Northern Queenslander Richie Bates has an even better reason to like the Ballarat Sebastopol Cycling Club velodrome.
He made the most of his first visit to the track in two decades by taking out the feature event of the club’s leg of the Cycling Victoria Christmas Carnivals on Friday – the senior lightning handicap.
The 51-year-old capitalised on his 180m mark to take the honours from Kirk Ratcliff (190m) and Jack Betton (190m).
Backmarkers, including Malaysian OIympian Azizal Awang and Australian junior track representative Godfrey Slattery, were never in contention.
Bates from Cairns said Ballarat had always been a favourite track of his.
He said as well as enjoying racing on the circuit, he liked the ambience of the location with the quiet setting among trees.
Bates, who is originally from Victoria, said Ballarat had provided a change in luck for him after struggling over the previous three days of the carnival at Wangaratta, Shepparton and Bendigo.
He said it was great to finally find his legs after getting some relief from the handicapper.
The success also enabled him to finally step out of the shadow of his wife Gaby Thomasz, who had up to his breakthrough won five races throughout the week’s carnivals.
Brunswick’s James Anthony won the Victorian under-15 boys’ track scratch race championship.
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