Burnie Carnival - IM

Australia, January 1, 2001


American ace heralds Tassie New Year

By Rod Morris

American Olympian Jame Carney celebrated his "apprenticeship" with victory in the time-honoured $7000 Burnie Wheelrace on January 1. Carney, one of America's most decorated track riders, produced a barnstorming finish to pinch the 3000 m handicap title of former winner Robert Wilson (90 m) and ex-Launceston rider Nathan Hodskiss (240 m).

Carney has been competing at the Tasmanian Carnivals for three successive seasons but victory in the major wheels had eluded him, although he had played a large hand in other results over the past 36 months. His only other win in Tasmania was the 2000 Hobart Wheel on the small New Town track.

The American was one of five scratchmen to qualify for the Burnie Wheel final, but his task was made much easier with the blistering turn of pace provided by former World champion Shane Kelly over the first 1000 m. Kelly's ride was one of the best ever seen at Burnie and Carney's ultimate victory was in no small way, due to Kelly.

Earlier in the Carnival series, former Devonport Wheel winner Grant Young became the oldest ever winner of the $12,000 Latrobe Wheel. Young (36) has only recently returned to track racing from a five year layoff, due to injury, lack of interest and a change in employment. But that didn't stop him and his well drilled co-middle markers holding off seven scratchmen in the 3000 m final on December 27. Young had a luxury mark of 210 m and although "touched about" by the handicapper post-race - he didn't care.

"It doesn't matter what I ride off now, I've won what I wanted to," Young said. Young comes from a famous cycling family, with his late father Viv, his uncle Darrell and first cousins Jason and Darren all former winners of major Tasmanian handicap wheelraces.

Scott McGrory and Daniel Cutting filled the minor placings behind Young.

The Carnival actually started at Latrobe on Boxing Day with Sydney Olympic Gold Medallist Brett Aitken winning the 2000 m A.J. Clarke & Sons Handicap before rain shortened the programme. Day one of the carnival was marred by a nasty fall in the last heat of the Latrobe Wheel. Three riders came down with veteran world star Danny Clark the worst casualty with a broken collarbone and ribs. His absence from competing at the remainder of the carnivals robbed organisers of potentially 10,000 spectators.

The Launceston Carnival was not hindered by the climate and 17-year-old West Tamar rider Abram Manion blitzed a star studded field to win the $3000 Launceston Wheelrace over 2000 m. Aitken's fellow gold medallist from Sydney, Scott McGrory repeated his second placing behind Grant Young when he couldn't catch Manion on the line.

The travelling carnival sideshow moved to Devonport on Tasmania's North-West Coast on December 29-30 for two nights of superb action. With running also on the programme, the Devonport Athletic Club attracted 11 Sydney Olympians to Tasmania.

The main wheelrace on night one was the Kym Smoker Memorial Mersey Wheel over 2000 m and carrying $3000 prizemoney. Brett Aitken, who never seems to be out of form, won narrowly from Jame Carney, while local Tasmanian riders Stephen Pearce and Dwayne Crawford dead-heated for third.

With $5000 up for grabs, the Devonport Wheelrace (3000 m) was always going to be a hard fought affair. Seven scratchmen again qualified for the final, but it wasn't till the last 10 m of the race that Matthew Gilmore edged past Stephen Pearce (180 m) to snatch victory. Aitken's form continued to grab third.

Gilmore, born in Belgium but raised in Launceston is torn between two countries and actually has dual citizenship. In Sydney last September, Gilmore rode for Belgium and won a Silver Medal in the Madison. His victory in the Devonport Wheel capped off earlier wins in the Latrobe, Launceston and Burnie wheels and he is one of only four riders to have won "Tasmania's Grand Slam."


More than 25,000 attended the Tasmanian Christmas Series, which was hailed as one of the best on record.

In the scratch races, New South Wales' rider Jeff Hopkins was the most consistent with two wins and a third from six races, although Jame Carney had one win and three seconds and Brett Aitken, one win and three thirds.

Some new stars emerged as well as old faces winning major titles. One of the freshest new faces was that of young Victorian Mark French, who won no less than six races in six days and scored two other minor placings.

Jonathon Clarke - son of former Australian scratchmen Hilton Clarke - showed he will also be a star of the future, while Daniel Newnham (Qld) and Tasmanians John Kingston, Adrian Morrisby, Ron Crawford, Andrew Loft and Mark Jamieson all produced some exciting rides throughout the series.

In the all-girl's racing, there was none more consistent that Rochelle Gilmore, who won five races.


The unofficial prizemoney "Top 10" included the following riders -

$8100 - Grant Young (Tasmania)
$6820 - Jame Carney (USA)
$4995 - Brett Aitken (South Australia)
$3700 - Scott McGrory (Queensland)
$3275 - Matthew Gilmore (Belgium/Tasmania)
$2505 - Abram Manion (Tasmania)
$1925 - Stephen Pearce (Tasmania)
$1895 - Mark French (Victoria)
$1455 - Mike Tillman (USA)
$1425 - Mark Jamieson (Tasmania)

Coming up

While the stars from overseas and interstate have either returned home or headed off to their next racing assignment, the Tasmanian summer track series continues with a number of carnivals:

January 7 - Hobart
January 20 - St Helens
January 26 - Devonport

Tasmania is also yet to stage its 2001 track championships, but most event disciplines will be held throughout January and February.


Australian Paper Lightning Handicap - 1000 m

1 Adam Carter             40 m (1.05.77)
2 Mark French             40 m
3 Laurie Venn             70 m

Betta Milk Handicap - 2000 m

1 Scott McGrory           Scr (2.09.95)
2 Sean Collins            50 m
3 Adam Carter             80 m

Brambles Shipping Burnie Wheel - 3000 m

1 Jame Carney             Scr (3.14.57)
2 Robert Wilson           90 m
3 Nathan Hodskiss         240 m

Scratch Races

A Grade - 5000m

1 Jeff Hopkins
2 Jame Carney
3 Brett Aitken

A Grade - 16000m

1 Sean Collins            19.44.14
2 Mark Renshaw
3 Gareth Atkins

B Grade - 5000m

1 Dave Bailey
2 Bernard Sulzberger
3 Grant Young

C Grade - 5000m

1 Daniel Newnham          7.23.60
2 Laurie Venn
3 Nathan Hodskiss

D Grade - 5000m

1 Brad Davis              7.10.28
2 Jonathon Clarke
3 Jarrod Burr

E Grade - 5000m

1 Daniel House
2 Simon Elliott
3 Ron Crawford

F Grade - 5000m

1 Trevor Innes
2 Aaron Bigham
3 Daniel Clark jnr


Scratch - 2000m

1 Louise Yaxley
2 Rochelle Gilmore
3 Rhana Demarte

Handicap - 2000m

1 Rochelle Gilmore        10 m
2 Tanya Lindenmuth        30 m
3 Belinda Goss            40 m

Results courtesy of Rod Morris/Morris Media