After the disappointment of a cancelled race last week, Vet riders were out in force today for a 36 kilometre handicap around the hotdog circuit at Woodstock.
Numbers were bolstered by a sizeable contingent making the trip from Swan Hill, a big pack riding out from Bendigo, and a mind-boggling four try riders from all parts of the country. Steve Auld stood in for the regular handicapper and did a great job under a lot of pressure. The field set off towards Newbridge with a vigorous tail wind making it difficult for scratch to make up much time, but the run back towards Woodstock into an equally stiff breeze caused the smaller front-marker groups no end of grief. By the time the race reached the Maryborough Road turnaround the five and seven minute groups led the field with a buffer of a couple of hundred metres back to second scratch and a slightly bigger gap to the scratch bunch which had been depleted by a puncture. Second scratch overhauled the race leaders two kilometres from home and chose to sit on, knowing that scratch was still some distance back. Darren McKellar hit the front for a brief moment before new member and Swan Hill visitor Adam Laughlin ( 2 1/2 min) lit up the sprint and capped off an impressive ride to out-gun Terry Schintler (5 min) and another Swan Hill stalwart Alan Pye ( 2 1/2 min) also showing fine form to run third. Darren McKellar ( 2 1/2 min) slugged it out for fourth from Robert Gartside (5 min), Richard Mcintosh (5 min), Murray Rankin (2 1/2 min), Shane Wall (2 1/2 min), Duane Cousins (5 min) and Geoff Bennett (2 1/2 min). Brad Geyer (scr.) came in a short while later to record fastest time of 54 min 29 sec.