The final stage of the Tour De Riverina was held at Griffith in late May.
The Dean Carter Memorial a 60km interclub handicap event, held in memory of the promising young rider, Dean Carter, who was tragically killed in an accident whilst on a training ride with his father Jake Carter over 30 years ago.
The weather conditions for the race were ideal, the temperature was in the late teens whilst there was hardly a breath of wind to talk about.
The visiting riders from Albury, Wagga Wagga, Cootamundra and Cobram, accustomed to being greeted by a strong Griffith wind were delighted with the mild conditions.
The field of 58 riders was split into six bunches, with 15 Griffith Cycle Club members participating and represented in each bunch, enhancing the chance of local success.
In the scratch group Griffith was represented by the highly accredited young rider Billy Sewell who would be keeping his eye on Tolland Cycle Club fast man and race favourite Peter Treloar.
In bunch two, chopping block, Griffith were represented by current club champion Malcolm Blake and Peter Budd fresh from his success at the NSW Masters where he gained a silver medal in the criterium race. Craig Tilston and Jason Minato were covering the local club’s chances in bunch three, whilst in bunch six and limit , Griffith were well represented by six riders including Jenni Massey, the current NSW Women’s Masters 7 road race and criterium champion.
The starting time of the six bunches ranged between 24 minutes from limit to scratch.
Chopping block had a slender 3 minute start on scratch whilst bunch 3 had a further four minutes advantage. All the bunches were enjoying the favourable conditions and riding at a fast pace. The first catch was made just after the turn around on the Rankin Springs road where chopping block had hauled in bunch 3. Bunch 4 which included Mitch Harrison , Kingsley Massey and eight Tolland riders were flying and caught bunch 5 including Peter Stockwell and Dick Hore, 5km from the end of the race.
The Tolland riders took a breather when the catch was made, not realising at first that limit were still away. Limit had ridden a superb race, optimising their efforts and the chase of bunch four was to be thwarted, this combined bunch finishing just less than a minute behind the lead group.
Coming into Beelbangara and the final straight the eight limit riders were jostling for position and it was the young rider Cooper Lambden from the Albury Wodonga Cycle Club that was too fast and took the victory ahead of Griffith’s Tony Del Gigante. Del Ginante’s second place was his cycle career best result. The winning time was 1 hr. 37 min. 21 secs.
Grant Elwin, also from Griffith Cycle Club took third place whilst Jenni Massey finished strongly to take fourth place and first woman rider. Sarah Trotter and Melissa Budd had ridden superb rides and deservedly picked up fifth place and seventh place respectively. Albert Ravanello had done a heap of work and was able to fill eighth spot.
The big bunch sprint was next and Mitch Harrison put in a great sprint to take second in the bunch sprint and tenth place on the road and the final Riverina Tour points on offer. This was an excellent result for Riverina cycle racing, as this was the first time this group had tasted victory this year.
The scratch group was unable to catch the combined bunches 2 and 3, however the fastest time was recorded by Peter Treloar at 1 Hr 18 min. 21 secs which was the second fastest time in history.
This race being the last race of the series also decided the tour honours. The General Classification was won by Heath White from the Cobram Barooga Cycle club, whilst Griffith’s Peter Budd was on the podium at third place. The Scratchman of the series was won by Tolland’s Peter Treloar. The Ladies Sash was awarded to Tolland’s Alice Debney, whilst Jenni Massey took second place. The over 45 Category was won by Peter Budd.
A great day was had by all and Jake Carter and members of the Carter family were on hand to present the prizes.