By Cycling Victoria
A record 230 competitors tackled the gruelling 103km ride from Warragul through the West Gippsland hinterland to Mt Baw Baw for the 12th Annual Baw Baw Classic presented by ANZ. Competition was fierce as international and national riders pushed their bodies to the limit as they powered up what is recognised as 2nd steepest categorised climb in the world. Blues skies and spectacular views from Mt Baw Baw were a pleasant change for competitors who faced sleet, snow and sub zero temperatures during the last two years of the race.
Tasmanian rider Nathan Earle took out the A Grade honours for the third time in four years, crossing the line in 3h20:23. Earle is passionate about the race and said “it’s my favourite event, not because I’ve won it a couple of times but because it’s exciting, incredibly challenging and different to all the other Australian races. Conditions are unpredictable and it’s so hilly that you can never see further than 200m ahead, so you have no idea where the other guys are.” Earle is now preparing to go to Asia for the Tour of Borneo and the Tour of Japan before heading back to Italy to race the European summer.
There were just eight brave competitors in the women’s event; Miranda Griffiths from the St Kilda Cycling Club took out the women’s race for the second year in a row, conquering the demanding 103kms in just 3h58:02. Griffiths crossed the line in front of the 4th Men’s C Grade rider, which was an outstanding achievement.
The Baw Baw Classic has etched its name in Australian cycling and gets bigger and better each year. Attracting 71 A Grade elite riders is an excellent achievement; the field is as good as any event in Australia. The country’s best cyclists have ridden in the Baw Baw Classic, just look at past winners, Simon Gerrans in 2003 and Simon Clarke in 2005.
Race Director Karin Jones was elated with the quality field and record numbers of entrants and believes it was the best edition in the races’ 12 year history. The Warragul Cycling Club looks forward to continuing this iconic event for years to come.
Individual Grade Results were as follows:
(2012) - Mt Baw Baw Classic
Nathan Earle (Hobart Wheelers CC) racked up his 3rd win in a time of 03:20:23 – a record for the current course. Blake Hose (Geelong CC) was second (+1:32) and Jason Spencer, third (+1:33).
In the women’s race, Miranda Griffith (St Kilda CC) made it two in a row in a time of 03:58:02. Heidi Buntrock (st Kilda CC) and Elizabeth Hall (Hawthorn CC) were next across the line.
Edward Powell (Melbourne Univerisity CC) claimed first place in 03:39:43, followed by Aaron Blomeley (Ballarat/Sebastapol CC) and Mark Kelly (Horsham CC).
C Grade sponsored by Wakefield and Vogrig Lawers
C Grade saw James Gray (Hawthorn CC) cross the line after 03:53:56 in the saddle. Second was James Rickard (Coburg CC) six seconds behind and Greg Castelow (St Kilda CC) a few minutes back.
MMAS123 sponsored by WHK Accoutants
Tom Leaper (Blackburn CC) took out first place in masters 123 in a time of 03:44:41. Michael Tolhurst (Canberra CC) came in second a minte back with the 2010 winner, Ciaran Jones (Carnegie Caufield CC) another minute back in third.
MMAS4+ sponsored by ANZ
Masters 4+ was won by Danny Kah (Carnegie Caufield CC) in 03:51:38. David Sturt (Carnegie Caufield CC) came in next and was followed by Anthony Chandler (Blackburn CC) who had won the previous three years.