His speed which put him in a different class to the rest of the field, but further back in the ranks several runners who did not take sufficient notice of the instructions proceeded on their own private courses.
DeBruyn gapped the field by fifty metres in the first three fifty and it was game over. By the finish he had amassed an amazing five minute gap from his rivals with a new record time of 16:53.
Friday’s Sprint times would all be new records anyway as the course had been stretched backwards to create a more standard five kilometres, but DeBruyn’s time beat anything so far recorded on the old course which was 350 metres shorter.
Brendan Cabor also gapped the field at the start before the pack crossed the line more strung out and comfortable than previous years, and with most of the contending females well placed toward the front.
The field successfully passed under the banner a second time, before some of the leading runners decided to do a third lap rather than go further out onto the course proper.
At the line, Zane DellaFranca claimed the distant second place in a time that would have looked very respectable if it wasn’t for DeBruyn, and Hamish Guinn was a short distance behind.
Isabella Salmon was one of the first to lead out onto the correct course and maintained the lead to take first in the time of 22:22 which would have been fast enough to win most of the previous runs over the shorter course.
Charlotte Bartholomew from Hillston took second and Mia Stockwell capped a good season for third.
The juniors usually seize control of this race in both numbers and placings and it was no different this year, with only the top three senior men making the top twenty across the line, Steven Thompson, Chris Ceccato and the perennial Geoff Bortolin.
The leading three senior women, Ellen McMahon, Tammy Mingay and Tracey Morris, finished in the twenties overall.
Sprinkled around the course and adding a cheer or two, a hundred and forty walkers also enjoyed the wonderful day and scenic course, some starting before sunrise and finishing before the racing got underway.
One of the highlights of the Bacchus over the years is the interesting mix of entrants.
The mostly known locals, ex-locals returning for Easter, keen entrants who travel from surrounding towns, and the total unknowns who turn up thanks to the grapevine and give everyone a surprise - and this 43nd edition was no different.
Full results and certificates are available through the Bacchus website