2016 Grand Prix Victorian Criterium Championships success: Press Release, 10 March 2016
Bikes replaced cars on the road circuit around Albert Park Lake on Sunday, March 6, as the St Kilda Cycling Club (SKCC) and Cycling Victoria hosted the 2016 Grand Prix Victorian (Cycling) Criterium Championships.
The cycling criterium championships, normally raced on a short, 1km road circuit, were moved from their original venue at the Geelong Criterium Circuit to the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit, in an arrangement between SKCC, the Geelong Cycling Club (GCC) and Cycling Victoria. The aim was to bring the state-level event to a feature location in the heart of Melbourne, and in the process, attract bigger fields, and important sponsorship funding and support.
Andrew Westacott, CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, and a keen cyclist, pulled out all the stops to assist Cycling Victoria and SKCC in securing the venue. Working with Parks Victoria, who manage this oasis in the heart of Melbourne, the various partners and sponsors delivered in spades.
Sunday?s event featured the use of the entire Albert Park circuit with fully closed roads, which proved a real hit with competitors. While not a traditional Criterium course, it provided a unique opportunity to showcase an important State Championship event. SKCC and Cycling Victoria were thrilled to be involved in making cycling history. Some of the standouts of the day included:
The course: 5km fast hot-mix road circuit, with full road closure; a hit with riders
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation was pivotal in securing the venue
Thanks to the Geelong Cycling Club for giving up the event, to run it in Melbourne
Last year?s SKCC-run Albert Park Kermesse was upgraded to a state-level event for 2016
We had more than double last year?s entrants, with over 440 riders competing
Riders represented clubs and teams from across the state and the country
SKCC again proved its event management, running a typically smooth program
Cycling Victoria provided its full weight behind the event, with active promotion, support with officials and timekeepers, plus on-course commissaires to adjudicate the morning?s racing
The morning?s racing was dovetailed with a recreational cyclist community dash, and a women?s ride, led by SKCC and Cycling Victoria ride leaders. Both rides included a lap of the 5km Albert Park Lake circuit; riders were buzzing at the experience, a clear indicator that this great initiative is on the right path.
A couple of minor racing crashes took a little of the shine off what was otherwise a spectacular day; smiles and positive feedback were the order of the day from competitors, supporting families and general spectators, and from the event partners and sponsors.
All the parties agreed that the event was an outstanding success, and are already looking to 2017.
Andrew Westacott, CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, and a man who sits firmly in the dual camp of motoring and cycling fan, said, ?this is a perfect lead up event to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, as it brings the local community to this fantastic circuit to race – albeit at a slightly slower pace! St Kilda Cycling Club is Australia?s biggest cycling club and seeing all the riders and supporters in pit lane and on the circuit was terrific!? For Westacott, the Criterium Championships event is a great support for the upcoming Australian F1 Grand Prix: ?it?s a natural fit, as we know many F1 and V8 drivers use cycling as a great way to keep in shape.?
Kipp Kaufmann, Cycling Victoria CEO, said: ?The Albert Park circuit provided a perfect backdrop and circuit for the State Championships. We are thankful for the great partnership with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, SKCC, GCC and Parks Victoria to make this happen.?
Parks Victoria?s Grand Prix & Sports Manager, Lorraine Green, also commented that the event was run really well, with ?its low impact on the grounds? and ?provided a perfect event for this time of year that also met Parks Victoria?s principles of healthy parks, healthy people, and keeping active.?
Lee Turner, SKCC Club President, was equally effusive: ?this is one of the biggest things in cycling in Melbourne on the calendar; each year gets bigger and more exciting, and we?re super proud to be a part of this event, which brought so many riders and fans to this great location. The Australian Grand Prix Corporation deserves a huge thanks from everyone who raced here on Sunday; without their help, this just would not have happened. We?re also really grateful to Parks Victoria for opening the park to cycling for the morning.?
The whirring of skinny tyres and clicking of gears will give way to the high-pitched screams of the highly tuned F1 machines in a fortnight?s time at the 2016 Australian Formula One Grand Prix. Last weekend, though, at least for a few hours, pedal power reigned.