THE mercury was high and the action was just as hot as hundreds of fans packed the Tom Flood Sports Centre for the weekend’s Bendigo International Madison athletics-cycling carnival.
The 41st madison was contested by one of the strongest fields for the big finale to a huge weekend.
Fans from near and far were drawn to the event, which was first run in 1972 and is a place where many athletics and cyclists have sprinted to glory at the Tom Flood Sports Centre.
Among the many highlights was Saturday night’s Regional Academy Cycling Excellence women’s madison.
Sydney’s Ashlee Akudinoff and Perth’s Bella King, racing in the women.i.s.e colours, powered into history as the first winners of the classic.
On the cycling track, New Zealand’s top guns Shane Archbold, Marc Ryan and Aaron Gate fired, as did Europe’s Franco Marvulli, Kenny de Ketele, Christian Grassman, Leif Lamapter, and Australian stars such as Alex Edmondson, Cameron Meyer, Jack Edwards and Scott Law.
Fast times and hard-fought sprints were a feature of many of the athletics finals won by competitors across a wide range of age groups.
One of the biggest cheers during yesterday’s action was when news of Bendigo Spirit’s victory in the WNBL championship grand final just up the road at Bendigo Stadium was called over the public address system at the Barnard Street track.
For those crammed in at the madison it was then time to settle in and witness dramatic finishes to the big finals – the Flack Advisory backmarkers mile, City of Greater Bendigo Thousand, Andy’s Earthmovers Golden Mile Wheelrace, and Bendigo Bank Black Opal 400m.