Classic cycling event returns to region

CLASSIC COMPETITION: Riders from across the country will leave the start line of the 2024 100 Mile Classic this Saturday morning. Picture: FILE

RIDERS from around Australia will converge on the Blue Lake City this weekend to participate in the 87th running of the 100 Mile Cycling Classic.

There have been some major changes to the route this year to account for rider safety and the various roadworks happening in the region, but all competitors look forward to another tough battle.

Racing begins at 8am on Saturday when the Junior riders – from Under 11 to Under 17 – tackle a new course.

Local riders include Under 17 Ethan McKenny and Under 15’s Xavier Farmilo and Molly Opperman.

They will begin at the front of the Blue Lake Golf Club and ride past Carinya Gardens, before turning left onto Carpenter Rocks Road, up the hill to turn left at Moorak Hall Road and down the hill to Moorak Primary School, where they turn left again and enjoy a short flat ride to Bay Road.

A left at Bay Road and another left along Orchard Road brings the riders back to the T-intersection at Grant Avenue, with a nice uphill finish to each lap.

The Under 11’s will ride one lap of the 8.8km course, with the Under 17 riders tackling five laps.

The hilly course is sure to highlight the riders who enjoy riding on inclines.

Once the Junior races have been completed, attention will be drawn to the Blue Lake BMX Club in preparation for the men’s and women’s handicaps.

In cycling handicaps, each of the riders need to complete the course, but are staggered at the start line based on speed.

In this case there is usually up to an hour’s gap between the first riders to begin and the final group.

The women will be riding their own race and will be grouped separately to the men, with the plan being they will finish their race about 15 minutes before the men come charging down Bay Road to the finish line in front of the Police Station.

Both races will start at Millard Street and quickly join White Avenue/Carpenter Rocks Road.

They will follow this road all the way into Carpenter Rocks, turning around at the General Store and coming back along Carpenter Rocks Road until turning left onto Kongorong/Tantanoola Road.

This could be the first chance to see the cohesion of the groups chasing each other.

The riders will then head into Tantanoola before turning right at Kennedy Avenue, right again onto the Princes Highway and then left in order to tackle Range Hill.

There will be a feed zone heading up the hill, which may allow riders to take on more fuel for their race, before zooming into Glencoe.

Taking a left turn at Medhurst Street, this year the riders will come back to Mount Gambier along Wandilo Forest Road, before turning right onto Wandilo Road and right again at Sassanowsky Road.

They will then rejoin the highway at Compton for the short run to Tollner Road.

With a right turn again at White Avenue before a left at Carinya Gardens, the riders will have one last chance to stock up on fuel before the final 50km stretch as they ride past the Blue Lake Golf Club.

Here the paths of the race diverge, with the men’s race turning right at Bay Road to continue down to Allendale East, turning around at the Area School and riding back to Mount Gambier, then up past the Blue Lake and into the finishing chute.

Meanwhile the women will turn left at Bay Road and miss the Allendale East leg.

Over 110 senior riders have signed on to race the 2024 100 Mile Classic, including local riders Jami Buckley – who steps up for his first year in senior ranks – Craig Andre, Scott Waters, Robert Mann and Tim Koopman.

The fastest riders who are making the trip to Mount Gambier include riders who have been participating in the National Road Series with distinction.

In the women’s race, Eloise Sandow will be hoping to take advantage of Katelyn Nicholson’s absence to finally climb the top step of the podium after a couple of years on the lower steps.

However, she will have her work cut out for her with riders such as Ash Ankudinoff, Sophie Edwards and Under 19 talents Leani van der Berg and Madeleine Wasserbaech wanting their share of the glory.

The finish of the race down Bay Road is a sight to behold, and onlookers are encouraged to venture over around 2pm to catch the end of the event.

With cash prizes on offer, both the winners the Men’s 100 Mile Classic and the Women’s Classic will receive equal prize money.

Following Saturday’s event, Sunday morning will have attention turned to the Blue Lake as riders compete for the State Kermesse Championships.

Cyclists in various grades will race laps of the 3.8km circuit in a bid to be crowned the state champion.

Junior grades will start from 8am and the event will culminate with the men’s State Elite Championships at 11am.

Racing should be completed by 1pm.