Melbourne - Warrnambool - 1.5

Australia, September 9, 2000

1999 Results    Past Winners

Clarke in a controversial finish

One of the toughest editions of the 275 km Australian classic, Melbourne to Warrnambool was held this year, with cold winds and driving rain buffeting the riders as some of them struggled for over nine hours to finish the event. The race used to be held as a group handicap, with three separate bunches setting off at different times depending on ability. Whilst this makes it even harder for the top riders in A grade to win the race, it is a hallmark of Australian racing and has produced some strong riders in the past. However in recent years it was changed to a mass start with all grades. The strongest B and C graders could use the A grade bunch to hang in for quite a while.

The final selection included strongmen such as Australian champion Robert Tighello, former winner Gary Parsons, Bendigo teammates, Chris White, Tim Decker and Rik McCaig, Hilton and Troy Clarke (Carnegie), Josh Collingwood (who rides for the Jelly Belly team in the US), and Hilton McMurdo of Western Australia. The winning move came from Clarke, Decker, Boag and Tighello at Panmure, but Parsons, McMurdo and White later bridged up. Clarke tried a late attack but was reeled in so there were nine left to contest the finish.

The final sprint in Warrnambool gave a controverisal result however, after Hilton Clarke outsprinted Tim Decker for the $3000 prize. Decker (third last year) immediately lodged a protest after he claimed that Clarke had nudged him into the barriers with 200 metres to go. The protest - the race's first in 50 years - was ultimately unsuccessful, leaving Decker to nurse his pride and wait another year for a chance to win this most prestigious of classics.

The winner's time of 7.34.46 was the slowest in several years, due to the heavy conditions. The race record is held by Dean Woods at 5 hours, 12 minutes, set in 1990.

Results - 275 km

1 Hilton Clarke (Aus) Carnegie        7.34.46 (36.28 km/h)
2 Tim Decker (Aus) Bendigo
3 Rik McCaig (Aus) Bendigo
4 Hilton McMurdo (Aus) W.A.
5 Robert Boag (Aus) St. Kilda
6 Josh Collingwood (Aus) N.S.W.
7 Garry Parsons (Aus) Camperdown
8 Chris White (Aus) Bendigo              0.05
9 Robert Tighello (Aus) St. Kilda        0.11
10 Troy Clarke (Aus) Carnegie            0.39
11 Jayson Searle (Aus) Ballarat               B Grade
12 Steve Aitken (Aus) Tasmania
13 Paul Anders (Aus) Footscray
14 Karl Menzies (Aus) Tasmania           4.54 B Grade
15 Karl Wood (Aus) Carnegie              5.19 C Grade
16 Nathan Clarke (Aus) Tasmania          5.51
17 Saul Pasque (Aus) Camperdown         20.04
18 Tim Wilson (Aus) Geelong
19 Ben Jackson (Aus) Leongatha
20 Brian Mcnamara (Aus) Warrnambool           C Grade
21 Shane Mills (Aus) Footscray          35.44 C Grade
22 Evan Moore (Aus) Carnegie                  B Grade
23 Matthew Speed (Aus) St. Kilda              B Grade
24 Tyson Lawrence (Aus) W.A.
25 Ben O'Leary (Aus) Footscray
26 Matthew Wallace (Aus) Bendigo              B Grade
27 Brett Clapham (Aus) Footscray              C Grade
28 Geoffrey Bundred (NZl) New Zealan
29 Marcus Aqualina (Aus) Footscray            B Grade
30 Mitch Barbir (Aus) Geelong           39.29 C Grade
31 Aaron Gullan (Aus) Blackburn         39.47 C Grade
32 Stephen Dew (Aus) St. Kilda          39.59 D Grade
33 Paul Kenny (Aus) Melton
34 Guy Green (Aus) Blackburn
35 Steve Sorenson (Aus) Queensland
36 Jason Nunn (Aus) N.S.W.
37 Paul Turner (Aus) Tasmania
38 Peter Howard (Aus) Carnegie                D Grade
39 Chris Riley (Aus) Tasmania
40 Andrew Deters (USA) U.S.A.
41 Gary West (Aus) Carnegie
42 Marcus Balschiet (Aus) St. Kilda     43.22
43 Wayne Collins (Aus) Warrnambool    1.34.44
44 Brendan Budge (Aus) Geelong                D Grade
45 Peter Murphy (Aus) Warrnambool             D Grade
46 Cameron StreistermanisBrunswick
47 Graham Ruttler (Aus) N.S.W.
48 Aaron Bigham (Aus) Hamilton                D Grade
49 John Grima (Aus) Footscray                 D Grade
50 Tom Mcdonough (Aus) Coburg
51 Matthew Opperman (Aus) S.A.
52 Gerard Farrell (Aus) Warrnambool
53 Nicholas Lee (Aus) Port Fairy
54 Jeffrey Provan (Aus) St. Kilda
55 Leigh Paterson (Aus) Carnegie
56 Jack Langedyk (Aus) Geelong
57 John Danvers (Aus) S.A.
58 William Murray (Aus) Chelsea
59 Grant Edmonds (Aus) Geelong
60 Luke Mcdonough (Aus) Coburg
61 Hamish Mackirdy (Aus) S.A.
62 Peter O'Callaghan (Aus) Carnegie

Sprints Competition:

1 Kristjan Snorrason (Aus) Carnegie-Giant

King of the Mountains:

1 Heath Riley (Aus) Hamilton

Thanks to Caribou publications for the results

Past Winners

1990 Robert Jordan (Aus)
1991 Andrew Stirling (Aus)
1992 Peter Besanko (Aus)
1993 Dean Woods (Aus)
1994 Gavin Parsonage (Aus)
1995 Brendan McAuliffe (Aus)
1996 Chris White (Aus)
1997 Daniel Schnider (Swi)
1998 Bart Heirewegh (Bel)
1999 Jamie Drew (Aus)

Past winners by Mario Stiehl, Berlin