By Ricky Tozer, The Goulburn Post
Australia's oldest cycling road race has one more hurdle to clear before it is officially set down for a return in September this year. The application for the race had to be slightly amended and now promotions officer, Paul Hillbrick, is waiting for clearance from the Parramatta and Greater Southern Regional Commands.
The Goulburn to Camden hasn't been seen since 1999 when it was cut off due to rising insurance costs, but for the last 18 months, members of the Macarthur Cycling Club have been pushing for the race to be reinstated - "We are just waiting for the application to be signed off. But other than that everything is fine, we have locked the race in with the NSW Cycling Federation," Hillbrick said. "Everyone is happy at a local level, we just need those people to sign off, and we need them to be straight with us and say yes or no within the next two weeks, because we have some potential sponsors, but it is hard to sell the race when it is just a concept; we really need it to become official."
According to Hillbrick, the local police have been fantastic and the newspapers, radio and SBS are ready to give the race plenty of promotion. The race, which started back in 1902, has a rich history and Hillbrick is confident that the high standards of the race can return. "Previously the race was run as a handicap, but this year it will be a teams event with A and B grade," he said. "It will keep it more compact, which will make it easier for the police and safer for the cyclists. "The plan is to eventually get the race back to exactly how it was run, but we need to get it going first."
There are financial benefits for Goulburn as well - "realistically, if 200 odd people come to Goulburn for the race and stay in hotels, eat and fill up their cars with petrol I hope that around $30,000 will be injected into the local economy," Hillbrick said. In the first year Hillbrick is hoping to secure at least 100 riders, or 20 teams of five, but said it would be possible to surpass that mark. "With the event being in teams it makes it more viable for businesses to get involved and sponsor a team," he said.
"We have a five year plan set up, and we have the towns right behind us. I have spoken to Anthony Cole and Phil Bushell from the Goulburn Cycle Club and they see it as essential that we get the race up and going again." When the race does leave Goulburn it will head up the Hume Highway, before leaving it at Berrima, running through the back of Mittagong, over Catherine Hill, down through Bargo and Tahmoor, with two laps of Razorback for a finish in the town of Camden, covering a total of 170 kilometres.