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Wangaratta Wheelrace

Victoria, January 25, 2004

By Barry Mcaught

The Wangaratta Carnival was postponed 12 months ago because of bushfires in the north east of Victoria. Racing eventually took place on March 22, with Victorian speedster Todd Wilksch taking the famous 2,000 metres race from 20 metres in 2 mins 12.84 secs.

In this year's first heat, five riders fell with a lap and a half to ride. Wagga Wagga (NSW) wheelman Bill Robertson 125m winning (2.24.21) from backmarker Brad Norton (Shepparton) 30m. Despite having to chase a gap of 25m because of a scratching, backmarker Malcolm Sawford (Carnegie Caulfield) 155m, took the second heat in 2.19.67.

The third heat had lone scratchmarker Todd Wilksch (Horsham) go around the field two laps from home, with co-markers Joel Leonard 15m and Daniel Thorson (Shepparton) 25m. They kept the pace on and carrying numbers 1, 2 and 3, finished in that order, in a time of 2.21.71.

The first heat of the second round was about to go, when Carlo Barendilla's (Southern Districts CC - W.A.) bike, appeared on his mark of 100m. He was in the fall in the 1st heat - and the only rider advised to go to Hospital to be checked over! Just in time he had been returned to the track, jumped the fence, jumped on his bike and won the heat in 2.20.34.

This inspired his club-mate Daniel Vogels 100m, who won the next heat in 2.18.49, just ahead of Tim Decker (Bendigo) 45m, last seen lying on a road in the last stage of the Tour of the South China Sea!

The final had a strong back group, numbers 1-7 inclusive. The middle markers had 10 riders working strongly and the 4 out front took some catching. Brendan Washington (Lavington - NSW) 205m., tried to go alone away from the front group, but was soon reeled in.

At the bell on the big 520m track, under 19 years National Champ - Daniel Thorson (Shepparton) 15m, had just reached the back of the field. Wilksch squeezed through right up by the fence, and his acceleration from the 300m to the 200m mark took him straight past the packed field. Shepparton youngsters Thorson and Michael Hill 105m tried desperately in the straight, but could not catch the elated 25 year old. His winning time - 2.12.68, faster than last year when he started from 20m. Todd Wilksch had created history - the first rider since the race was first ridden in 1926 to win consecutive Wangaratta Wheelraces!

Wilksch had also beaten Thorson in the Keirin. The Women's Keirin went to Nicole Holt (Blackburn) from Kate Finegan (Bendigo) and Erin Downing (Carnegie - Caulfield). Ben Fielding (Mersey Valley - Devonport TAS) 10m and Carrie Price (Launceston TAS) 160m, both made the final of the Under 17's 1000m hcp, won by Anthony Rix (Bendigo) 65m, from Luke Gooley (Shepparton) 50m and Rohan McCaig (Bendigo) 65m. Tim Decker, who had a tactical breakaway battle with Sean Finning (Castlemaine) over the last 5 laps, won the Sid Patterson Memorial 20 laps Aces Scratch Race. Decker just got home ahead of the ever present Shepparton cousins Thorson and Hill.

Wangaratta Wheelrace finalists

1 Todd Wilksch (Horsham)                      scr
2 Joel Leonard (Footscray)                    15m
3 Daniel Thorson (Shepparton)                 25m
4 Brad Norton (Shepparton)                    30m
5 Tim Decker (Bendigo)                        45m
6 Sean Finning (Castlemaine)                  60m
7 Mitchell Docker (Brunswick)                 65m
8 Daniel Vogels (Southern Districts WA)      100m
9 Carlo Barendilla (Southern Districts WA)   100m
10 Michael Hill (Shepparton)                 105m
11 Bill Robertson (Wagga Wagga NSW)          125m
12 Carl Cubitt (Coburg)                      130m
13 Simon Barkla (Bendigo)                    145m
14 Malcolm Sawford (Carnegie - Caulfield)    155m
15 Justin Trimboli (Shepparton)              155m
16 Malcolm Hill (Shepparton)                 165m
17 Scott Peoples (Shepparton)                180m
18 Anthony O'Connor (Cootamundra NSW)        200m
19 Brendan Washington (Lavington NSW)        205m
20 Tim Ralton (Bendigo)                      225m
21 Glen Baldwin (Bendigo)                    240m

Local results 2004