Pigs Halt Launceston-Hobart Race

Snowy Eales, Launceston to Hobart Bike Race 1925.


ONE of the highlights of Tasmanian cycling has been cancelled this year, for the first time in its 111-year history.

Organiser Ray Slater said the Launceston City Cycling Club had to call the $7000 Launceston-Hobart race off after Tasmania Police refused permission to race on the Midland Highway.

Mr Slater has been the race’s driving force since 1972, putting in about 100 hours of his time each year — while his tax accountancy business has donated prize money of $1000 a race.

Mr Slater, 78, said his unsuccessful battle with Tasmania Police to secure a permit this year caused him nightmares.

“It hurt very much when they said no,” he said.

Mr Slater said permits had been harder to come by since a fatal North-West Coast accident, involving a truck and young cyclist in 2004.

He said former police commissioner Richard McCreadie issued a permit last year but less senior employees had been less sympathetic this year.

Mr Slater said draft guidelines borrowed from NSW did not allow races on 110km/h highway sections, unless there were extenuating circumstances. He said his argument, that the race’s history was an extenuating circumstance, got nowhere.

He said that to his knowledge no Launceston-Hobart competitor had suffered an incident involving a motor vehicle.

He said he had offered to shorten the route to Brighton and switch the race day to AFL grand final day, when roads were quieter, to no avail.

He said he was determined to get the race up again next year.

“I will become a politician if I have to,” he said.

Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Tom Tully yesterday confirmed that cycle race guidelines excluded race permits on 110km/h roads.

Mr Tully said his department understood the race had “considerable history but is of the view that the safety issues associated with conducting a race for 25-50 cyclists over the length of the Midland Highway outweighs those considerations”.

“The guidelines were designed to maximise the safety of cyclists and other road users during a race and were adopted after consultation with the cycling fraternity in Tasmania,” he said

Note: I think it show’s poor vision on the part of the Police Force. This race has a long history and it’s worth remembering that the cyclists plying this route have been doing so for 111 years.. that’s just a few longer than the cars. Drop the speed limit to 100km for the day Commissioner Tulley? >:(

Author: Ben

Bicycle Hobo

4 thoughts on “Pigs Halt Launceston-Hobart Race”

  1. The cops here hate bike riders. Look at the big show they put on of escorting the Big Ride across the bridge – I remember one year they refused permission for that too. Imagine that, taxpayers using public facilities. They should run it as an alleycat! Pigs indeed.

  2. I am very disappointed that Mr Ray Slater had committed his services to the race and had this happen. I myself had a short career with Tasmania Police. I left because they told me to concentrate on the job, and to pursue the career. I resigned within 24 hours. 1969, I went in the next morning and said my intention was to be a cyclist. I still ride with great joy today after 7 yrs of racing . 47 years ofcycling And i love this recreation as much now as I did then. I remember Ray Slater in 1970 wining The Launceston Cycling race. I have fond memories of reading about Rays wins, fastest times in his races. I am sure at such bold age of 80 years Ray made it. So sad to think that this decision by Tasmania Police to ban the event may have contributed to Rays departure. What a glorious life he had.

  3. Ray Slater, Launceston to Hobart Cycle Race 1970. It was a calm sunny day in 1970. My family were keen to see the finish of this great event. In a strong performance Ray Slater rode boldly across the finish line to take the 1st place and fastest time honour in about 5.5 hrs he had averaged nearly 24 mph (35 kph). There was a distinct resemblance to a pioneer of cycling in Australia. Russell Mockridge. In those days if you were as good as Ray was, you would be deamed a Champion. Today we say a similar word Legend. With Ray Slaters name always in the Examiner Newspaper. And also mentioned In a National Agricultural paper The Weekly Times. Good bye to a true Champion and some one who was a Legend. Ray Slater.

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