A PACK of junior Bendigo and District Cycling Club riders has excelled on Australian track cycling’s grandest stage.
Competing at the 120th Austral Wheelrace and Australian Madison Championships at Hisense Arena on Saturday, Bendigo riders captured both the junior women’s and men’s crowns.
Racing off 15m in the handicap event, Alessia McCaig outsprinted her rivals to win the Junior Women’s Austral from Hayley Jenkins (scratch) and Neve Bradbury (25m).
Connor Symons (95m) followed up by winning the Junior Men’s Austral, narrowly ahead of club mate Jackson Hadden (80m) and Dylan Eather (15m).
Two more Bendigo club riders added their names to the winners’ list.
Patrick Eddy started the Bendigo charge by winning the junior men’s 17 A grade scratch race, while Jasmine Eddy claimed the honours in the junior women’s 15 scratch event.
McCaig capped a successful weekend by finishing third in the junior women’s 17 scratch race behind Caulfield-Carnegie’s cyclist Kobi Merchant.
Bendigo and District Cycling Club president Syd Anstee said it was a magnificent weekend for both the club and individual riders.
“Alessia has had a great season and Connor has really come a long way,” he said.
“They are handicap races and Alessia rode off 15m, so she had to give most riders a bit of a head start.
“(The club) is pretty lucky, Bendigo’s juniors are really kicking goals as far as all the racing they are doing.
“There is a junior development series, where they race all around Victoria and in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne and our club has been very strong in that.
“All those kids are members of that development squad at the moment.
“But not only those kids, we had a few kids from last year no riding seniors and they are only 15 and 16 but are better riders now.
“There’s been some good work done by people at the club to get them to that point.”
The Austral Wheel Race is the oldest track cycling race in the world, dating back to 1887.
Attention for the Bendigo club and riders will now switch to the two-day Christmas Carnival at Tom Flood Sports Centre on December 28 and 29.
Highlights of a jam-packed program include the 2000m Lindsay Harrington Memorial Wheelrace, the senior madison worth $1250, 80-lap A and B-grade madison, women’s wheelrace and two rounds of the Godfrey Family Women’s Omnium.
Prize money across the two days in excess of $10,000 in senior and junior events.