Cycling spotlight shines on Bendigo for two-day carnival

The Tom Flood Sports Centre will be the site of two huge days of cycling action this Thursday and Friday.
The Tom Flood Sports Centre will be the site of two huge days of cycling action this Thursday and Friday.

AUSTRALIAN Track World Cup representative Braeden Dean, young gun Isaac Buckell, Luke Knox, Jarrod Moroni and Brendan Schultz will head a strong list of home-track contenders for this year’s Lindsay Harrington Memorial Wheelrace (2000m) on Friday night.

One of the Bendigo most prestigious races, the wheelrace is the feature event on the local club’s two-day Christmas carnival, which starts on Thursday at the Tom Flood Sports Centre.

Bendigo and District Cycling Club president Syd Anstee said the quintet would enter the race in great form.

“They are all riding very well at the moment and among the Bendigo riders they are probably our biggest hopes,” he said.

“Justin Leske is another. He’s more a veteran rider now but he has shown a lot of form.”

An expanded carnival will be staged over two days following Shepparton’s decision not to run an event this year.

Anstee said the carnival had drawn amazing support from riders and businesses, with prize money across the board up 15 per cent to a total of $14,000.

More than 150 junior and 120 senior riders will compete, with about 200 coming from outside Bendigo.

“We’ve had an amazing number of late entries, which has been great,” Anstee said.

“We are happy to accommodate everybody. We see cycling as an inclusive sport and we are keen to welcome everybody who wants a ride.”

The program will include sole-female events, including a wheel race and two rounds of the Godfrey Family Women’s Omnium.

Thursday night’s feature event will be a 80-lap madison, which has attracted 13 teams and is likely to be contested under handicap conditions.

Anstee said the club would take some time during the event to pause and remember young Bendigo cyclist Jason Lowndes following his tragic death last Friday.

The 23-year-old died was riding on Sedgwick Road, Mandurang, when he was struck from behind by a car.

He was flown to hospital but later died.

“Jason’s funeral is on Saturday and we don’t want to detract from that, but we will recognise the fact we’ve lost a member of our club and an outstanding community member,” he said.

“We don’t want to take away from what then family are doing, but we will do something.”

Junior racing on both days at noon, with senior events scheduled from 5pm onwards.