With the Wonthaggi Human Powered Grand Prix approaching quickly, who will be lining up aiming for the prizes? And what does the future of the event hold?
One of the beautiful things about the Wonthaggi event is that without an online entry list, there is no telling who will show up. Rumours however, indicate an entry list which includes Trisled, Berwick, Ex-PatÕs, Bendigo Youth Racing, Flora Hill and Maryborough Regional College is bound to have all of the ingredients of a close, clean and fast event. That line-up previews a field similar to Australian International Pedal Prixs of past.
The Ex-Pats are the events defending Champions, completing a total of 535 laps of the tight, undulating and technical 1.4 km circuit. The team is led by Jamie McNamee and is built on a solid foundation of experience: ÒAll of our riders have between four and ten 24-hour races each, so if they are out there crashing the vehicle now thereÕs something wrong.Ó Jamie said, a few weeks ago, confident that they would continue to be a contender in 2006.
Berwick Secondary CollegeÕs ÔCommunity classÕ off-shoot (ÔAustralian MadeÓ in 05) is rumoured to have a new lighter, smaller and faster rig under construction for the race, with past students from the college planning to put some fire into the event.
Trisled & Bendigo Youth Racing (BYR) have not contested a major event since the Australian International Pedal Prix in 2004 Ð when the pair enjoyed a close duel for the majority of the race. On a tight circuit with 70 vehicles Trisled (and Ex-Pats for that matter) are expected to fair well with their ability to slip through small gaps and manoeuvre through traffic easily. Trisled are the 2002 AIPP Champions.
BYR are heading to Wonthaggi with two vehicles for the first time and will also be assisting local secondary college Flora Hill, who won the Secondary division in 2005.
Maryborough Regional College are another squad tipped to fair well after strong 4th, 12th and 22nd places overall at the RACV Energy Breakthrough last November. Their sleek and narrow trikes handled their local track with ease and it will be interesting to see how their skills translate to the tighter Wonthaggi circuit.
The event itself operates on a much smaller budget than itÕs sister events in Maryborough, Casey-Cardinia and Maroondah, but that doesnÕt stop the organising group from putting on an excellent event. The event does however need help if it is going to survive. The event began after a number of successful showings at the RACV Energy Breakthrough by the Wonthaggi Wizard teams throughout the late-nineties. Now however (as with many schools) that strong generation of teachers and students has moved on and the workload is building on those who have been there from the start. The event needs new sponsors support and an injection of new blood into the organising group.
LetÕs hope that this yearÕs on-track action will reveal a new style of Wonthaggi Ð one that shines for competition and fair weather.
Written by Nigel Preston – Online Manager for the RACV Energy Breakthrough and member of Bendigo Youth Racing.