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Murray Bridge pedal prix gets back on track after two-year hiatus
Local schools have performed well at the 2022 Australian International Pedal Prix despite the loss of primary-school-aged competitors.
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As Wayne Thorley waved an Australian flag and the first trikes rolled over the start line beneath the midday sun, it became official.
Pedal prix was back.
Almost 140 race teams and thousands of people crammed into Murray Bridge’s Sturt Reserve over the weekend for the first running of the Australian International Pedal Prix since 2019.
Australian Human-Powered Vehicle Super Series CEO Marcus Lacey said he was glad to be back after a two-year break because of COVID-19.
“Our vision was just to get back on the track,” he said.
“We’ve achieved that, and that’s a big achievement, given what we’ve been through.
“Now we want to build on that going forward.”
Cr Thorley, the Deputy Mayor, said there had been an undeniable buzz in the air in the lead-up to the race.
“It’s fantastic to see this event (putting) the town back in a positive light,” he said.
Unity College had the better results of the two local schools competing, with one of its trikes placing third in its category and finishing 15th overall.
Team coordinator Stephen March said it was fantastic to be back on track in his students’ home town.
“We’re all very rusty, but it’s awesome to be back here,” he said.
“Last year was frustrating – we were all set up and we got canned.
“The kids have all been excited for this.”
Murray Bridge High School’s 25-person team had its trikes finish 39th and 104th overall.
Team coordinator Kelsey Milne hoped the school would be able to get a third vehicle next year, and eventually build towards establishing a female-only crew for one of the trikes.
In the meantime, the excitement in the red marquee was palpable.
“(The students) are just proud Murray Bridge can have something like this that brings over 10,000 people,” she said.
“They’re proud this is in their town, and our school’s name’s up everywhere.”
Primary schoolers may return in 2023
Both Mr March and Ms Milne said it was a shame that primary-school-aged riders had been barred from competing at this year’s event.
The ruling was particularly frustrating for the team from Unity College, as a combined R-7 school.
The college had taken a team of 50 to previous events this year, but was left 12 riders short over the weekend.
Murray Bridge North School, which had participated in three races this season, was left out entirely.
Mr Lacey said the decision had been a consequence of South Australia’s year 7 students moving into high schools in 2022.
Under series rules, only year 5 and 6 students were considered old enough to race, and no-one in that age group had participated in the gruelling 24-hour race before.
The rule will be reviewed in 2023.
Bunyip (Unity College): 15th overall/3rd in category S3
MBHS 1 (Murray Bridge High School): 39th overall/14th in category S3
Road Runner (Unity College): 66th overall/9th in category S2
Minnie Mouse (Unity College): 79th overall/34th in category S3
MBHS 2 (Murray Bridge High School): 104th overall/43rd in category S3
Sylvester (Unity College): 120th overall/49th in category S3
Complete race results can be accessed at ahpvss.com/event-results.