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Wedderburn is abuzz today as radio stars Hamish Blake and Andy Lee host ‘The Race that Slows Down the Nation’. Follow the action here:
RADIO hosts Hamish Blake and Andy Lee's “race that slows down the nation” drew thousands to the tiny town of Wedderburn yesterday.
Racegoers arrived at the event – dubbed the world’s richest horse suit race – in formal racing attire, placing bets on which “horse” would cross the finish line first.
"You just get this feeling in the air that this is the most important part of Australia's sporting calendar," said Hamish.
Loddon Shire mayor Gavan Holt rode a vintage tractor from town centre to Donaldson Park.
On the back of the tractor, Hamish and Andy perched on a bale of hay, waving to an enthusiastic crowd and the leading 50 contestants and their jockeys to the field.
"This many people haven't flocked to Wedderburn since the 1950s gold rush, and I congratulate our community for the way they rallied together,” Councillor Holt said.
Stephen Thompson and Fi Wilkie travelled from Melbourne to compete in the unique event and spent the hours leading up to the event sharpening their skills.
"Skipping seems to work the best with two people," said Stephen.
Mitch and Toby Talbot used the time before the race to pose for photos, feeling confident in their abilities.
One-person “horses” ran an entire lap of the trotting track and two-person “horses” ran half a lap.
Jessica Mauboy and Birds of Tokyo entertained the crowd in the lead up to the main event.
Wedderburn has less than 1000 residents and used a host of community volunteers to co-ordinate the event.
Hamish and Andy cemented their time in Wedderburn by casting hand and foot prints on Sunday afternoon, a memento Cr Holt said would take "pride of place" in the small town.
The CFA declared the start of Wedderburn's a fire danger period last Friday and yesterday's fanfare brought a welcome distraction from the drought.
Cr Holt said this announcement came as "little surprise" as the area has been dry in recent weeks.
"In broad terms, this means that residents throughout our shire are unable to light a fire in the open air without an appropriate permit from the council or the CFA," Cr Holt said.
EARLIER: Thousands of people are expecting to descend upon Central Victorian town Wedderburn to witness the “world’s richest horse suit race” run at the Donaldson Park track.
We’ll be bringing you updates throughout the day and live Periscope feeds so make sure you keep an eye on this page.
If you’re there, we’d love to see your pictures! Tag your Instagram ones with #thepeoplesrace or #hamishandandyinwedderburn and we’ll add them our the gallery. Otherwise, email email@example.com or find us on Facebook.
The day starts at 9am with a range of market stalls in Jacka Park before Hamish and Andy lead a street parade to the racecourse at 12.30pm.
Gates to Donaldson Park Race Course opens at 1pm.
The live broadcast starts at 4pm and the race, featuring competitors in horse suits running around the track, begins at 5pm.
Birds of Tokyo and Jessica Mauboy will be performing at the event and admission is free.
For more details about the event, visit the Hamish and Andy website here.