Saturday 18th April marks the running of the 70th Annual Wal Smith Memorial ‘Casterton 50’ road race. The race remembers one of the true gentleman of Australian cycling, Walter Smith and supports a foundation set up in his name.
Mike Boudrie previews this long running event held in Victoria’s Western District.
The Casterton ’50’ is an 80km handicapped road race held each year. The race remembers Wal Smith, who passed away in 2012. Wal twice won the Mount Gambier 100 Mile Classic in 1963 and 1976 as well as winning the Hamilton 75 and Casterton 50.
Wal loved cycling and also rode the Sun Tour trice and the epic Melbourne - Warrnambool a massive 18 times. In retirement Wal Smith became heavily involved in cycling administration and worked at hundreds of multistage and one day races. Wal gave himself to cycling and it’s fitting that this long standing event now bares his name.
The Wal Smith Memorial Casterton ’50’ is a great race to get involved in. For those of you that have not experienced country racing it’s a great place to start. You’ll find a great bunch of enthusiastic and friendly riders from the surrounding area, as well as quiet roads and fantastic landscapes.
The race takes in just over 80km with 550m of climbing in an out and back course and is usually won in a time of under 2 hours. The Handicapped nature gives everyone a good chance at taking the win and makes for some really exciting racing.
Casterton is around a four hour drive from Melbourne or 5 hours from Adelaide. It’s also a 50 minute drive from Mount Gambier, the closest place to fly to if you are coming from further away.
If one race is not enough for you, there’s also the ‘Kelpie Country Classic’ run the following day on Sunday 19 April 2015, a 60km combine road race run around a new course this year consisting of three laps of a 20km circuit.
Race entries close 12 April 2015, so sign up now to avoid missing out.