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Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals
Tasmania, December 23, 2006 - January 20, 2007
Launceston Local Wins A.J. Clarke Wheelrace
By John Michael Flynn in Latrobe
Launceston local Tom Robinson celebrated one of his best career wins, taking line honours in the feature event, the A.J.Clarke & Sons Wheelrace, on day two of the Latrobe Track Carnival. In the end it was a perfectly judged sprint from Robinson which brought the result, coming off the wheel of in-form Victorian Adrian Hanson at precisely the right moment, to win the dash to the line.
"Wasn't expecting it at all actually; it just came out of the blue, I just really wanted to get into the final," Robinson said. "Two laps to go it was ideal positioning, second wheel coming into the bell and yeah I just had to step out at the right time and away we go; the legs felt good."
Yesterday, carnival organizers were lamenting the fact a local Tasmanian hadn't finished on the podium of the feature event at Latrobe for the first time in a quarter of a century.
Today, they were celebrating a homespun champion who took advantage of a generous handicap of eighty metres. Robinson started the final alongside one of the in-form riders of the carnival so far in Adrian Hanson, who would have been at short odds with any bookie 'in the know' to make the trifecta.
"It was always going to be hard for them guys [the backmarker]," Robinson said. "I was off eighty metres, was a good mark, a good group of riders [including Hanson] there.
Hanson, who won the same event last year, was always confident going into today's wheel race final but fell short of his ultimate goal of winning the event back to back.
"That was the plan, almost the double, it would be good to match [Steven] Pate's record," Hanson said. "We had three of us starting off eighty and there were two guys behind so we knew that group would work well, we definitely thought we were a podium chance."
It turned out to be another tough day out for the backmarkers. Scratchman, junior world champion Leigh Howard, hit the afterburners at the start and latched onto the front markers before the tank hit empty midway through the 2000 metre final.
Western Australia's junior world champion Cameron Meyer suffered a similar fate, probably not helped by his brother Travis, who drove at the front of the race for longer than anyone thought possible.
"I thought he [Travis Meyer] was going to drop everyone and go solo," second place getter Adrian Hanson told Cyclingnews. "Big open track, you need to find the right wheel, Tommy [Robinson] was sitting on mine."
Tom Robinson was happy to get away with a victory of over the Meyer brothers, Howard and co. The Launceston seventeen year old, showing his competitive streak.
"Oh yeah, those guys, I've always been trying to hunt down because they're about my age," Robinson said. "To be able to race those guys, it’s good to see if I can compete with them. To be close and competitive with them is a dream."
The ultimate thankless job – handicapper cops a roasting
When Cyclingnews caught up with the leading scratchman at the carnival, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ben Kersten, he was less than enthused with the handicapper at Latrobe. Kersten failed to make the final of the A.J.Clarke & Sons wheelrace and was in good company during his heat with one of Tasmania's leading scratchmen, Darren Young.
Returning to full-scale racing for the first time since undergoing surgery on a spinal disk problem, Kersten had made his goals for the Tasmanian Track Carnivals very clear. A wheel race victory in Latrobe or Launceston.
"I'd like to put my ten speed cassette in a footy sock and flog him [the handicapper] with it, he hasn't been helping us much," Kersten said jokingly. "Even if we had five guys [off scratch] I don't think it would have helped, we were going pretty fast, I had my ninety six [gear] spun out sitting on the back there.
"It's upsetting, I hate racing here when your form's good and you're doing everything right and you're not doing anything, a bit frustrating, I'm running out of time."
Some consolation for Kersten
Proving a point perhaps, Kersten finally broke through for a Christmas Carnival victory in the final of the invitation men's keirin. It was a commanding performance from Kersten, who was forced onto the front, to lead out the sprint in the finishing straight. Western Australian Scott Sunderland kicked, but Kersten was equal to the task, driving everyone off his wheel.
"I really didn't want to be on the front that early, it's really windy and really hard there," Kersten said.
"The move went with about 200 to go, and I didn't want to be crossing the line wishing I'd gone with that move so, you've gotta do what you've gotta do."
Today's Keirin also marked a return to sprint racing for Jobie Dajka – a former world champion in the keirin event. Dajka finished fourth in his heat, lacking a finishing kick, but showing signs of the form that carried him to the top of the sport.
Junior pursuit champions impress
Day two of the Latrobe Track Carnival also provided an opportunity for the stars of Australia's 2006 Junior World Pursuit Championship to shine. Triple world junior champion Cameron Meyer produced the ride of the carnival so far, lapping the field in the men's 16000 metre scratch race.
It was a dominant performance from the Western Australian, who, without the constraints of the wheelrace handicapping system, launched an early attack with American Jame Carney. Carney's tank ran out of gasoline with twenty laps to go. Meyer eventually catching onto the group, eleven laps out from the finish.
"Yeah it's been alright, I made the Latrobe Wheel [final] which I was happy with and I made A.J.Clarke [final] as well," Meyer said.
"Scratchies aren't going too well this year. For me to make both of them and I think I'm the only one [scratch marker] that's made both with Leigh [Howard] so it shows I've got a bit of form."
South Australian Jack Bobridge showed his wares in the invitation elimination race; executing a long distance breakaway which carried him to victory. There were shades of Belgium 2006, with the breakaway originally containing Bobridge's world championship team-mates Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard. Bobridge is using the Tasmanian Track Carnival to prepare for the 2007 Australian track championships, where he hopes to qualify for the world championships in Mexico.
"I've been doing a lot of training getting ready for the track nationals in early February," Bobridge said. "Just been doing a little bit of track work, getting a base up. Then I got to Bay Crits for a bit of specialized racing."
Lightning Liz gets controversial result
Home might be the North Island and the bulk of her racing on the West Island, but it was on the south-west Island of Tasmania where kiwi sprint ace Liz Williams hit form today. One of the favourites going into the women's lightning 1000 metre handicap, the Commonwealth Games sprinter was awarded a controversial win by the judges.
At first glance, the run down the finishing straight appeared to result in a perfectly executed lunge across the line by Queenslander Kirsty Bruin, who surprised Williams in the last few metres. The race media contingent, though, was surprised to find judges awarding the result in Williams' favour.
"I didn't know where she was, I had no idea," Williams admitted of the surprise attack from Bruin. "Happy about the coin, that will help with the flight. Every year I've been here they've put me on scratch, so, they just put me forward ten metres at the last minute and I went thanks."
Had the judges decided to conduct a post-mortem on the race result, Williams might just have been the person to help. A masters student in forensic science, Williams is taking a major turn with her cycling career - from track sprinting to track endurance and criterium racing. Trimming down her muscly track racer frame and spending long hours in the saddle to accommodate the demands of her new discipline, Williams made the perfect start by claiming her second victory for the day in the women's scratch race.
The event had to be re-started when Karissa Ling crashed on the bell lap. Williams produced a double kick on the final lap, with no-one able to match the New Zealander's well documented sprinting ability.
Williams will be one of the riders expected to feature when the Tasmanian Christmas Track Carnival Series heads to Launceston's indoor velodrome tomorrow.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
Junior Under 13 1000 Metres Handicap 1 Nathan Hinkley 1.29.01 2 Drew Redman 3 Braydon Bennett Junior Under 15 1000 Metres Handicap 1 Jackson Law 1.15.40 2 Mitchell Benson 3 Scott Bransden Junior Under 17 1000 Metres Handicap – First Heat 1 Luke Ockerby 1.11.47 2 Ryan Gates 3 Scott Law Junior Under 17 1000 Metres Handicap – Second heat 1 Brett Campbell 1.13.33 2 Tim Taylor 3 Alex Tomlinson Junior Under 17 1000 Metres Handicap – Final 1 Scott Law 1.10.37 2 Andrew Smith 3 Alex Carver 4 Luke Ockerby Women's Lightning 1000 Metre Handicap – First Heat 1 Kirsty Brown 1.14.06 2 Liz Williams 3 Jennifer Loutit 4 Emma Heynes Women's Lightning 1000 Metre Handicap – Second Heat 1 Laura McCaughey 1.16.60 2 Michaela Anderson 3 Sky-Lee Armstrong 4 Kate De Paoli Women's Lightning 1000 Metre Handicap – Third Heat 1 Thomay Michaltsis 1.14.40 2 Myfanwy Galloway 3 Sarah Cure 4 Chloe Hosking 5 Belinda Goss A.J Clarke & Sons Wheelrace 2000 Metres – First Heat 1 Andrew Dolan 2.16.57 2 Adrian Hanson 3 Aaron Jones 4 Jarrod Harman A.J Clarke & Sons Wheelrace 2000 Metres – Second Heat 1 Travis Meyer 2.19.50 2 Clay Murfett 3 Carlo Barendilla 4 Sean Pontelandolfo A.J Clarke & Sons Wheelrace 2000 Metres – Third Heat 1 Jack Bobridge 2.17.42 2 Jason Johnson 3 Duane Johannson 4 Jason Bellchambers A.J Clarke & Sons Wheelrace 2000 Metres – Fourth Heat 1 Joel Stewart 2.20.41 2 Tim Hucker 3 Kaiden Homan 4 Steve Martini A.J Clarke & Sons Wheelrace 2000 Metres – Fifth Heat 1 Matthew Kent 2.18.65 2 Alistair Loutit 3 Tom Robinson 4 Paul Atkinson A.J Clarke & Sons Wheelrace 2000 Metres – Sixth Heat 1 Cameron Meyer 2.20.43 2 Leigh Howard 3 Glenn O'Shea 4 Alexander James Under 13 Scratch Race 3 Laps 1 Nathan Hinkley 2.18.23 2 Drew Redman 3 Lauren Perry Under 15 Scratch Race 6 Laps 1 Jackson Law 4.34.71 2 Mitchell Benson 3 Scott Carver Under 17 Scratch Race B Grade 1 Brett Campbell 7.44.35 2 Brandon Stewart 3 Ryan Gates A.J.Clarke & Sons Wheel Race – 2000 Metres 1 Tom Robinson 2.13.76 2 Adrian Hanson 3 Clay Murfett 4 Glenn O'Shea Men's Invitation Keirin – First Heat 1 Joel Leonard 2 Benn Kersten 3 Nathan Clarke 4 Evan Oliphant Men's Invitation Keirin – Second Heat 1 Kial Stewart 2 Scott Sunderland 3 Adrain Hanson 4 Jobie Dajka Women's Lightning 1000 Metre Handicap 1 Liz Williams 1.14.10 2 Kirsty Broun 3 Erica Heynes 4 Amy Cure E Grade Scratch Race – 5000 Metres 1 Grant Law 6.46.78 2 Neil Skippers 3 Troy Sait 4 Anthony O'Connor D Grade Scratch Race – 5000 metres 1 Steve Martini 2 Matthew Kent 3 Andrew Dolan 4 Marc Prutton Invitation Men's Keirin Final 1 Ben Kersten 2 Scott Sunderland 3 Joel Leonard 4 Adrian Hanson 5 Kial Stewart C Grade Men's Scratch Race 1 John Forrest 6.04.75 2 Clay Murfett 3 Jamie Perry 4 Ben Laskey Women's A Grade Scratch Race 3000 Metres 1 Liz Williams 3.43.55 2 Belinda Goss 3 Laura McCaughey 4 Kirsty Broun Women's B Grade Scratch Race 3000 Metres 1 Myfanwy Galloway 4.23.99 2 Harriet Kossman 3 Bethany Coleman Devon Industries Elimination Race 1 Jack Bobridge 2 Leigh Howard 3 Jamie Carney 4 Nick Sanderson B Grade Scratch Racce – 5000 Metres 1 Jamie Crass 5.54.10 2 S.Kline 3 Carlo Barendilla 4 Justin Tomlinson Men's A Grade Scratch Race – 16000 Metres 1 Cameron Meyer 2 Nathan Clarke 3 Evan Oliphant