The time-honored Melbourne to Warrnambool bike race, founded in 1895, will be immortalised in book form this year.


The Warrnambool Citizens’ Road Race Committee – owner of the classic – has commissioned former race director John Craven to write the event’s history.


The “Warrnambool” will be 120 years old this year, and it will also be its 100th running. It is the world’s second-oldest existing bike race and the Southern Hemisphere’s longest one-day classic.


Craven, a former journalist with the Geelong Advertiser, Launceston Examiner and Melbourne Herald, was the classic’s director for 17 years – from 1996-2012, and is still a WCRRC member.


He is the founder and managing director of Caribou Publications and Events, established in 1980.


The idea for a book on the classic’s fascinating history originally came from the late Tony Wilkinson, a Radio 3YB staff member and long-time enthusiastic WCRRC stalwart.


WCRRC president Brendan Gleeson said his committee was thrilled and excited that a quality book on the classic’s history was to become a reality.


“We talked about this project for years and Tony Wilkinson was the driving force before his untimely passing. He would be over the moon to know it is finally happening,” Mr. Gleeson said.


John Craven said it was an honor to be asked to write the book.


“The pressure is on to have it published for this year’s 100th running in October, but I have been overwhelmed by the assistance I have received from cycling historians and enthusiasts Australia-wide. Some of the tales, especially of the early races, are incredible,” Craven said.


“If ever I needed proof that the ‘Warrnambool’ is still Australia’s best-loved bike race, I’ve got it since word has circulated about the book.


“I don’t want to write just a tedious historical document. This book will be full of anecdotes, and will be as much about losers as winners. I want people to enjoy it.”



























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