With a new naming rights partner The Lexus of Blackburn Bay Classic or the ‘Bay Crits’ as it is affectionately known, has been the event that kicks off the cycling year for more than 27 years.
Race Director and Event Founder, John Trevorrow said that he realises how important the series is to Australian cyclists and it’s fantastic that we have been able to breath new life into the iconic event with a fabulous new sponsor in Lexus of Blackburn.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ryan family who have been the naming rights partner of the Bay Classic for nearly 20 years and am pleased to announce that, although they have passed the baton on to Lexus of Blackburn, they are staying on as a major partner.
The Bay Classic has been an innovator over the years - taking the race to the people was what it is all about. Recognised by National and International participants as the fastest criterium series in the world, the bay Crits have hosted some of the world’s biggest teams such as Spanish powerhouse Once and French team Credit Agricole back when that just didn't happen in Australia. The superstars of Australian cycling cut their teeth in the Bay Crits. Names such as Cadel Evans, Stuart O'Grady, Robbie McEwen, Brad McGee, Baden Cooke and in the women's Kathy Watt, Anna Wilson, Oenone Wood, Rochelle Gilmore and Tracey Gaudry.
In the early days, it was Gary Sutton who showed his class and many may not know this, but the Bay Crits was the only race Phil Anderson ever rode in Australia after he turned professional in 1980 until he retired in 1993. It was also the first event to offer equal prizemoney to women. In more recent times we have seen the rise and rise of Caleb Ewan, who first starred as a 17 year old and Brenton Jones who worked on the event as a youngster, before going on to win the series in 2014. The women’s event has blossomed over recent years with some of the best criterium racing seen anywhere in the world on show right here in Victoria. The quality fields have seen top ladies such as Melissa Hoskins, Chloe Hosking, Gracie Elvin and Italian stars Giorgia Bronzini and Valentina Scandolara take exciting victories.
Events such as the Bay Cycling Classic just don’t happen. It takes a strong team and some quality partners to make a truly great event. The Bay Classic has had that in spades.
“I would like to congratulate the team at GTR Events for helping elevate the race in recent years and to sincerely thank our commercial partners, local council partners and State Government, most who have been with us for many years, and look forward to working with you all again in the coming years”.