Wheels in motion for cycling stage

Gawler Mayor Karen Redman, along with Gawler Wheelers members Mick Sturges, Paul Koch, Kate Sankey, David Niblett, David Hughes and Lorraine Mathews, are excited about Sunday’s Super Series stage taking place in town. PHOTO: Brendan Simpkins.

Brendan Simpkins

CYCLISTS from across the state will pedal through Gawler on Sunday for the town’s debut in the Cycling SA Super Series.

The Super Series is the state’s highest profile road racing event outside of the Tour Down Under.

Representatives from Cycling SA had been in discussions with Gawler Council staff since January to bring an annual event to town before a proposal was put to councillors in April.

The newly opened Gawler East Link Road (GELR) will cater to a host of riders across numerous categories, ranging from junior riders up to elites.

A number of professional cyclists will be taking part in the Gawler stage including Alexander Porter and Leigh Howard who won gold in team pursuit at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

In a selling point for the race, the Gawler course will be the only elevated stage following the cancellation of the Lenswood stage.

Gawler Mayor Karen Redman said the economic benefits of the event will be far-reaching.

“It is fabulous for the region… (it’s) good for people wanting to stay, they stay and explore the region, they have meals, they book accommodation and they buy things in town, so it’s fabulous from an economic development point of view,” she said.

“These people come back, they enjoy the ride so much that they come back and explore again and again, and they talk to people, so this whole cultural tourism flavour just fits with this type of event.”

Ms Redman also said the event would show off the new, $67.7 million GELR which opened on October 18.

The section between Potts Road and Calton Road will be closed to traffic from 7am to 6pm, containing it to a closed circuit for riders.

Cycling SA has fully funded the event, bar a $2500 sponsorship contribution from council to be used on infrastructure such as portable toilets.

Traffic management, insurance and logistics will also be taken care of by Cycling SA.

Originally a Junior Come ‘n Try ride and a Community Ride were incorporated and would have been sponsored by council, however they were abandoned due to the difficulty in keeping with COVID-safe guidelines.

However local cycling club Gawler Wheelers has invited participating cyclists and their families to join them on a social ride this Saturday morning.

Kate Sankey of Gawler Wheelers said it was “exciting” that a state event was coming to town.

“(We) get the chance to show off our beautiful district and to have people out on a Saturday to come along and ride with us, that’s exciting,” she said.

“We might get some new members and lots of us will come out and watch on Sunday.”

Cycling SA CEO Lachie Ambrose said he was delighted with the course.

“It’s always a privilege to be able to run a race on closed roads, and to do so on a brand-new road is even better,” he said.

“We thank the Town of Gawler for their support and hope to continue to grow this event into a regular occurrence on the local cycling calendar.”

It is hoped that the Gawler stage will become an annual fixture on the Super Series calendar, and become the anchor event of a cycling festival for the town in future.

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