A Bendigo quinella in the Champions Supa IGA Invitation Mile highlighted Sunday night’s athletics finals at the Bendigo International Madison carnival.
Backmarker Andy Buchanan and Cody Williamson (80m) brought the crowd to life with a stirring battle in the 1600m event.
Williamson opened up what looked like a race-winning lead with one lap to go.
Williamson still led by 30 metres in the back straight, but much to the delight of the big crowd Buchanan surged and picked up Buchanan in the shadows of the post.
“It’s a huge thrill for me,’’ Buchanan said.
“I love racing in Bendigo in front of family and friends and the big crowd.”
Buchanan thought he was in trouble with a lap to go.
“I did a lot of work in the first lap,’’ Buchanan said.
“I was feeling it, but I started to lift and the crowd got behind me.
“It was great to have two Bendigo boys out in front. I heard a few people yelling out my name and when I hit the home straight I got a new set of legs.”
Buchanan has had a big summer of racing across Victoria and interstate.
“This is easily the highlight for me,’’ Buchanan said. “I’ll race the Dragon Mile in a couple of weeks… hopefully I’ll win that as well.”
Buchanan’s win overshadowed the two big events – the Bendigo Thousand and the Black Opal. Teenager Jack Lacey scored the biggest win of his career when he won the Black Opal 400m.
Racing off 34m, Lacey ran a time of 44.988 seconds to defeat Leigh Phelan (34m) and Paul Tancredi (26m).
“It’s bloody magnificent,’’ Lacey said.
“To win this race is amazing. I’ve trained bloody hard for this and I can’t believe I won it.”
Dean Dobric gave up a footy career with Sandringham in the VFL to concentrate on athletics and his decision paid dividends when he won the Bendigo Thousand Finl (120m).
Dobric raced off 10.25m to win the final in a time of 12.39 seconds.
“My Dad was a sprinter and he’s always told me how big the Bendigo carnival is, so I feel very honoured to win this race,’’ Dobric said.
“It doesn’t get much better than this for me. I executed my start better than I did in the semi and heat and I stayed strong.”
Dobric will now head to the Stawell Gift at Easter.
“I’ll obviously get pulled back (handicaps), but I’ll give it a good shot.”
The other highlight of Sunday’s action was the win of Nadine Brown in the Women’s Vase (120m).
Meanwhile, Eaglehawk’s Emily Heislers celebrated a historic victory in one of Athletics Bendigo’s biggest track classics on Saturday night.
Racing off a mark of 15 seconds, Heislers joined her father, David as a winner of the great race. The Heislers are the first daughter-father combination to have won the Flack Advisory-backed event.