Brett William's videos of the winners and fastest time of today's Bicycle Centre Bendigo Handicap at Emu Creek pretty much tell the tale.
It was a great race in fine but windy conditions with a strong contingent of Northern Vets and officials making the trip to Bendigo for the second of this year's combined events, so it's very likely to become a fixture in future years. Brad Steigenberger has already put his hand up. Forty-one riders lined up and the handicappers threw out a challenge to the two scratchies to chase down a minute to a strong second scratch bunch. They did this after just twenty-two minutes and then set about catching the rest. Out front, the 25s lost a couple early but still managed to rein in the combined 28 and 30 minute bunches on Story's Road second time round and they led the race with almost a lap to go. Meanwhile, behind them, scratch and second ran down the four minute bunch at the top of the Goose neck and the depleted 10s a few kilometers after, but the heat went out of the chase when the message came through that the leaders were still well clear. About eight riders in the leading bunch lined up for the sprint with Ray Colwell (28 min) showing there's still plenty of life left in the legs to win by a few bike lengths from Syd Anstee (25 min) who took second narrowly from Di Jane (30 min). They were followed by Tom de Vries (25 min), Vince Sinni (Nthn 28 min), Wendy Bennett (25 min), Lyndsay Symirk (Nth, 25 min), Steve Auld (28 min) and John McKinnon (18 min). Brendan Schultz (scr.) capped off a great ride by him and fellow scratchman Darren Lapthorne with a lot of help from a committed second scratch bunch to record fastest time and 10th place a few minutes later. Thanks once again to Brad of Bicycle Centre Bendigo and the Northern Vets for making it a great event.