by Pam McKay
CYCLING: Sam Horan described as "a dream come true” his victory in the 50th Rocky Cup on Wheels.
Starting off the 110m mark, the 17-year-old timed his run to victory perfectly in the five-lap final, leaving a quality field in his wake.
Lara Tucker won the women's equivalent, the Capricornia Cup, to make it a Rockhampton double in the main events of the iconic track cycling carnival at the Kenrick Tucker Velodrome.
Horan said he was ecstatic about having his name etched on the Cup alongside some of cycling's big names.
"It sure is an honour. I feel really humbled. There's a lot of good names on here and it's good to be on there as well,” he said, proudly nursing the trophy after the presentation ceremony.
"A lot of years beforehand luck hasn't gone my way mechanically and I've crashed out a few times so it's really rewarding to get it this time.
"It was an exceptional ride from everyone and I'm really pleased with the outcome.
"I've got a lot of people to thank for it. A lot of hard work's gone into it so it's a real dream come true.”
Horan paid tribute to fellow rider Brett Ruff who he said was instrumental in his win.
"I have him to thank for this as well. I got onto his wheel and he really brought me into the race,” he said.
"Considering the sit I had it was a fairly tough race, especially at the start there trying to get the gears going.
"I had to put in the big sprint at the end there and hold it too so I'm just so happy to have got the win.”
Tucker's win was a tribute to her incredible power and endurance.
Starting from scratch, she powered her way through the field to claim her third Capricornia Cup and extend the Tucker family's stranglehold on the event to four consecutive years.
Tucker previously won it in 2014 and 2015, while older sister Brooke took the honours last year.
"It was definitely the hardest race I've ever done because I was going from the gun for five laps,” she said.
"My plan was simple - it was to just go, I really couldn't do anything else.
"Coming into one to go I was feeling it; the lactic acid was definitely there.
"Quinn Cramer did a lot of the work at the front for me so a big thanks to her, she did a really good job.”
Tucker, fresh from her gold medal haul at the under-19 national titles, said she would now enjoy a two-week break before getting back into training.
Another cyclist who won plenty of hearts at the carnival was 69-year-old Ron Hickson, aka the Silver Fox.
The Yeppoon rider achieved his goal of riding in the Cup final on Saturday night despite just weeks before suffering a deflated lung and a broken wing bone on his pelvis in a race crash at the Queensland Masters Track Cycling Championships.
He was determined not to miss the 50th running of the Cup, and he has now been involved in the event for 45 of them - 42 as a rider and three as an official.