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Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals
Tasmania, December 26, 2003 - January 4, 2004
Young Gold Coaster Payne fends off scratchmen
By John Stevenson in Latrobe
Eighteen-year-old Queenslander Brad Payne took out Australia's richest wheelrace today at Latrobe, earning himself a place in Tasmanian carnival history alongside previous Latrobe Wheelrace winners such as Brett Aitken, Luke Roberts and Danny Clark.
Starting from the 210m mark, Payne and the other middle-markers went -out strongly from the gun to hold off a hard-charging scratch group of Graeme Brown, Nathan Clarke and Brett Lancaster. The Brown and Lancaster combination had proved decisive in the earlier AJ Clarke Handicap, but in the windier afternoon conditions the backmarkers were never able to make contact.
Payne had qualified for the wheelrace by winning the first of the afternoon's six heats, taking the front with a lap to go and staying there all the way to the line in a display of strength that turned out to be a prelude to the final showdown.
The second heat saw a qualifying ride from Tasmanian blast from the past Danny Clark. Clark, a lean and fit-looking 52 was helped across the line by Daniel Cutting, the duo working together from the heat's back mark and eventually catching most of the field. Only heat winner Brendan Geale was able to best them.
Former junior world champion and local hero Mark Jamieson won the third heat, starting from the 75m back mark and working with other back-markers to haul in the front riders. With half a lap to go Jamieson came round Japanese rider Yoshito Urakado for a powerful win.
Victorian AIS rider David Pell took out the fourth heat from the 150m mark. Of the scratchmen, only Brett Lancaster made the cut in a race where the back-markers struggled to make an impact on hard-charging middlemen.
Local star Nathan Clarke made his way to the front from scratch to take heat 5. Only Daniel Vogels presented any challenge to Clarke, Vogels making an escape attempt with almost a lap to go and getting a 10m gap before being caught and overhauled by Clarke.
The last heat saw a win by South Australia's Hamish McKirdy, a no-surprise qualifying ride by Graeme Brown and a surprise departure from the wheelrace by Jame Carney who remarked "I just can't seem to get out of my own way today." In a harbinger of the scratchmen's difficulties in the final, Brown still had 50m to make up with a lap to go, and only squeaked into third place in the closing seconds.
Windy conditions and occasional spots of rain heralded the wheelrace final, but the rain decided to blow off elsewhere on the island and the 2003 Latrobe wheelrace was held in mostly sunny conditions. Two groups quickly formed as the front-markers and middlemen packed together to hold off a frantic assault by scratchmen Brett Lancaster, Graeme Brown and Nathan Clarke, plus Mark Jamieson off at 75m.
One by one the scratchmen realized they were not going to make contact and first Lancaster then Jamieson and Brown abandoned the chase, leaving the battle to the mid-field. Working alone and keeping his cards close to his chest, Bradley Payne started moving up with a lap to go and came round the top of Russell Downing with 30m to go.
The jubilant young Queenslander, who just turned 18 in September, could hardly believe it. "It's the best win ever... It hasn't sunk in yet - it probably will tomorrow. It's so good. I was reading the names of the riders who've won it before and my name will be on there next year!"
Contrasting the racing at Latrobe with other tracks, Payne said, "It's a lot faster, you've got to ride a bigger gear, and the fields are just unbelievable - world champions everywhere!"
Payne - who is the current Australian under 19 criterium champion - was looking forward to the next day's Launceston International Criterium. "I don't know how I'll go though - there's so much depth in the field with the professionals that are coming over for it. But anyone can win!"
In other racing, local Tasmanian Institute of Sport rider Matt Goss took out the first big race of the day, the AJ CLarke & Sons Handicap 2000m. Goss made his move in the very last seconds of the race, stealing victory from Sydney's Graeme Brown who was too busy looking over his right shoulder to notice the canny Goss slipping through underneath him.
As if to compensate himself for that second place and being unable to make contact in the Wheelrace, Brown landed a decisive victory in the Sid Patterson Memorial scratch race, chasing down Russell Downing who spent a spent a few laps out on his own before turning on the blistering sprint that he's known for to take the win - and to set a new record for the event. "What more can you ask for - you win and get a record!" said Brown.
In the women's and juniors' racing local girl Natasha Mapley had a successful day, landing both the RACT Women's Wheelrace and the Under 17 Wheelrace.
As the afternoon's racing continued, Graeme Brown's winning luck had clearly returned as the Sydneysider took out the elimination race - after some entertaining discussion between the judge and the crowd about who should be eliminated in the frantic early laps - and the day's final event, the 16,000m A Grade scratch.
Images from the Wheelrace and supporting events by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
Heat 1 1 Bradley Payne 2 Wes Sulzberger 3 Kaidan Homan 4 Tim Walker Heat 2 1 Brendan Geale 2 Daniel Cutting 3 Danny Clark 4 Ben Price Heat 3 1 Mark Jamieson 2 Yoshito Urakado 3 Reece-Emerson Van Beek 4 Craig Burrows Heat 4 1 David Pell 2 Stephen Price 3 Brett Lancaster 4 Matthew Atkins Heat 5 1 Nathan Clarke 2 Russell Downing 3 Daniel Vogels 4 Kharne Hammersley Heat 6 1 Hamish McKirdy 2 Stephen Rossendell 3 Graeme Brown 4 Kouji Yoshi Patrick Latrobe Wheelrace starters Graeme Brown - scratch Nathan Clarke - scratch Brett Lancaster - scratch Mark Jamieson - 75m Stephen Rossendell - 75m Danny Clark - 90m Daniel Cutting - 90m Russell Downing - 105m Kouji Yoshi - 120m Matthew Atkins - 135m Brendan Geale - 135m David Pell - 150m Stephen Price - 180m Daniel Vogels - 180m Yoshito Urakado - 195m Bradley Payne - 210m Kaidan Homan - 225m Ben Price - 240m Wes Sulzberger - 240m Kharne Hammersley - 255m Hamish McKirdy - 270m Craig Burrows - 285m Reece-Emerson Van Beek - 285m Tim Walker - 315m Patrick Latrobe Wheelrace final 1 Brad Payne (Aus) 2 Russell Downing (GBr) 3 Ben Price (Aus) 4 Kouji Yoshi (Jpn) 5 Hamish McKirdy (Aus) 6 Matthew Atkins (Aus 7 Kaidan Homan (Aus) AJ CLarke & Sons Handicap 2000m 1 Matt Goss (Aus) 2 Graeme Brown (Aus) 3 Jame Carney (USA) Sid Patterson Memorial scratch race 1 Graeme Brown (Aus) Under 17 Wheelrace 1 Natasha Mapley (Aus) 2.30.38 2 Ben Laskey (Aus) RACT Women's Wheelrace 1 Natasha Mapley (Aus) 2 Carrie Price (Aus) 3 Grace Sulzberger (Aus) Elimination race 1 Graeme Brown (Aus) 2 Nathan Clarke (Aus) Keirin 1 Todd Wilksch (Aus) 2 Craig Maclean (GBr) 3 Roberto Chiappa (Ita) A Grade scratch 1 Graeme Brown (Aus)