More than 100 cyclists and even more spectators maintained appropriate social distancing as cycling returned to racing at Symmons Plains on Saturday.
Perfect weather and some top-class criterium racing across all grades resulted in an ideal return for the sport.
Being the eagerly-awaited first open race back, it proved hotly-contested with riders testing their form after a coronavirus-induced stint of indoor virtual racing and training.
The senior racing opened with a huge C and D grade field which started fast and didn't let up.
Averaging nearly 40km/hr over 45 minutes, the in-form Clint Wightman (C) from Devonport took the top step from Launceston's former junior track world champion Lauren Perry (D) and under-17 Sam Mckee. Other places included Josh Duggan and Campbell Palmer, second and third in C grade, and Hayden Van Der Ploeg filling out third in D grade.
A solid E-grade race contested at above 35 km/hr saw Nick Lawrence lead home Keith Gibson and Adam Clayton, all of Launceston.
The A and B grades combined with all keen to see how all the indoor training would translate to the first real outdoor race in almost six months.
With many elite level riders eager to test their legs and heads in real time, the result was some exciting racing with breakaways, solo efforts and chases which all came back together until the last lap when the group split in two.
The lone rabbit they were chasing was Hobart's Matt Byrne who had been dangling out the front for some time in a valiant effort. However, the bunch was just too fast and Launceston's Josh Duffy showed he had lost none of his form with a furious long-range sprint.
In second place was Burnie's Dalton Stretton with Byrne taking third for his efforts.
Callum Fagg claimed B-grade honours followed closely by Paul McKenzie and Connor Galvin-Ridge.
F grade produced an average speed close to 35km/hr as riders shared the workload.
A fast finish put Hobart's Michael Loedeman on the top step, followed by under-17 new-comer Mia Brown, of Launceston, and the ever-reliable Tony Savage.
Numbers were high and quality of racing even higher in the junior ranks.
A hotly-contested under-13 field split apart early, largely due to Thomas Blazley, Caleb Mckenzie and newcomer Gus Challis who claimed the honours.
Under-15s were in a similar position with an early split led by the eventual place-getters of Lachlan Oliver (Launceston), Alex Eaves (Burnie) and Hobart's Dylan Rogers.
Rounding out the juniors were Sid Natera, who took first in the under-11 category, and female winners Julia Whighton (under-13) and Meika Derrico (under-15).
The next race will be the deferred state time trial championships for seniors and juniors in a fortnight at Meander.