ILLAWARRA cyclist Zac Marshall produced a brilliant performance to make his return home to Wagga a winning one with victory in the Golden Wheel.
The teenage sensation left Wagga as a nine-year-old but has returned home every year for the city’s Golden Wheel Track Carnival.
Marshall described it as one of the best wins of his blossoming career when he started off scratch and reeled in the entire field to take out Saturday night’s feature race in front of a big crowd.
“It’s probably one of my best, really,” Marshall said.
“I’ve been to the Wagga race every year and seen some of the greats like Ben Kersten win the race, who I’ve looked up to ever since.
“So to come back to my old home town and win the race was pretty special.”
Marshall, 17, had to qualify through the repechage after missing out in his heat.
With the front-marker in the final off 300 metres, Marshall caught the main group with a lap and a half remaining and finished strongly to win by over a bike length.
“It was really hectic getting through the main group,” he said.
Jason Farr, who started off 100m, finished second, while Kurt Eather (30m) was third. Myles Stewart was the first of the six Wagga riders to finish.
Top Canadian sprinter Lizanne Wilmot won the women’s Wheel race, from Kalinda Robinson and Eliza Bennett.
The Golden Wheel combined with the NSW State Penny Farthing Championships and NSW Country Track Championships for a huge weekend of cycling in Wagga.
Wagga cycling club official Paul Wright said the weekend’s racing proved a resounding success.
“It was massive, just fantastic,” Wright said.
“There was a huge crowd, the biggest crowd I’ve seen there.
“The penny farthings went down a treat, the racing was good and it was a great atmosphere.
“The noise from the crowd, I haven’t heard anything like it. It was electric.”