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Sid Patterson Grand Prix - IM
Vodafone Arena, Melbourne, Australia, February 28, 2004
Fitting winners honour track legend "Patto"
By Mal Sawford in Melbourne
The Sid Patterson Grand Prix, and the Champion of Champions Wheelrace, is held in honour of arguably Australia's greatest ever track cyclist. Sid Patterson won four World Championships in events ranging from the Sprint to Pursuit, a feat unmatched by any other cyclist. "Patto" also won every major Wheelrace across Australia, including the prestigious Austral twice from Scratch, and a number of Six-Day races, including the Paris Six, with partners Russell Mockridge and Roger Arnold in a career spanning over 30 years.
Fittingly, the two main races of the carnival were won by undisputed champions of today and the future, with Todd Wilksch (Fitzroy Cycles) claiming the Sid Patterson Wheelrace, and sixteen year old Daniel Thorsen (Drapac Property - Porsche) taking out the Champion of Champions Race.
Sid Patterson Wheelrace
Australian Wheelraces traditionally feature a number of heats, with place winners qualifying for the final. To recognize Patterson's all-round abilities, no heats are held for the Sid Patterson Wheelrace, but rather riders qualify for the final by finishing in the top five in a Points, Elimination or Scratch Race.
The Elimination Race was the Aces' qualifier for the Wheelrace, and Todd Wilksch continued his dominance in the format, surviving an early scare to take the win ahead of Brad Norton (Drapac Property - Porsche), David Pell (HPM Electrics) and former World Team Pursuit Champion Christian Lademann (Team MG-ZT) - who was less than impressed with Wilksch's physical riding style.
Carl Cubitt (Ausivelo.com) was one of the pre-race favorites thanks to his recent good from, and looked the goods early in the B Grade Points Race, before crashing out while leading. Jamie Goddard (Le Tour Cycles) rode away from the field to claim the final two sprints to take the win, with Cubitt's early efforts enough to see him into the final.
In a much closer affair, Simon Barkla took out the C grade points race, with the other four qualifiers only separated after a countback. Veteran Chris Hunt (Kennedy Cycle Fit) was a clear winner of the D Grade Scratch Race.
Ridden as a group handicap over six laps, the final saw the Limit riders off to a good start, led by first year senior Bill Prosser. As expected, the back markers also combined well, with Lademann, David Pell and Tim Decker doing strong turns. The two middle groups took longer to get organized, with Travis Hull leading off so quickly that Cubitt was unable to hold his wheel. The outmarkers survived until three laps to go, when Goddard and Ben Jackson (SBR) made contact. Hunt sensed the rush coming from behind, and led out with a lap and half remaining with Goddard quick to follow, but they were no match for the finishing burst from the 'backies', with Norton and Wilksch flying past down the back straight, setting up Wilksch for a crowd pleasing win.
Wilksch had been unsure of his form leading into the carnival, after missing the Leongatha Wheelrace a fortnight earlier after a three year old appendectomy scar became infected, and was pleased to pull off the win. "it was very important to win - I've heard a lot about Sid, and it's a real honor to win." When asked about his chances in the Champions Wheelrace, he was hoping to do well but rated Joel Leonard and Daniel Thorsen as the riders to watch.
Champion of Champions Wheelrace
As the name implies, the field for the Champion of Champions Wheelrace is made up of the winners and placegetters from the major Victorian Wheelraces. Wilksch was the lone Scratch man, giving away 150 metres to the out marker, Shepparton's Scott Peoples, over the 1500 meter journey.
Wilksch found the going tough early, and had only Joel Leonard to work with in the opening laps, but continued to chase hard. Big Jeremy McLay, riding from 120 metres, had what appeared to be an uncharacteristically slow start before getting up to speed, but once wound up found that the other outmarkers were unable to hold his wheel.
McLay led by twenty metres with four of the six laps to travel, and once he realized his opportunity set sail for home as best he could, having pulled a foot at the start - the reason for his sluggish takeoff. At the bell, his lead was out to fifty metres, and an upset looked likely, before Thorsen showed the speed that won him two medals at the Junior Worlds in 2003, and three other Wheelrace titles this season. Tommy Nankervis (Fitzroy Cycles), a former protégé of Patto's and a previous winner of the Sid Patterson Wheelrace took second in a photo finish from Adrian Sansonetti (BT), a fading McLay and Wilksch.
With the endurance riders preparing for the Bendigo Madison and the Australian Madison Championships, and internationals Lademann, Weispfennig and Kouji Yoshi on the start line, the traditional 25 lap final scratch race was run at such a high pace, that regular contenders Wilksch and Leonard lost contact around the half way mark.
Sean 'The Castlemaine Flyer' Finning attacked after only four laps, and was quickly joined by Matt Heath (Giramondo Sportswear). The pair quickly opened a lead of almost half a lap which they held for ten laps, before Weispfennig upped the tempo with a three lap effort that spelled the end for the break. As the gap dwindled, Finning left Heath and continued on alone with five laps remaiming, before eventually succumbing with a little over a lap remaining. Decker took up the running a lap from home, while Thorsen made his move from way back round the outside and looked to have the race won before running out of steam. Decker battled on to claim the win, ahead of Pell and Lademann.
Decker and Weispfennig also featured in a 25 lap Derny race, which saw the lead change may times at speeds over 70kmh. Both riders agreed to use a 96" gear "to keep things interesting", and it was Weispfennig who came out on top, taking the lead for good with four laps remaining and resisting the final acceleration from a desperate Decker.
The Victorian Kierin Championships were held during the carnival, and after the three heats were run an impressive final field assembled. With speedsters like Shaun Hopkins (Raceline), former Junior World Champion Jason Niblett (Giramondo), Leonard and Wilksch on the line, it was little wonder than an impressive time of 10.73 was recorded in the dash to the line. After laying off Leonard in the final lap, Wilksch flew home, keeping Hopkins on his hip and snatching the win at the line with a perfectly timed throw to deny Leonard the win.
Shane Perkins and Daniel Thorsen are both aiming at representing Australia at the Junior Worlds for the second time, and ahead of next weeks State Titles raced a Sprint Match. While Thorsen showed his all round abilities in the Wheelraces, he had no answer for the pure speed of Perkins, who took the match is straight heats.
In a six-up Derby, New South Wales rider Hopkins looked impressive, but it was Niblett who came out on top, benefiting from the slipstream behind Damien Kierl. Kierl was riding with a broken wrist, and was unable to put in 100%, but still proved more than competitive.
Jessica Tanner dominated Women's racing, winning all three sprints in the Handicap Points Race, to make light work of her eight point handicap. The motorpace provided more of the same, as the promising Under 19 rider, who is partly sponsored by Baden Cooke, rode the bunch off her wheel in the final lap to finish the night undefeated. Apryl Eppinger showed signs of the form that took her to the Junior World's last year, producing a good sprint to finish second to the dominant Tanner.
Images by Shane Goss/Cyclingnews.com/www.licoricegallery.com
Images by Mal Sawford
John Beasley Cycles C Grade Points Race 1 Simon Barkla (Bendigo) 2 Steve Martin Hunt (Latrobe Valley) 3 Sean Pontelandolfo (Bendigo) 4 Toby Glennon (Coburg) 5 Scott Peoples (Shepparton) Lockwood Security Concepts B Grade Points Race 1 Jamie Goddard (Blackburn) 2 Carl Cubitt (Coburg) 3 Ben Jackson (St Kilda) 4 Adrian Salter (Footscray) 5 Travis Hull (Ararat) Drapac Property - Porsche Aces Elimination 1 Todd Wilksch (Horsham) 2 Brad Norton (Shepparton) 3 Joel Leonard (Footscray) 4 Christian Lademann (Germany) 5 Tim Decker (Bendigo) Fortress Extended Automotive Warranties Women's Handicap Points Score 1 Jessica Tanner (Shepparton) 2 Claire Schneider (Queensland) 3 Aimee Howlett (Ararat) 4 Emma Dean (Brunswick) Dairy Farmers Sprint Derby 1 Jason Niblett (Horsham) 2 Shaun Hopkins (NSW) 3 Joel Leonard (Footscray) Cyclists International Match Race 1 Shane Perkins (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 Daniel Thorsen (Shepparton) Fortress Extended Automotive Warranties Under 15/17 Italian Pursuit 1 Front staight Houssaye 2 Back straight Hastwell Ski Yoghurt D Grade Points Race 1 Chris Hunt (Warragul) 2 Lawrie Naughton (Bendigo) 3 Willian Prosser (Carnegie Caulfield) 4 Malcolm Clayton (Hamilton) 5 Peter Tsebelis (Latrobe Valley) John Beasley Cycles Women Under 15/17 Scratch Race 1 Tess Downing (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 Erin Peoples (Shepparton) 3 Georgina Freeland (Stawell - Great Western) Cycling Facilities Advancement Committtee Sid Patterson Wheelrace, 1500m 1 Todd Wilksch (Horsham) Scratch 2 Brad Norton (Shepparton) Scratch 3 Jamie Goddard (Balckburn) 45m 4 Peter Tsebelis (Latrobe Valley) 150m John Beasley Cycles Under 15/17 Motorpace 1 Abe Hastwell (Ararat) 2 Leigh Howard (Geelong West) 3 Alex Smyth (Carnegie Caulfield) Slazenger Motorpace 1 Erik Weispfennig (Germany) 2 Tim Decker (Bendigo) Fortress Extended Automotive Women's Motorpace 1 Jessica Tanner (Shepparton) 2 Apryl Eppinger (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Gemma Kenessy (Brunswick) Cycling Facilities Advancement Committtee Sid Patterson Champion of Champions Wheelrace, 1500m 1 Daniel Thorsen (Shepparton) 20m 2 Tommy Nankervis (South Australia) 70m 3 Adrian Sansonetti (Northcote) 20m Lockwood Security D Grade Elimination 1 Chris Hunt (Warragul) 2 not awarded 3 John Buckworth (Shepparton) Coon Cheese C Grade Elimination 1 Kain Nunn (Blackburn) 2 Simon Barkla (Bendigo) 3 Scott Peoples (Shepparton) Drapac Property - Porsche Victorian Keirin Championships 1 Todd Wilksch (Horsham) 2 Joel Leonard (Footscray) 3 Shaun Hopkins (NSW) Lockwood Security B Grade Elimination 1 Jamie Goddard (Blackburn) 2 Laurie Noonan (Brunswick) 3 Ben Jackson (St Kilda) Cyclists International Aces Scratch Race 1 Tim Decker (Bendigo) 2 David Pell (Bendigo) 3 Christian Lademann (Germany) 4 Brad Norton (Shepparton)
Sid Patterson GP 2003 Darren Young (Tasmania) Scratch Sid Patterson Champion of Champions 2003 Darren Young (Tasmania) Scratch