DARCY Woolley yesterday paid tribute to Port Fairy legend Graham Woodrup in the best-possible way — by winning the race named in his honour.
The Mortlake scratchman claimed his second Graham Woodrup Memorial in three years with a fast finish to the 75-kilometre handicap around Toolong.
Mount Gambier’s Sean Angus, off five minutes, and Portland’s Brett Creasey, off seven minutes, filled the podium.
The win, in one hour, 36 minutes and two seconds, came two years after Woolley scored a breakthrough triumph in the race in 2012.
The Port Fairy Cycling Club member also claimed fast-time honours in 2013 — a year scratch couldn’t reel in the outmarkers.
“The Woody is always a race as a Port Fairy club member you want to win,” he said.
“He’s done a lot for the community and the club as well. He’s famous for doing a lot of ks in the district. To win his memorial race is a privilege.
“I started here as a junior in under 17s. You heard about Woody in the first week you were racing.
“He means a lot to the club. It’s good to be out there racing against Kate (Winnen) his daughter and Mark (Winnen) his son-in-law.”
Woolley, 20, said he was part of a 10-rider scratch group yesterday which caught the bunches ahead of them with three kilometres to go.
He received a perfect lead out from Melbourne rider Jay Phillpotts before moving off his wheel and into clear space near the line.
“We had a pretty strong scratch group. It wasn’t until the last 10 kilometres that we started to bring everyone back together,” he said.
“We brought back about six minutes in the last 10 (kilometres). We were very lucky we had a good group that was working well together.”
Woolley is leading the Victorian Road Series and will turn his focus back to state and national racing commitments.
He said he was “starting to come into some form” and credited director sportif Joel Pearson and coach Andy Graham for his improvement.
“I’m starting to win at state level now. Hopefully I can win at NRS (National Road Series) level in a few years,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mount Gambier’s Ashley Herrewyn won Warrnambool Cycling Club’s Glen Cook Memorial on Saturday in a bunch sprint to the finish.
Herrewyn, riding off four minutes, pipped Creasey and Craig Taylor, both from the 10-minute bunch, to take the honours.
Woolley, riding off scratch, took fastest time honours completing the 62-kilometre handicap in one hour, 17 minutes and seven seconds. First woman and fourth place overall was Portland’s Shannon Malseed.
Warrnambool Cycling Club president Barry Warren said it was a fantastic race, with scratch putting pressure on the early bunches.