2001 Results Results Photography History Past winners
By Karen Forman In Melbourne
Tasmanian Darren Young rode from scratch to wrench the 2002 Bicycle Superstore Austral Wheelrace out of the strong hands of some very esteemed rivals in the fastest 2000m handicap time yet recorded on the boards of Melbourne's Vodafone Arena, tonight.
The 26-year-old from Davenport, who has recently moved to Melbourne to concentrate his training on point scores and madisons, beat fellow Tasmanian Andrew Loft (140m), two times Olympic gold medallist Shane Kelly from South Australia (scratch) and Kial Stewart (30) of the ACT to win Australia's oldest and most distinguished wheel race in front of a near capacity, wildly cheering crowd.
It was something of a disappointing result for Kelly, however, who had been given 5/2 odds by bookmakers and was ready for a win after consistent seconds in the recent Forges Stores and Leongatha wheel races.
An elated and obviously surprised Young said on the podium he had found the race an especially tough one.
"This was my first Austral and I came out and won it," he said. "And to come out and win it with people like Shane Kelly there ... that was even better. I never expected this. Not tonight, anyway."
Young, no stranger to decent wheel race results in Tasmania (he has won all but one of the big name events) had slipped into the final with a third place in the seventh of the eight Austral heats, behind Footscray rider Joel Leonard (30m) and Stewart.
The quickest yet of the heats - it was run in 2.09.716 - it had represented something of an elite gathering, pitting world keirin champion Ryan Bayley against visiting USA rider Mike Tillman and Skilled Geelong Bay Classic B grade stage winner Sean Finning, just 16 years of age.
"I have never seen upmarkers so organized," announcer Stewart Doyle told the increasingly excited crowd.
Had the heat been a little longer, it might have gone to World keirin champion Ryan Bayley from Western Australia, who performed a colossal turn of pace, showing incredible form as he pulled the backmarkers forward with his distinctive, slow to wind-up but fast pedaling, style.
It was Bayley who led the back bunch through the leaders once the group became one, only to be pipped close to the post by Young, who flew around the outside with Kial Stewart and Leonard.
Having had such a close run in his heat, Young hadn't rated himself a chance in the final.
"Two years ago I would have said, yes, that maybe I was a chance," he said, on the podium. "But now I am in training for the madison and pointscore and am looking at different things."
He conceded that maybe he had been a little more confident at the start, "but not with 20 metres to go".
"I knew Shane (Kelly) was there all the time, then with 100 to go I saw him creeping up. After that I gave myself no chance at all. It was very hard to get onto his wheel."
Riders were spread from scratch, shared by Young and Kelly, out to the 220 metre mark occupied by Shepparton rider, Glen Bush, but within seconds of the gun, they had organized themselves into three hard-working groups.
With four laps to go they were two groups; then came the smooth-as-silk team time trial of Leonard, last year's winner Mark French, Stewart, Young and Kelly.
Chelsea and Peninsula Cycling Club rider David Coultas, riding off 100 metres, flew around the outside with two laps to go, gaining two lengths on Loft, who had been leading.
Then, in a flash of the eyes as the field passed the post, Young emerged the winner.
"To have won the Austral - wow!" he said. "Obviously it is the biggest race. I have joined all the greats - like Stephen Pate."
Maybe it was just the next obvious step. As he said, he has won every other major wheel race in Tasmania, apart from Latrobe. And there were his World Cup and Goodwill Games appearances to add credit.
He will follow his Austral success with a bid for the upcoming madisons - with American partner Jamie Kearns at Bendigo and newly crowned Victorian madison champ Brett Aitken at the Australian championships at Vodafone in a fortnight.
Action and atmosphere
The Austral final was the highlight, but the event was still just one part of an action-packed night that kept its all-important crowd entertained with Australian record attempts, trick BMX riding displays and the presentation of life membership by Cyclesport Victoria to Ian "Dusty" Hay.
It was made all the more atmospheric with the addition of a European style in-field dining facility on a raised stage inside the track and a much appreciated bar.
The action was on from the start of the night. In the first event, the Australian Abalone Exports Victorian M 19 scratch race (60 laps), this meant a crash involving four riders - Andrew Rix of Bendigo, Ron Crawford of Tasmania, Dylan Newell of Brunswick and Brad O'Nial of Echuca-Moama.
Nobody was seriously hurt and Sean Finning of Castlemaine was the winner.
The Mavic Olympic Sprint was fast and furious between eventual winners Ryan Bayley, Darren Young and Jobie Dajka and their opponents Shane Kelly, Shaun Collins and Kial Stewart.
With both teams relatively evenly matched, the team led by World Keirin Champion Bayley gathered momentum on the last lap, with Bayley's famous long wind up in a small gear gelling in time for the line.
The first heat of the Austral was very fast. It was won by Richard England of St Kilda Cycling Club off 120m after he set the pace most of the way, with Peter Trigar of Brunswick off 150 second and Jerard Glennon of Warnambool getting up from 155 to win his way into the final in third place.
The second heat was even quicker - 2.12.185. Here the backmarkers got up quickly - David Coultas off 100m, Brad O'Nial off 180 and Ian Smith off 210.
It was, however, an unfortunate finish for Carnegie rider Andrew Shannon, who hit the boards after crossing the line, losing some skin and injuring his shoulder and requiring some treatment from ambulance officers.
He was wheeled off on a trolley with painkillers and a sling on his left arm.
The third heat happened in 2.12.743 and was a case of the backmarkers getting up early. Hamish Taylor of Northcote made a break with two to go but was swallowed up by the three placegetters who finished ahead of the bunch, together.
A commendable ride by Queensland visitor James Schneider, who pushed hard but couldn't quite get into the top three as he had hoped.
The fourth heat was the fastest so far, raced in 2.10.591.
Here, three groups became two then finally one with Damien Kierl breaking away with two to go and holding a good lead to win his way to the final ahead of Brett Richardson off 205 and Glen Bush of Shepparton off 220.
In the fifth heat, Colin Morris (off 210) took the lead of the race, with three groups jostling for supremacy behind him.
Decker did a good turn of pace, after getting up from 60 metres and forcing the pace.
With two to go, Adrian Morrisby (170) attacked and tried to keep the back markers away, with Decker trying hard to close the gap. The race was won by Morrisby in 2.12.478.
Cameron Wise off 190 was second and Decker off 60, third.
The sixth heat had last year's winner Mark French of Carnegie off 30 metres - the furthest out.
Backmarkers worked strongly together, well organized and appearing threatening. A touch of four wheels almost had the bunch down in the frontmarkers, but Laurie Noonan had other ideas. French was the only backmarker to get through.
In a tight finish, the winner was Tasmanian Brendon Geale in 2.13.090, ahead of Daniel Cutting of Tasmania off 50, with French slipping into third place.
Heat eight saw four-times world champion Shane Kelly pitted against rising young speedster sprint champ Jobie Dajka and twice Junior world champion Jason Niblett, who was looking strong.
With four laps to go, Tasmanian Nathan Hodskiss led the field, inspiring memories of an Austral win by his brother won the race a few years ago.
The question of most watcher's minds at this stage was, will Kelly be handicapped out of it?
He was starting to go with two to go, but 17 year old Sanderson also looked strong. He flew around the outside, with Kelly on his tail, racing to the line.
It was a dynamic race, won by Kelly in 2.09.780 ahead of Nicholas Sanderson and Andrew Loft.
Cyclists International's Austral night attracted a very strong women's field.
Appearing for the first time in months in the Malvern Star Womens scratch race of 15 laps was Olympic medallist Michelle Ferris, along with Narelle Peterson, the first Australian woman to clinch a world junior championship, who is making a comeback this season, and the sister of keirin champion Ryan Bayley, Kristine, who has been showing that whatever big brother can do, so can she, around the tracks of late.
Ferris led the pack out from the bell with a strong Bayley on her wheel, but was too strong, winning in 5.09.41 - the fastest scratch race seen here for women for some time.
Equally exciting was the Giant Bicycles Aces Sprint Derby, finalized in an incredible time of 10.968.
Ryan Bayley held first position throughout the event and managed to hold off attacks from Kelly and Dajka - who came through to fight wheel for wheel in the final lap - to win by half a wheel.
The Aces Keirin Final produced a long awaited win for Kelly, ahead of Dajka and Gavin White, pushing out Bayley, who had been in great form throughout the night.
By Karen Forman.
Former Olympic road race champion, Kathy Watt, was also in the thick of the action and captured some great photos inside the Vodafone Arena during the Austral.
1 Australian Abalone Exports Victorian M19 Scratch Race (60 laps) 1 Sean Finning (Castlemaine Cycling Club) 19.16.590 2 Nicholas Sanderson (Ararat) 3 Brad Norton (Shepparton) 4 Dwayne Smith (Tasmania) 2 Cinelli Points - elimination race (20 laps) 1 Brett Richardson 2 Neil Peart (Carnegie) 3 Ian Smith (Carnegie) 4 Justin Leske (Port Fairy) 3 Carnac Shoes Points - Elimination race (20 laps) 1 Adrian Morrisby 6.22.394 2 Graeme O'Neill 3 Colin Morris (Footscray) 4 Graeme O'Neill ( Ararat) 4 Mavic Olympic Sprint (3 laps) 1 Ryan Bayley, Darren Young, Jobie Dajka 2 Shane Kelly, Shaun Collins, Kial Stewart 5 Alchemy Bikes Aces Elimination 1 Todd Wilksch (Bendigo) 2 Tim Decker (Bendigo) 3 Robert Wilson (Footscray) 4 Mike Tillman (USA) 6 Malvern Star Women's Scratch Race (15 laps) 1 Michelle Ferris (Warnambool) 5.09.41 2 Kristine Bayley (WA) 3 Catherine Allen (Blackburn) 7 Diamond Back Bikes Invitational M17 elimination 1 Shane Perkins (Carnegie) 3.16.020 2 Patrick Shaw (Ballarat/Sebastopol) 8 Giant Bicycles Aces Sprint Derby (4 laps) 1 Ryan Bayley (WA) 10.968 2 Jobie Dajka 3 Shane Kelly 3 Shaun Collins 9 Bicycle Superstore Austral Wheelrace Heat One (eight laps) 1 Richard England (St Kilda) 120m 2.13.642 2 Peter Trigar (Brunswick) 150m 3 Jerard Glennon (Warnambool) 155m Heat Two 1 David Coultas (Chelsea) 100m 2.12.185 2 Brad O'Nial (Echuca-Moama) 180m 3 Ian Smith (Carnegie) 210m Heat Three 1 Cameron Lester (St Kilda) 110m 2.12.743 2 Graeme O'Neill (Ararat) 170 3 Mark Bourjau (St Kilda) 210 Heat Four 1 Damien Kierl (Ballarat) 205m 2.10.591 2 Brett Richardson 205 3 Glen Bush (Shepparton) 220 Heat Five 1 Adrian Morrisby (Tas) 170 2.12.473 2, Cameron Wise Wise (Carnegie) 190 3 Tim Decker (Bendigo) 60 Heat Six 1 Brendon Geale (Tas) 105 2.13.090 2 Daniel Cutting (Tas) 50 3 Mark French (Carnegie) 30 Heat Seven 1 Joel Leonard (Footscray) 40 2.09.716 2 Kial Stewart (ACT) 30 3 Darren Young (Tas) scr Heat Eight 1 Shane Kelly (Stawell-Great Western) scr 2.09.780 2 Nicholas Sanderson (Ararat) 55 3 Andrew Loft (Tas) 140 10 Norco Australian Record Attempt (3 laps for Flying 200m) Shane Perkins 11.730 - new Australian record 11 Bicycling Superstore Austral Wheelrace Final 1 Darren Young (Tas) 2.06.556 2 Andrew Loft 3 Shane Kelly 4 Kial Stewart 12 Berns Beak Bike Racks Invitational M17 Scratch Race (10 laps) 1 Shaun Morris (Sheparton) 3.24.167 2 Patrick Shaw (Ballarat) 3 Ashley Braszell (Ballarat) 13 Victorian State Home Loans Aces Keirin Heat One 1 Jobie Dajka (SA) 11.6.41 2 Jason Biblett (Horsham) 3 John Kennedy (Carnegie) Heat two 1 Ryan Bayley (WA) 11.192 2 Gavin White (Brentwood Cobram) 3 Joel Leonard (Footscray) Heat three 1 Shane Kelly (SGW) 11.446 2 Kial Stewart (ACT) 3 Shaun Collins (Carnegie) 14 Michelin Tyres Points - elimination race (25 laps) 1 Paul Atkinson (Tas) 7.41.221 2 Glen Hutchinson (Footscray) 3 Andrew Swatton (Bendigo) 4 James Atkinson (Tas) 15 Victorian State Home Loans Aces Keirin Final (six laps) 1 Shane Kelly 11.086 2 Jobie Dajka 3 Gavin White 4 Ryan Bayley 16 Netti Women/W19 handicap (6 laps) 1 Kristine Bayley (WA) scr 1.50.543 2 Tiffany Godnrey (GLW) scr 3 Jessica Berry (Bendigo) 150 17 Vittoria Tyres Aces Scratch Race (25 laps) 1 Todd Wilksch (Bendigo) 20 7.37.346 2 Darren Young (Tas) 3 Mike Tillman (USA)
The first Austral Wheel Race was organised in 1887 by the Melbourne Bicycle Club. The race was run over a distance of 3 miles (4800 metres) and was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It had a first prize of a grand piano valued at 200 pounds (Sterling). Today it is Australia's oldest and most distinguished wheel race.
Other Melbourne venues to host the "Austral" have been the Exhibition Track, the North Essendon Board Track, the Olympic Park Velodrome and the Brunswick, Coburg and Northcote velodromes.
The 1901 event gained notoriety when the American, "Plugger" Bill Martin won from scratch, amid cries from the Press of alleged race fixing involving the infamous Melbourne identity, John Wren.
The massive amount of 1050 Sovereigns was the allocated prize money for the 1902 event. However, the Austral wasn't always a great success story. One of its lowest points came in the late 1970's, when just $1500 was on offer.
There was a resurgence in 1982 when the prize money was lifted to $5000 plus sponsors products.
The present level of prize money has now exceeded $18,000 at recent stagings of this prestigious wheelrace.
Many famous names appear on the "Austral" honour roll. World Champions, Gordon Johnson (1973) and Steele Bishop (1982) ,both had the distinction of winning from scratch. Jack Fitzgerald won from scratch in 1922. Tassie Johnson (1944) won from 30 yards. The great Sid Patterson (1962 and1964) and Laurie Venn (1979 and 1981) have both won the event twice from scratch.
Tasmanian, Danny Clark, has had three wins off the scratch mark, in 1977, 1986 and 1990 However, the record now belongs to the consistent Victorian all rounder, Stephen Pate with four victories, in 1988 from scratch, in 1991 from -10 metres, in 1993 from -20 metres and his most recent 1999 win, from scratch.
In 2000, Gary Neiwand one of Australia's greatest sprinters, was liberally handicapped on 70 metres for the millennium edition of the event, and won comfortably.
1887 H. Lambton 210 (Yards) 1888 Dick Davis Scr 1889 J. Mullins 140. 1890 Tom Busst Scr. 1891 Arthur Turner 240 1892 H. Lambton 200 1893 Gordon Woodward 270 1894 Alf Middleton 180 1895 A. Crisp 250 1896 Charles Kellow 15 1897 Jim Carpenter 85 1898 Tom Finnigan 220 1899 Frank Beauchamp 150 1900 Charles Forbes 30 1901 Bill Martin Scr 1902 Murray Auger 240 1903 Fred Scheps 160 1904 Jack Clarke 150 1905 J. Sandberg 170 1906 Harry Thomas 20 1907 A.C. Colvin 60 1908 M. McPherson 150 1909 A. H. Piano 40 1910 Frank Corry 140 1912 W. Priestly 60 1913 P.B. Henry 60 1920 Ern. Tamme 50 1921 Lou Clifford 120 1922 Jack Fitzgerald Scr 1923 Dick Ford 120 1923 Pidge Davis 200 1925 Frank Corry 140 1925 Eric Giboud 60 1927 Bowie Stevens 70 1927 Cecil Hannerman 160 1927 Cecil Manners 245 1929 H. "Fatty" Lamb 30 1936 Keith Thurgood 100 1936 Harry Webb 70 1937 Jack Gardiner 205 1938 Jack Middleton 120 1939 Clinton Beasley 90 1940 Norm Stevens 20 1941 Ken Stewart 60 1942 Mick Bradley 160 1944 Norm Munro 90 1944 Tas. Johnson 30 1945 Tom Shillito 160 1946 Pat Devine 120 1947 George Bull 130 1948 Bill Kirkham 120 1950 Byron Bonney 120 1951 Kevin Marion 105 1952 Doug Jennings 120 1953 Tom Fitzgerald 140 1954 Alan Geddes 130 1955 Ron Murray 100 1956 Don Meharg 130 1957 John Robertson 100 1958 Neil Geraghty 100 1959 Vin Beasley 100 1960 David Good 100 1961 Fred Roche 40 1962 Sid Patterson Scr. 1963 Fred Hellyer 110 1964 Sid Patterson Scr. 1965 Kenton Smith 135 1966 Bill Dove 150 1967 Vic Browne 65 1968 Merv. Andrea 230 1969 Charlie Walsh 50 1970 Bill Stevens 35 1971 Frank Daly 135 1972 Geoff Edmonds 20 1973 Gordon Johnson Scr. 1974 Ivan Collings 90 1975 Craig Price 130 1976 David Allan 70 1977 Danny Clark Scr. 1978 David Sanders 50 (Metres) 1979 Laurie Venn Scr. 1980 Daryl Benson 90 1981 Laurie Venn Scr. 1982 Steele Bishop Scr. 1983 Phil. Sawyer Scr. 1984 Terry Schintler 80 1985 Allan Rackstraw 80 1986 Danny Clark Scr. 1987 Simon King 110 1988 Stephen Pate Scr. 1989 Grant Reynolds 150 1990 Danny Clark Scr. 1991 Stephen Pate Minus 10 1992 Bert Glennon 120 1993 Stephen Pate Minus 20 1994 Ashley Harding 140 1995 Tony Hughes 80 1996 Troy Clarke 45 1997 Matthew Atkins 100 1998 Shane Hodskiss 75 1999 Stephen Pate Scr. 2000 Gary Neiwand 70 2001 Mark French 80