Marc Wilson (Croydon Cycleworks) claimed both line honours and the coveted Fastest Time in the 2012 Les O’Mara Memorial Handicap, riding from a powerful second scratch bunch at Modella. The race is held in memory of the founder of O’Mara Cycles, with all entry fees from the event supporting the Fusion Foundation, a charity supporting disadvantaged youth on the Mornington Peninsula.
2011 winner Jack Hickey (Avanti Plus) had another strong ride, and came close to defending his title with a fourth place in the bunch sprint that decided the top 10 placings.
Dylan Boone was the first Scratch rider home, but with many of the back markers feeling the effects of a tough Tour of Gippsland, their efforts weren’t quite enough to match the bunch that started three minutes in front.
Wilson’s bunch made up their three minute deficit to third scratch just before the end of the opening 48km lap, and reeled in the 9 minute bunch approaching the turn at Longwarry 10 kilometres later.
The survivors from the mark marks almost made it to the final turn at Bayles before the combined might of the 3, 6 and 9 minute bunches swept them up. The run home was marred by a fall with around 10 kilometres to race near the front of the bunch. Fortunately no riders were seriously injured, but the fall split the bunch leaving around 15 riders with a clear shot at the line.
Callan Douglas (Mainline Cycles) opened the sprint early, but couldn’t hold off the rampaging Wilson. Hickey made ground near the line, but paid for his efforts as Zane Hunter shot past to take third place. Carley McKay (Holden Cycling) was the first woman home, just outside the top 10, with Shannon McCurley and Nina Greig-Hurtig next best after being held up by the fall.
Thanks to all the officials and volunteers who made the race possible, led by Ann Johnstone, Monica Imberger, Paul Mason and Linda Hunter.
Course construction was by Graham Prosser and Damien Jones, while Mike Eaddy filled traffic control duties. Corner marshals included Em Lyall, Micj Hollingworth and Lucas Sproson, and support cars were driven by Phil Randall, Karin Coles, Eddie Perez, Mark Helding, Archie Stefanou, Ed Smith, Levant Efe, Mark Kinzett and Matt Wright.
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