In a perfect world, a Dubbo rider would have taken out what is set to be the final Cliff Hazell Memorial Wheelrace at Victoria Park on Saturday night.
It wasn’t to be, but the current home of Dubbo Cycle Club was still farewelled in style on the weekend.
Tenders for a new state-of-the-art facility closed last week, with the track to be built at the proposed site of the Western Institute of Sport at the Charles Stuart University campus.
The next chapter in Dubbo Cycle Club’s history will be written there, but the current crop of riders did the city proud at the weekend’s Junior State Titles and Open Track Carnival.
“We had some great racing but we just couldn’t get up in the Cliff Hazell Wheelrace,” Dubbo Cycle Club president Matthew Gilbert said.
Oceania champion Kurt Eather gave it his all in the feature event of the carnival but he was pipped at the post by NSW Institute of Sport star Stephen Cuff.
Eather did a huge amount of work to get up in the handicap event but Penrith’s Cuff, another of the country’s most exciting riders, surged late to take the crown.
“He (Cuff) was the scratch marker and started on the start line with all the others in front of him,” Gilbert said.
“He’s extremely fast and gifted and that’s what we want here. We want the best in the state challenging us and it’s what we got.
“It was really good racing and it was really, really hard-fought at the finish.”
Dubbo riders filled the minor places, with Eather having to settle for second ahead of clubmates Jason Farr and Tim Hines.
There was more joy for the Dubbo club in the women’s wheelrace, with Simone Grounds showing all her class in crushing win in the final.
Grounds, a multiple national title-winner, showcased the toughness which has got her to the top of the sport in the victory.
“She came from a long way back and rounded them up in the last few metres,” Gilbert said.
The under-17 men’s event also showed the home club’s strength, with Danny Barber using his trademark bursts of speed take victory from fellow Dubbo pair Dylan Eather and Mitchell Hines.
“Danny and Dylan did extremely well,” Gilbert said.
“You can’t buy speed, it’s something innate and Danny has got it in spades. Dylan is a workhorse and an exceptional rider but Danny has that zap and when he decides to go others can’t keep up.”
Kai Goltman, from the Lidcombe club, took out the men’s under-15s final while it was Bathurst-based rising star Kalinda Robinson won the women’s combined under-15 and under-17 wheelrace event.
Taking in the main events on Saturday night where many former Dubbo Cycle Club greats and special guests from all over the state.
“When all the oldies are all together it’s great to reminisce about all the things which have happened at the track,” Gilbert said.
“There were feelings of it being ‘the last hurrah’ and we worked to go out with a bang, and we did it.
“It was double the size of the carnival normally a big thank you goes to all the volunteers and helpers.
“There’s a lot to do but we all do it because we love the sport.”