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2005 Australian Senior Track Championships - CN
Adelaide, South Australia, February 7-12, 2005
Day 4 - February 10: Men sprint; Men TP; U19 men points; U19 women sprint; U19 women scratch; AWD tandem sprint
Dajka back on top; Tasmanians make history
South Australian Jobie Dajka gave the home crowd something to cheer about tonight when he took out the men's sprint title at the 2005 Australian Track Cycling Championships in Adelaide. Dajka, the keirin gold medallist and sprint silver medallist at the 2002 World Championships, defeated three time kilometre time trial World Champion, Shane Kelly (VIC) in straight heats in the best of three races to decide the Australian crown.
"I've never felt more pressure in my life," said Dajka. "Not because I was coming back in front of Adelaide but because I was in a final against a 'kilo' guy and I'd get a lot of flack if I lost."
Dajka was the fastest qualifier for the sprint by three tenths of second over Kelly and although the Victorian was the first rider to give Dajka a run for his money the Adelaide speedster proved too strong in the final lunge for the line in both heats. "An Australian title is always good to get, especially after the year I had, but if I look behind too long I'm going to run into things" said Dajka who returned to competition in January after a four month suspension. "I'm probably at 85 percent with final prep to come in Sydney (World Cup Feb 18-20)."
Dajka's form puts him in contention for a medal at the World Championships in Los Angeles where Australia will be missing Olympic champion Ryan Bayley due to injury. "It's just the challenge of final touches and getting to where I was last year and the year before," said Dajka who will race the keirin event here on Saturday. "I can go well in the keirin but in the sprints I know I need a bit of work in the next four or five weeks to get there."
In the 4km men's team pursuit battle for the Southcott Cup Tasmania upstaged their more fancied rivals New South Wales who had won the event for four of the past five years. The Tasmanian quartet of Mark Jamieson, who claimed the individual pursuit title on Tuesday night, Matthew Goss, Stephen Rossendell and Nathan Clarke were unstoppable leading from the gun to claim Tasmania's first ever team pursuit crown.
The four caught the New South Wales line up of Olympic and World team pursuit champion, Stephen Wooldridge, Christopher Pascoe, Christopher Sutton and Ben Kersten with one lap to go. Kersten, who is traditionally a shorter distance rider was briefed to give it his all and pull out in the latter stages of the 16 lap race but the plan came unstuck when Sutton's saddle broke forcing him to pull out and leaving the team in disarray. Under the rules the team's time is taken on the third rider across the line and as Kersten had just put in a big two lap effort in preparation for pulling out he was unable to close the gap to rejoin his team mates and was overtaken by Tasmania. Even though NSW had qualified faster (4:13.618) than the Tasmanians (4:14.470) a NSW team official admitted the mishap in the final did not affect the result saying 'they had us on toast'.
The Tasmanians had an added incentive to make history and that was to provide a fitting farewell to their coach Kevin Tabotta, who next week takes up his role as Cycling Australia High Performance Manager. "I thought maybe we'd won one decades ago but they tell me this is the first time in history," said a jubilant Tabotta. "The boys were pumped and we sat down before the race and I said 'well this is your chance now to make history'. It's really something for them and it's something for me going out," said Tabotta. "I'm really, really happy about this result."
Tabotta was full of praise for his team especially powerhouse performer, Jamieson, the 2002 junior pursuit world champion, who has now well and truly put his name on the list for a future in the senior ranks. "Mark Jamieson is inspirational because four months ago he was lucky to be riding a bike," said Tabotta of the difficulty Jamieson had in making the transition last year from U19 to senior ranks. "His motivation had dropped, his love for the sport had dropped and we've been working really hard to get that back for him.
"A week ago I would have said to you it's touch and go," said Tabotta. "But you're dealing with a racehorse, not a donkey and it showed tonight."
The bronze medal was awarded to Victoria's Richard England, Steven Sansonetti, Sean Finning and David Pell who posted the third fastest time in the qualifying round (4:14.668).
It was another upset in the U19 team pursuit which has been the traditional battlefield of New South Wales and Victoria in recent years. Victoria made the final with Zakkari Dempster, Mark O'Brien, Mario Giramondo and Gerard Murphy who posted 4:24.837 in qualifying but it was Queensland on the other side of the track in the race for gold. Kyle Bateson, Todd Dawson, Hayden Josefski and Joel Davis had ridden 4:26.245 in the qualifying round but they more than made up for the one and half second deficit to the Victorians when it came to the crunch. Queensland hit the lead early with Victoria fighting back but not enough to reel in the northern juggernaut. Queensland won in 4:21.352 to Victoria's 4:21.727. New South Wales' Tyler McLachlan, Mitchell Pearson, Jackson-Leigh Rathbone and Matthew Pettit were awarded bronze for the third fastest time in qualifying of 4:26.365.
Victoria gained some solace though when Dempster hit back in the U19 men's 25km points race to claim gold with 47 points ahead of West Australian Cameron Meyer (42pts) and Mitchell Pearson (NSW) on 36pts.
The U19 women's sprint gave Queensland more reason to celebrate as Chloe MacPherson claimed gold over Victorian Jessica Tanner winning two of the three races to decide the Championship. Jennifer Loutit of Canberra took the bronze in straight heats against New Zealand's Brigette Broad.
Sydney's Skye-Lee Armstrong powered away from the pack in the second last lap of the U19 women's 7.5km scratch race to score an emphatic win. South Australian Bianca Rogers was second with 2004 junior points race World Champion Amanda Spratt (NSW) third.
Paralympian Janet Shaw (WA) with pilot Kerry Cohen won the multidisability tandem sprint defeating South Australians Felicity Johnson and pilot Vicki Birks in straight heats.
Meantime Friday's women's sprint final will be a battle between the Meares sisters after Kerrie upset the 2004 Olympic sprint champion Lori-Anne Muenzer in straight heats in the semi final. Sprint Olympic bronze medallist Anna also had a scare when she misjudged her second heat against New Zealand's Liz Williams and was forced to the third and deciding heat to get through to the final.
The last time the sisters met at a National Championships was in 2000 when Kerrie knocked Anna off her bike in the deciding heat of the gold medal round. Anna was awarded the title after judges ruled Kerrie guilty of dangerous riding.
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Images by Rachel Burke/www.maximumattack.biz